If you’ll allow me a bit of sporting onanism, I’m fairly excited about the prospect of Yorkshire’s game at Lord’s today. I’ve woken up to heavy cloud, which suggests that runs will be hard to come by – indeed, it would be a bowling day, for sure.
Yorkshire, in theory, could retain the County Championship at the end of this match. If they avoid defeat, it will be secure, but even if they lose at headquarters, as they did last year, it may be enough. Last year’s game is worth dwelling on, with Chris Rogers’ innings one of the truly great County Championship knocks.
The difference today, as it so often does, could come down to bonus points meaning that Yorkshire, should they get the opportunity to bowl at Middlesex, might have it sealed by the end of the day.
That is more likely if they choose to, or are asked to, bowl after the toss. With five batting points being available compared to three bowling – the quickest way to ensure potential points are removed from a match is to skittle your opponents.
Here’s a graph detailing Middlesex’s potential final total at each bonus point, compared with Yorkshire’s running total (on the assumption they take 9 wickets within the 110 overs for which bonus points are awarded). If Middlesex bat and score fewer than 300, Yorkshire are champions – unless they do it very, very slowly.
It is a slightly different tale for batting; because Middlesex’s three bowling points are likely to occur, it means that Yorkshire need to make maximum with the bat to negate it (in the first innings of the match at least); indeed, it would take a herculean (Chris Rogersian) performance to ensure the title that way.
Finally, here’s a graph detailing the permutations for the three teams who, on the morning of 9/9/15, could still win the County Championship. Their current points totals are the darker lines, with potential totals (though obviously, as they meet each other, Yorkshire and Middlesex cannot both achieve full potential).
As soon as that light blue line is no longer crossable by either green or dark blue, Yorkshire are champions. It is worth noting that Nottinghamshire could also be Champions at this point. They need to score 350 runs in their first innings to stay in contention as they are one potential point below Middlesex.
Abbreviations: A = Actual, P = Potential