Durham last won the County Champs in 2009 and they are set to regain the trophy as Betfred’s 9/2 title favs. They are balanced in all areas and while Onions and Harmison appear to be past their best, Stokes and Benkenstein will keep them ticking over.
Lancashire, who broke a long barren stretch last season, are 11/2 with Blue Square to retain but last season had all the hallmarks of a one-off and with no major run makers they will perhaps struggle. Added to that, they return to their Manchester home and with the weather at Old Trafford to often a deciding factor, less points may come their way.
Somerset are also 11/2 with Stan James while 2010 winners Nottinghamshire, who struggled a bit in 2011, are 6/1 via Paddy Power. Notts have great batting strength but perhaps rely too much on Adams with the ball. If he fires and stays fit, the 12/1 on Adams to be top wicket taker could be interesting (BetVictor). Further down, Warwickshire are 13/2 (BetVictor) in an open title race.
Down in Division Two, Yorkshire are 7/2 with Coral to win and will be desperate to reinstate themselves in cricket’s top flight.