Kent and Durham are already under way and seven matches join them on Friday...
Lancashire v Middlesex
The Red Rose will beaiming to bounce back from a heavy defeat at Yorkshire, and have Liam Livingstone back from England Lions duty – where he scored a maiden List A century – and Kyle Jarvis hoping to return from injury. Middlesex played out a fourth consecutive draw, and a third at Lord’s, in their last game against Somerset. Adam Voges has returned to Australia after suffering a calf injury that will rule him out for six weeks, but Sam Robson could return after injury, and Middlesex also have Dawid Malan back from the Lions, and have recalled Welsh seamer James Harris from his loan spell at Kent. Trafalgar Road, the home of the Southport and Birkdale Cricket Club, with a railway track running down one side of the ground and the golf course that will stage this year’s British Open less than a mile away, tends to attract good crowds and produce positive results with Ben Stokes leading Durham to victory over a Lancashire team including Jimmy Anderson in last summer’s fixture.
Somerset v Yorkshire
Somerset director of cricket Matthew Maynard has called up Adam Hose, a 24-year-old from the Isle of Wight who has been in prolific form for the second team, for his Championship debut in place of Peter Trego. Craig Overton returns after another successful series with England Lions, and captain Tom Abell finally made some much-needed runs in last week’s draw against Middlesex at Lord’s. Yorkshire made a significant move up the table with their resounding home win against Lancashire. They are missing Tim Bresnan, who has stayed in the north with his third child due, and in-form young seamer Ben Coad may take a break after suffering some shin soreness in his latest starring performance against Lancs. They have included a second spinner, Karl Carver, in a 14-man squad, and are aiming to improve on an unusually poor record of three defeats in seven Championship matches without a win in Taunton.
Surrey v Essex
Both teams were leapfrogged by Hampshire as they sat out the last round of fixtures, after playing out a hard-fought draw in Chelmsford in their last match, in which Kumar Sangakkara continued his outstanding form. So they are now second and third, Surrey only one point behind Essex, and both with a game in hand on Hampshire and victory would take either back to the top, provided they take as many points as Yorkshire. Both have welcomed back players from the England Lions one-day series – Ben Foakes, Sam and Tom Curran for Surrey, and Dan Lawrence and Jamie Porter for Essex, both having made their Lions debuts in the rain-ruined last match on Monday. Essex have included all-rounder Ashar Zaidi and left-arm seamer Paul Walter in a 13-man squad. Captain Gareth Batty, who missed the game in Chelmsford with a toe injury, returns. It is only Essex’s third trip to Guildford, and the previous two Championship matches there, in 1968 and 2009, were drawn.
Surrey are back in action tomorrow!— Surrey Cricket (@surreycricket) June 8, 2017
Our bowlers have been in destructive form so far this season...💥 pic.twitter.com/Cw1EqLz5es
Gloucestershire v Nottinghamshire
Gloucestershire will be aiming for a big improvement on the heavy defeat they suffered at Trent Bridge in their last Championship game. They are still missing Liam Norwell, who suffered a back injury after starting the season so well – although he may be fit to return for their next game at Sussex in the day-night Championship round. They are boosted this week by the availability after a hernia operation of left-armer seamer David Payne, and captain Gareth Roderick is also set to make his first appearance of the season after illness. Notts were lucky to retain their unbeaten record on Monday when the weather helped them hang on for a draw against Derbyshire at Trent Bridge.
Leicestershire v Sussex
Sussex claimed their second win of the season at home to Worcestershire, following a change in captaincy with Chris Nash taking over from Luke Wright. Vernon Philander will make his last appearance of the season, but Steve Magoffin is out with an achilles injury and Ben Brown is still missing, so Michael Burgess continues as wicketkeeper. Leicestershire are set to give a Championship debut to Will Fazakerley, a teenage all-rounder from Guernsey who has been impressing in their second team, but Neil Dexter is unavailable for personal reasons.
Northamptonshire v Derbyshire
Both teams will approach this game in good heart, even though Derbyshire remain in the bottom three of the table without a win. They produced comfortably their best performance of the season against high-flying Notts at Trent Bridge, and were well-placed to win until the weather intervened late on the last evening. Northants were also involved in a breathless finish before securing a two-wicket win at Durham which consolidated their position in the top four of the table, and they are aiming to complete a double after winning yet another thriller at Derby last month. Ben Duckett returns from England Lions duty.
Worcestershire v Glamorgan
Worcestershire confirmed today that their hard-hitting opener Tom Kohler-Cadmore is to join Yorkshire on a three-year contract with immediate effect. The last 100% record in this season’s Championship, and a six-match winning run, ended with defeat at Sussex in their last match, whereas Glamorgan claimed their first win of the season in their last match at home to Durham – the first after the decision to appoint Michael Hogan as captain in place of Jacques Rudolph.