JASON GILLESPIE believes the County Championship title race could go down to the final hour of the season.
The Yorkshire first-team coach feels it is too close to call and does not think one club will pull away from the pack.
Eight of the nine teams in Division One are theoretically in contention, with only bottom club Northamptonshire out of the running. Just 42 points separate first-placed Nottinghamshire from eighth-placed Sussex, with the challengers each having between five and seven games left to play.
As Yorkshire prepared to face champions Durham at Headingley today, Gillespie predicted a nail-biting finalé.
“Chances are it’s going to go down to the final hour of the final day of the season,” said the former Australia fast bowler, whose side are second in the table, eight points behind Nottinghamshire with a game in hand.
“Everyone’s beating everyone and it’s just incredible; it’s amazingly wide open in Division One this year.
“Obviously we would love to perform really strongly and boss the rest of the season, but we’ve got some important games coming up against teams that are in pretty good nick and we’re under no illusions.
“It’s incredibly tight and I think it will stay that way; it’s been really good for the competition and I see it as a real positive for cricket in this country.”
Nottinghamshire may be top but they surrendered the initiative to Yorkshire with their defeat last week against Warwickshire at Edgbaston.
Mick Newell’s men blew a good chance to pull away at the top against a side that Yorkshire thrashed the week before.
“Notts will certainly be bitterly disappointed,” acknowledged Gillespie.
“They would have backed themselves to knock Warwickshire over, and they had their chances to win that match.
“But Warwickshire are dangerous when they click, and they’re right up there now as well.
“It just shows again how wide open the Championship race is this year.”