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Saturday, 15 December, 2018

Lancashire set for relegation at the hands of Hampshire

Warwickshire can claim Division Two title decider with Kent

Hampshire captain James Vince will be keen to finish the season with runs
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Lancashire's hopes of staying in County Championship Division One are hanging by a thread and the Red Rose county are set to be sent down by a loss to Hampshire at the Rose Bowl.

Only a dominant victory would give Lancashire hope, although they would still be relying on relegation rivals Nottinghamshire crashing to a heavy loss to Somerset at Trent Bridge.

The outlook doesn't look too optimistic for Lancashire, who have won just two of 13 four-day matches this season.

Their batting line up has generally struggled and, last time out, it buckled against Yorkshire at Headingley, where they were set a target of 230 and were dismissed for 134.

Lancashire have had a couple of star bowlers – seamers Graham Onions and Tom Bailey – who top the Division One wicket-taking column with 57 and 56.

But it is going to be tough to take 20 wickets against fourth-placed Hampshire, who have won their last two matches at Southampton, beating Notts by 270 runs and Somerset by six wickets.

Third-bottom Notts face Somerset at Trent Bridge knowing a draw will almost certainly preserve top-tier status but they had better not rely on the weather because clear skies are predicted.

The markets struggle to separate the teams – making them both a shade of odds-on – and that looks about right.

Notts have gone six matches without a victory and Somerset were saved by the weather when drawing with champions Surrey at Taunton last week.

In Division Two, promoted Warwickshire and Kent are battling it out in a title decider at Edgbaston and the home side look value to prevail.

Kent have won their last five matches but four of their last six first-innings scores have been under 200 and their shaky batting could be exposed by a Warwickshire attack spearheaded by fast bowler Olly Stone, who was recently named in England's squad for the tour of Sri Lanka.

1pt 4-6 general
1pt 10-11 Coral, Ladbrokes

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it is going to be tough to take 20 wickets against fourth-placed Hampshire, who have won their last two matches at Southampton
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