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County Championship: Team of the Season

The 2023 County Championship season ended this week with Surrey confirmed as Division One champions and Durham topping the table in Division Two.

There have been some outstanding individual performances in both divisions of the four-day competition and we have selected our County Championship team of the season.

Alex Lees - Durham

Durham's Division Two promotion campaign was powered by the consistency of opener Alex Lees, who racked up 1,347 runs at an average of just under 71.

The left-hander was dropped by England at the end of the 2022 summer but has responded to that setback in positive fashion. 

Lees made five centuries in 21 innings for Durham this season with an impressive batting strike-rate of 74 runs per 100 balls, compared with his career rate of just 49.6.  

Luis Reece - Derbyshire

It was a tough season for opening batsmen in Division One so Derbyshire's Luis Reece, another second-division opener, gets the nod to partner Lees.

Reece passed 1,000 runs despite playing only 11 of Derbyshire's 14 matches and he enjoyed a memorable individual performance in July's draw with Glamorgan, scoring 131 and 201 not out. 

The Welsh county were punished by Reece again in this week's final game of the season as he signed off the 2023 summer with 139 and 119 not out. 

Tom Westley - Essex

Essex were pipped to the Division One title by Surrey but they had a host of impressive performers, including all-rounder Matt Critchley and seamers Jamie Porter and Sam Cook.

Former England Test batsman Tom Westley captained the side and provided a solid foundation with the bat, topping the county's runscoring charts with 1,130 runs, including three elegant centuries.

Leus du Plooy - Derbyshire

Middlesex supporters will be looking forward to seeing South Africa-born middle-order man Leus du Plooy next summer following his prolific campaign for Derbyshire in Division Two.

Du Plooy departs for Lord's after amassing 1,236 runs at an average of 82, including a career-best 238 not out against Worcestershire in June.

Josh Bohannon - Lancashire

The 26-year-old Josh Bohannon was one of the most reliable middle-order runscorers in the top flight, passing 1,200 runs for the season thanks to a century against Kent this week.

Bohannon, who featured on England Lions' tour of Sri Lanka at the start of the year, has enhanced his reputation as a potential Test player with four Championship centuries, including 175 against Northamptonshire earlier this month.

James Rew - Somerset

The undisputed breakout star of the County Championship season was Somerset's wicketkeeper-batsman James Rew, who scored five centuries in his first five games.

"He's ridiculously good," said Somerset coach Jason Kerr after the 19-year-old Rew became the youngest player to score a double-century for the county during that stunning start to the summer.

His 221 came against a Hampshire bowling attack featuring internationals Mohammad Abbas, Kyle Abbott and Liam Dawson and it may not be long before Rew earns a call-up to the senior England team.

Sean Abbott - Surrey

Surrey's title victory was a team effort but one of their star performers was Australia all-rounder Sean Abbott, who contributed 456 runs and 37 wickets in his nine Championship appearances.

Abbott, currently in India as part of Australia's World Cup squad, also enjoyed a memorable T20 Blast campaign, smashing a 34-ball century against Kent – the joint-fastest ton in English T20 cricket.  

Jordan Clark - Surrey

Experienced all-rounder Jordan Clark was an ever-present for Division One champions Surrey, along with former England openers Rory Burns and Dom Sibley.

Clark's haul of 48 wickets included some crucial strikes in Surrey's eight victories and he also averaged 28 with the bat, scoring two fifties as well as a century against Nottinghamshire in July.

Simon Harmer - Essex

South African spinner Simon Harmer is one of the most inspired county signings of the 21st century and he had another superb summer for Essex, claiming 61 wickets, including five five-wicket hauls.

Harmer, who took his 900th first-class wicket against Hampshire last week, narrowly missed out on finishing as the top bowler in Division One but remains the best spinner on the circuit. 

Brett Hutton - Nottinghamshire

Nottinghamshire's Brett Hutton pipped Harmer to top wicket-taker honours in Division One after claiming his sixth five-wicket haul of 2023 against Middlesex this week.

Hutton, 30, produced a couple of terrific spells against a strong Somerset top order, taking 6-45 at Trent Bridge in April and 5-34 at Taunton in June.

Oliver Hannon-Dalby - Warwickshire

Essex's Jamie Porter had another fine summer, taking 57 wickets at an average of 19, and Ben Raine and Matthew Potts were excellent for Division Two champions Durham.

However, veteran Warwickshire fast bowler Oliver Hannon-Dalby finished the season strongly, taking 7-46 against Northamptonshire at Edgbaston and 5-29 and 3-52 against Middlesex at Lord's.

The 34-year-old's 54 Division One wickets cost him just 19 runs apiece and he formed a great new-ball partnership with fellow veteran Chris Rushworth.

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