County cricket review

Derbyshire
Wes Durston's big hitting helped Derbyshire towards County promotion Credit: PA

DERBYSHIRE

County Championship position:

1st (Division 2)

T20 position:

5th (North Group)

CB40 position:

4th (Group C)

Player of the season:

Tony Palladino - With 56 wickets (the second highest in Division 2), Palladino's right arm medium seamers were ideal for the wetter first half of the season.

It was nothing short of a superb season for Derbyshire who bagged the Division 2 County Championship, giving them top flight cricket for the first time since 2000. It was also only their second trophy on home soil ever.

Head Coach Karl Krikken called it his best achievement with the club in a career spanning 26 years.

Krikken has promised Derbyshire will next year continue their policy of blooding in youngsters, looking for 'under 25s who are hungry to play cricket.'

The county will surely be the bookmakers' favourites to go straight back down next summer but they are used to their 'underdogs' tag and will put up a fight.

Leicestershire
Leicestershire's Sarwan averaged more than 40 with the bat this season Credit: PA

LEICESTERSHIRE

County Championship position:

7th (Division 2)

T20 position:

6th (North Group)

CB40 position:

6th (Group A)

Player of the season:

Ramnaresh Sarwan - In a season short of high points, Sarwan's early season form stood out for Leicestershire. Despite tailing off towards the end, the West Indian still scored 941 championship runs at an average of just under 41. He also managed 2 CB40 centuries in scoring the most county runs for the Foxes.

Coming off the back of a hugely successful 2011 culminating in the capture of the T20 Trophy, Leicestershire were expecting further limited overs success.

But the loss of Matthew Hoggard, who decided to concentrate on 4 day cricket, seemed to hinder the Foxes who lacked a definite strike bowler as they finished bottom of their group in both forms of the game.

They did not fare much better in the County format but there was a bright spot in the late season emergence of 18 year-old Shiv Thakor who plundered 427 runs in just 6 matches as well as chipping in with a few wickets.

Northamptonshire
David Willey (Northants) Credit: PA

NORTHAMPTONSHIRE

County Championship position:

8th (Division 2)

T20 position:

6th (Group C)

CB40 position:

6th (Midlands, West and Wales Group)

Player of the season:

David Willey - An obdurate all-rounder (much like his father, former umpire Peter), Willey led the Northants attack with 43 wickets at an average of 34. He also chipped in with 489 runs, averaging nearly 35.

Northamptonshire will be looking at their 12th season in Division 2 next year with it unlikely they will be breaking that run next year.

Northamptonshire looked decent in the batting department with 4 players scoring at least 700 runs in the 4 day format but their bowling was toothless. In a season marred by poor weather which aided bowlers, only 2 averaged less than 30 runs per wicket with neither bowling many overs.

In the shorter format, Northants failed to score a single century or take a 5 wicket haul as their struggles continued with them unable to get out of either group.

Nottinghamshire
Wicketkeeper and captain, Chris Read (right), was superb with the bat once more Credit: PA

NOTTINGHAMSHIRE

County Championship position:

5th (Division 1)

T20 position

Quarter-finals

CB40 position:

4th (Group B)

Player of the season:

Chris Read - With 975 runs in the 4 day format, Read also topped the county in T20 scoring as well. The skipper also took 56 catches and 6 stumpings, an all-round effort.

Despite a fairly solid season, with the talent at their disposal, Nottinghamshire will be mildly disappointed that they did not threaten to capture a trophy this season.

With Graeme Swann and Stuart Broad largely absent due to England commitments, the responsibility fell to Andre Adams to carry the attack. He did so splendidly, taking 54 County Championship wickets at an average of just 19. But his absence, along with Samit Patel for England games, in the shorter format left them badly exposed and lacking a serious wicket-taker.

Their batting was stronger, but that too became limited as James Taylor too began to establish himself in the England setup. Michael Lumb was excellent in 4 day cricket but was disappointing in the limited overs matches where he was needed to provide impetus at the top of the order.

Warwickshire
Warwickshire won the County Championship for the first time in 7 years. Credit: PA

WARWICKSHIRE

County Championship position:

1st (Division 1)

T20 position:

4th (Midlands, Wales and West Group)

CB40 position:

Finalist

Player of the season:

Varun Chopra - Passed 1,000 runs for the second successive season, scored three centuries, made his debut for England Lions and has emerged as a candidate to replace Andrew Strauss at the top of England’s Test order. Chopra also managed a century and 3 fifties in limited overs cricket.

Much of the success from Warwickshire this season is down to the coaching setup led by Ashley Giles and Graeme Welch who together plotted Warwickshire's return to the pinnacle of county cricket - making up for the disappointment of losing out on the final day last season.

Jim Troughton offered a steely presence as captain and has grown into the role in the last two years.

Warwickshire also displayed excellent consistency with the ball, with 3 players (Jetan Patel, Chris Wright and Keith Barker) taking more than 50 wickets each. In particular, Wright led the way in the CB40 with 20 wickets as Warwickshire missed out on a trophy with a heart-breaking last ball loss to Hampshire in the final.

Worcestershire
Worcestershire struggled with the bat this season, Gareth Andrew (pictured) failed to pass fifty Credit: PA

WORCESTERSHIRE

County Championship position:

9th (Division 1)

T20 position:

Quarter-finals

CB40 position:

7th (Group B)

Player of the season:

Alan Richardson - Despite a shoulder tear disrupting the middle part of his season, Richardson managed 57 wickets at an average of just 19. No other player managed above 35.

A woeful season for Worcestershire ended with relegation to Division 2 for the fourth time in 9 years. The last 3 times has seen Worcestershire bounce back at the first attempt and they will hope to continue that run next year.

But their batting will need to improve a great deal with no batsman getting close to the 1,000 run mark. The one bright spot was the resilience of Moeen Ali towards the end of the season, typified by his unbeaten 72 in a match which ultimately led to their relegation.