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LV= County Championship Division One review

It was a group of local lads who inspired Durham to a shock Division One title, while Surrey's top-flight status vanished despite cameos from Hashim Amla, Graeme Smith and Ricky Ponting

Durham celebrate winning Division One for a third time in six seasons

Predicting anything in the LV= County Championship's top flight is always a risky business. Such is the nature of the competition, you can be in the title race one month and then struggling for survival the next.

Here we take a look back at the performances of all nine counties in Division One, select the player who performed the best for them over 2013 and also offer a name to look out for next summer.

If you think we missed anything, or anyone for that matter, let us know via the comments section...


LV= County Championship: 8th

Yorkshire Bank 40: Group stages

Friends Life t20: Group stages

Dominic Cork takes a look back at the County Championship and domestic cricket season.

Review: Derbyshire will look back on a costly defeat to Somerset on June 24 as the key moment in their 2013 season. Survival was always the club's priority after returning to Division One of the County Championship for the first time since 2000, however their fate was sealed in the final round of fixtures. Few gave the East Midlands minnows a prayer of avoiding the drop and, after failing to win any of their first 10 games the writing appeared on the wall. But, out of nowhere, back-to-back victories over title contenders Sussex and Middlesex reignited hopes of a great escape, and another win over Somerset took them out of the bottom two, but they just failed to stay afloat.

The Falcons and Worcestershire are the only first-class counties yet to reach Twenty20 Finals Day and they will have been disappointed not to have progressed from the North Group after winning their first three matches.

Star man: Wayne Madsen - Despite his county suffering relegation, Madsen was the second most prolific batsman in Division One, scoring 1,221 runs at 43.60. Led from the front in every sense.

High hopes for: Chesney Hughes - Averaged over 30 with the bat in his maiden season in the top-flight, helped by a brilliant unbeaten 270 in a losing cause against Yorkshire at Headingley.


LV= County Championship: 1st

Yorkshire Bank 40: Group stages

Friends Life t20: Group stages

Review: Touted as relegation candidates at the start of the county campaign, Durham defied the doubters in style to land their third County Championship title in six years. Led expertly by veteran captain Paul Collingwood, who has now won 14 of his 22 matches in charge since inheriting the captaincy in June last year, the North East county edged out Yorkshire to claim the crown in the penultimate round of fixtures. They had to overcome two notable setbacks, too, with a breached salary cap resulting in a points deduction at the start of the season and a heart-attack to head coach Geoff Cook causing grave concern.

Durham failed to reach the knockout stages of either the YB40 or the Friends Life t20 as a 0.5 points deduction came back to haunt them in the 20-over competition. Key man Graham Onions and captain Collingwood were used sparingly in white ball cricket but their absences allowed the likes of Will Smith and Cricket Writers' Club Young Cricketer of the Year Ben Stokes to excel.

Star man: Graham Onions - 70 wickets in 12 matches speaks for itself and Onions can count himself unlucky not to have earned an Ashes call-up on the back of his first-class heroics.

High hopes for: Usman Arshad - Handed his debut in August, the 20-year-old Bradford-born seamer proved an inspired selection and went on to claim 16 wickets in the final five Division One matches.

Graham Onions: Durham benefited greatly from the seamer's availability


LV= County Championship Division One: 5th

Yorkshire Bank 40: Group stages

Friends Life t20: Group stages

Review: A season that at one stage looked like being sensational finished with a whimper. Middlesex looked genuine title contenders at the halfway point, but rather fell away after that. More often than not, Tim Murtagh bowled them into a winning position, then the batsmen blew it. Murtagh took 60 Division One scalps, another outstanding season. Sadly, fellow-pacemen James Harris and Toby Roland-Jones spent an awful lot of time on the physio's table and missed half the season. Otherwise they might have won the title. The good news looking ahead is that in 6'5" Ollie Rayner (41 wickets) they finally have a match-winning spinner. The bowling will be fine, but the batting needs serious attention.

Chris Rogers and the outstanding Sam Robson shone at the top of the order but the middle-order flopped. Joe Denly (average 26, no centuries), Neil Dexter (average 32, one century) and Dawid Malan (average 21, highest score 61) were nowhere near 1,000 runs and Eoin Morgan needs to play more often than twice in the Championship if they are going to win the title next year which, if the bowlers stay fit, is possible.

Star man: Sam Robson - 1180 runs in Division One, and he has thrown his lot in with England. A good series for the Lions this winter could see him play Test cricket soon.

High hopes for: Ollie Rayner - There are not many match-turning spinners around in England. Finally blossoming at the age of 27.


LV= County Championship: 7th

Yorkshire Bank 40: Winners

Friends Life t20: Quarter-finals

Nottinghamshire have been crowned Yorkshire Bank 40 champions after beating Glamorgan by 87 runs in the Lord's final.

Review: A bittersweet season for Nottinghamshire, who celebrated winning their first one-day trophy since 1989 before narrowly avoiding an unthinkable relegation from Division One. A squad littered with international talent, pre-season favourites Notts produced a number of baffling four-day performances, winning just two of their 16 matches.

Their one-day performances made amends, though, with the Outlaws powering through the Group Stages of both white-ball competitions. A third successive quarter-final defeat put paid to hopes of T20 glory, but a Lord's date in the YB0 was booked with an emphatic win over Somerset and Glamorgan were dispatched in the final.

Star man: Samit Patel - Not many candidates here but Patel's performances in the title-winning 40-over campaign were pivotal. He turned the final on its head with the wickets of Chris Cooke, Jim Allenby and Murray Goodwin, and boasted a batting average of 47.17 in the competition.

High hopes for: Jake Ball - Another tough question to answer but the 22-year-old seamer showed promise, claiming career-best figures of 4-24 in the YB40 semi-final win over Somerset.


LV= County Championship Division One: 9th

Yorkshire Bank 40: Group stages

Friends Life t20: Runners-up

Review: Surrey began the season as one of the favourites for the title, and ended it in utter disarray, finishing bottom of Division One. True, losing new skipper Graeme Smith to injury was massively bad luck. But county cricket's richest club needs a major rethink under new boss Alec Stewart, who could not turn around their dreadful start to the season after taking over from previous supremo Chris Adams.

England internationals Chris Tremlett, Jade Dernbach, Gareth Batty and the sadly often-injured Stuart Meaker were all out-bowled by the unsung Tim Linley. He was their highest four-day wicket-taker with just 37 - which tells its own story - and none of their frontline bowlers averaged below 30. Their superstar batsmen Ricky Ponting and Hashim Amla both delivered in spades in their short spells, but none of their regular batsmen scored 1000 runs. Only Steve Davies, always excellent behind the stumps, and the promising openers Rory Burns and Dominic Sibley - he who made a double century in his third match - will look back on 2013 with any fondness. Reaching the finals of the t20 was therefore a remarkable and wholly unexpected achievement but it only papered over some serious cracks.

Star man: Steve Davies - Continued excellence behind the stumps, and a healthy 867 runs with the bat. But is his England career done and dusted?

High hopes for: Rory Burns - A Championship ever-present in his first full season, 917 runs and the kind of grit more of his team-mates need to show next year.

Ricky Ponting: His signing paid off in terms of runs, but Surrey still went down


LV= County Championship Division One: 6th

Yorkshire Bank 40: Semi-finals

Friends Life t20: Quarter-finals

The Somerset Sabres take on the Crash Bang Wallop challenge.

Review: Somerset are not quite at crisis point, but they are not far away. In one-day cricket the Cidermen remain a major force but in the Championship they are struggling. They limped their way through the Division One season and could have gone down going into the last game. And what odds on Marcus Trescothick not scoring a single century in any form of cricket through the summer? Well, it happened, and the great man averaged just 27 in Division One. Nick Compton held the batting together, the only man to score 1,000 runs but James Hildreth, Craig Kieswetter and the rest of the much-vaunted top seven did not give him sufficient back-up. Peter Trego was brilliant in the YB40, scoring an incredible 745 runs at an average of nearly 83. But he was poor in the Championship, scoring just 374.

The ever-excellent Alfonso Thomas was the mainstay of the bowling attack in all forms; he was their leading wicket-taker in the Championship with 42. The bowling attack's future is rosier than others with the Overton brothers and spinner Jack Leach all fine prospects. Promoted duo Lancashire - who have signed Jos Buttler - and Northants will both be confident they can stay up next year, so Somerset need much more from their senior men.

Star man: Peter Trego - Incredible hitting in the YB40. Needs to do better in the Championship with both bat and ball.

High hopes for: Jack Leach - Taunton-born spinner impressed in his five Championship matches, taking 13 wickets at 24.


LV= County Championship Division One: 3rd

Yorkshire Bank 40: Group stages

Friends Life t20: Group stages

Review: Third place in Division One was a fine effort, based around the bowling heroics of the ever-accurate Steve Magoffin (63 wickets), the pacy Chris Jordan (59) and the under-rated James Anyon (50), along with the batting of top-order duo Ed Joyce (1116 runs) and Chris Nash (1072). If Rory Hamilton-Brown rediscovers his best, and Luke Wells continues his rapid progress, Sussex are genuine title contenders next season.

Sussex's main priority over the winter will be to find a spinner to replace Monty Panesar and work out how on earth such a talented team managed to win just seven out of their 22 limited-overs games all summer. In the T20 arena they won just once, a shocking performance. Luke Wright's availability is key - he scored prolifically - and quickly - in all forms once he returned from featuring in the Indian Premier League.

Star man: Chris Jordan - pips the estimable Magoffin because it was all so unexpected. Nothing he did at Surrey suggested he would take 59 wickets and chip in with 408 runs. England took note.

High hopes for: Matt Machan. Brighton born-and-bred, Machan shone in limited overs cricket with some hard-hitting displays. Capped by Scotland, the 22-year-old looks a potential star.

Keith Barker: Outstanding for the Bears once he returned from injury


LV= County Championship: 4th

Yorkshire Bank 40: Group stages

Friends Life t20: Group stages

Review: Dougie Brown's first season at the helm has to go down as a disappointing one as Warwickshire produced a somewhat meek defence of their title and failed to progress from the group stages of either one-day competition. Bad luck also played its part for the Bears, who were blighted by injuries and England call-ups throughout the summer.

Only Jeetan Patel played in all 16 Division One matches and how Warwickshire will have wished Keith Barker had been available all year - he finished the season with 42 wickets having taken at least three in the first innings of 10 of the 11 Championship games he played. The batting of youngsters Laurie Evans and Ateeq Javid provides encouragement looking ahead to next season. The squad is strong enough to be challenging in 2014, even if they are unlikely to see much of Ian Bell, Jonathan Trott and possibly Boyd Rankin, too.

Star man: Jeetan Patel - After taking 78 wickets in all competitions, the New Zealand off-spinner provided value for money for the Bears once again.

High hopes for: Ateeq Javid - Hoping to fill the sizable voids left by Ian Bell and Jonathan Trott, the 21-year-old showed plenty of promise in his first full season. In 11 matches he averaged 44.21, registering two centuries.


LV= County Championship: 2nd

Yorkshire Bank 40: Group stages

Friends Life t20: Group stages

ECB selector Geoff Miller has announced the England Ashes squad for the winter tour of Australia and there were some surprise selections included.

Review: It was a case of so near but yet so far for the White Rose county, who threatened a first County Championship title since 2001 for most of the season before being pipped by Durham. Indeed, Yorkshire will most likely reflect on their defeat to the eventual champions at Scarborough as the defining moment the season, a season where Gary Ballance played himself into England's Ashes squad with a string of superb innings that suggested he could be the answer to the problematic no 6 position.

While Ballance flourished with the bat, it was evergreen left-arm seamer Ryan Sidebottom who stepped up with the ball - taking 49 wickets at the tender age of 35 at just over 20. The impressive red-ball form came at the expense of the one-day showings, where Yorkshire focused on blooding the future, winning just five matches in T20 and YB40 cricket. Still, they do have a conveyor belt of talent coming through and coach Jason Gillespie is happy to give youth a chance.

Star man: Gary Ballance - You would have got long odds on Ballance playing his way into England's Ashes squad at the start of the season, but 1,251 first-class runs and five hundreds later and his seat on the plane has been booked. No player scored more Division One runs.

High hopes for: Alex Lees - Exactly 500 runs in eight-matches, 20-year-old opening batsman Lees would have been well on course for four figures had he kept his place in the sider throughout the season. A brilliant 275 against Derbyshire his highlight. What is it with Yorkshire and opening batsmen?