Lancs and Surrey joint favourites

LANCASHIRE and Sussex are the 7/2 joint favourites to win this year’s LV County Championship Division One, according to bookmakers Ladbrokes.

Lancashire missed their first championship success since 1950 on the final afternoon of last season when Sussex secured back-to-back titles. But Ladbrokes say that Yorkshire, priced at 10/1, are the ones the punters want to be with on the eve of the season, along with last year’s Friends Provident Trophy winners Durham.

Ladbrokes spokesman Robin Hutchison said: “Yorkshire have been strongly supported since we priced it up, and there are also a number of punters who think Durham can go one better than last year. But we still think it will be a two horse race between last year’s combatants.”

The Surrey veteran Mark Ramprakash is 6/4 favourite to be the division’s top run-scorer. But at 5/1, Somerset opener Marcus Trescothick has been the most popular punt after turning his back on international cricket.

Essex are the 4/1 favourites to win Division Two, with Danish Kaneria well supported at 5/2 to be the top wicket taker in the second tier. Derbyshire, under new captain Rikki Clarke, have been backed in from 10/1 to 6/1 by a flood of wagers after being boosted by a number of closed-season signings. Hutchison added: “Derbyshire are the talking horse in all competitions this year and the bookies are taking no chances.”

LATEST BETTING

2008 LV Championship, Division One

Lancashire 7/2

Sussex 7/2

Durham 9/2

Surrey 5/1

Nottinghamshire 9/1

Somerset 9/1

Yorkshire 10/1

Hampshire 12/1

Kent 12/1

Top Season Run-scorer, Division One

Mark Ramprakash 6/4

Marcus Trescothick 5/1

Michael Di Venuto 7/1

Murray Goodwin 7/1

Stuart Law 8/1

Robert Key 9/1

John Crawley 14/1

Jacques Rudolph 14/1

Mark Wagh 14/1

Top Season Wicket-taker, Division One

Mushtaq Ahmed 5/6

Steve Harmison 4/1

Andrew Caddick 6/1

Pedro Collins 10/1

Sajid Mahmood 12/1

Yasir Arafat 14/1

Charlie Shreck 16/1

Darren Gough 16/1

James Tomlinson 80/1

LV Division Two champions

Essex 4/1

Middlesex 4/1

Warwickshire 5/1

Derbyshire 6/1

Worcestershire 6/1

Leicestershire 8/1

Northamptonshire 8/1

Gloucestershire 12/1

Glamorgan 25/1

Top Season Run-scorer, Division Two

David Sales 9/4

Ed Smith 5/1

Boeta Dipenaar 6/1

Graeme Hick 6/1

Darren Maddy 8/1

David Hemp 9/1

Jason Gallian 9/1

Marcus North 9/1

John Sadler 14/1

Top Season Wicket-taker, Division Two

Danish Kaneria 5/2

Kabir Ali 4/1

Tom Lungley 6/1

Jermaine Lawson 7/1

Jon Lewis 8/1

Johann Louw 8/1

Robert Croft 9/1

Alan Richardson 10/1

James Anyon 14/1

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