Sussex veterans regained the Premier Division title after a number of years of Leicestershire, Yorkshire and Kent domination after a thrilling second weekend which saw the south coast county take the title on ends from Leicestershire by one point.

However, after a bit of post weekend drama, the teams ended up level on points before finally the title went to Sussex.

The weekend started with Kent leading the way on six points after the first three matches in Keighley, but they were closely followed by Sussex and Leicestershire. All three counties drew level after the first round of fixtures as Sussex comfortably beat Berkshire 8-2 while Leicestershire accounted for Lancashire 6-4 and Kent were held by Yorkshire, meaning all three counties were level on seven points.

The Yorkshire versus Kent match was a real thriller which saw Yorkshire surrender a 3-1 lead and drop the next three ends before sharing the last three to complete the match in an honourable draw; Richard Lightowler and Chris Clinton led the way for the White Rose county with two wins each.

The victory by Leicestershire over Lancashire was a classic County Championship team win with Chris Rogers, Dave Gannon and Karen Smith each chipping in with one win each and taking all three doubles to claim victory.

The next round of matches saw the lead switch as Sussex beat Kent 6-4 and with Leicestershire drawing with draw specialists Yorkshire, it was Sussex who were now ahead by a single point from Leicestershire. Sussex had skipper Peter Bartram to thank for their victory as his two singles wins from number three was the difference between the teams while Yorkshire had Clinton to thank once more as his two victories helped Yorkshire to their draw.

Sunday morning saw Sussex and Leicestershire draw in their clash while Kent came storming back as they walloped doomed Berkshire 9-1 leaving the two south coast sides level on 10 points and Leicestershire one point behind. It took an inspirational performance from Chris Rogers leading from the front as Leicestershire put the brakes on Sussex. Playing at number 1, Rogers took his two singles including an 3-2 (11-7, 7-11, 5-11, 13-11, 11-9) win against fellow number 1 Ritchie Venner as Leicestershire took the last two ends to earn a well deserved draw.

The final round of matches saw Leicestershire beat Kent 7-3 with Rogers once more in irresistible form as he took two singles and was part of two doubles winning pairings as Leicestershire leap-frogged their opponents. However, a 7-3 win by Sussex over Cheshire saw Sussex take the title by a single point from Leicestershire and, thanks to wins in their final two matches, Yorkshire had overhauled Kent to finish third (or so they thought).

Sadly for Yorkshire an error in their team sheets saw them drop three points as their draws against Leicestershire and Kent were reduced to 6-4 defeats and their 7-3 win over Cheshire ended up in a draw.

As a result of this Yorkshire dropped one place to fourth and the extra point gained by Leicestershire improved their points total as they drew level with Sussex, but as their games advantage was inferior to Sussex it did not affect their final placing as Sussex still remained as champions.

To view the final table click here

Barry Snowden

County Championships Committee