The final round of matches in the 2021 County Championship gets underway on Tuesday, September 21, with four sides firmly in the hunt to win the whole thing.
The top four spots in Division One are occupied by Hampshire, Warwickshire, Lancashire and Nottinghamshire, and just 6.5 points separate the first from the fourth. The side leading the table at the end of the final round will be crowned winners of the competition.
The remaining two sides in Division One are Somerset and Yorkshire. The former topped Group Two but are sat at the bottom of Division One with 26.5 points; the latter are fifth with 41.5 points and still have the opportunity to finish second should they secure victory over Lancashire and have other results go their way.
Hampshire – 58.5 points
Leading the way in Division One at this moment in time are Hampshire, who followed up a draw with Yorkshire in their first division fixture with wins over Warwickshire and Nottinghamshire.
Competing for their first County Championship title since 1973, the most obvious route to glory for Hampshire is a thumping victory over Lancashire at Aigburth. A loss would see their opponents overtake them, but a draw might not end their chances – should Somerset defeat Warwickshire, they could even get away with Nottinghamshire beating Yorkshire, depending on the accumulation of bonus points across fixtures.
Warwickshire – 55 points
Aiming to win their first County Championship title since 2012, Warwickshire will welcome Somerset to Edgbaston.
Realistically, they’ve got to win, with results elsewhere and bonus points also having to go their way – even if Hampshire, the only side above them, lose, that’ll be to Lancashire, who are just 0.5 points below the Bears.
Lancashire – 54.5 points
Victory will take them above Hampshire, but it doesn’t guarantee a first County Championship title since 2011. A Warwickshire loss will be music to their ears, but they’ll have to pay close attention to how Nottinghamshire, just 2.5 points below them, will fare against Yorkshire.
Nottinghamshire – 52 points
Notts will host Yorkshire at Trent Bridge in their final County Championship fixture and besides aiming to secure victory for themselves, they’ll be hoping for a Somerset win over Warwickshire. In regards to Hampshire’s match with Lancashire, a draw represents the most ideal result for them.