Bichel stars with six wickets for Essex
Andy Bichel has continued his outstanding county season with a six-wicket haul against Justin Langer's Somerset side. Bichel, 36, was one of several old hands who starred in another rain-affected round of first-class matches, claiming 6 for 63 to give Essex the edge in their draw at Taunton.
It was his best bowling performance in three matches this year for Essex, where he had already found form with the bat by striking centuries in each of his first two games. Bichel's victims included Langer for 24 and Cameron White for 1 as Somerset were bundled out for 153. White also recorded his finest bowling figures this season, taking 4 for 28 in Essex's first innings of 282.
Spectators at Chester-le-Street could have been forgiven for thinking the Durham-Hampshire clash was a veterans' benefit match. Hampshire had Shane Warne, 37, and Shaun Udal, 38, spinning in tandem while the danger bowlers for Durham were Ottis Gibson, 38, and Paul Wiseman, 37.
Gibson was unquestionably the hero, becoming the 79th bowler in first-class cricket to take all ten wickets in an innings. He collected 10 for 47 to reduce Hampshire to 115 in the first innings and Warne could only manage 2 for 56 in reply as Durham set the visitors a near-impossible 359 for victory. Wiseman chipped away at Hampshire and took 5 for 65 but Warne had some impact with the bat, scoring 50 to help his side escape with a draw at 9 for 262.
There was another draw at Headingley, and it was another old-timer who outshone his younger friends. Darren Gough, 36, led Yorkshire with 6 for 50 as Surrey were dismissed for 229. Gough's team-mate Jason Gillespie - a spring-chicken at 32 - took 1 for 52. Earlier, Matthew Nicholson had grabbed 4 for 85 in Yorkshire's 307.
Travis Birt finally scored his first half-century of the year for Derbyshire in their draw with Glamorgan at Derby. Birt, who now averages 22.90 from seven matches, made a brisk 70 from 75 balls in the second innings as the home side chased 276 from no more than 46 overs.
Robert Croft made the chase impossible when he rattled through the top order and finished with 6 for 44 but Derbyshire clung on and reached 9 for 195. Derbyshire's Australian-dominated top order had been entertaining in the first innings, when Michael Dighton made 43 from 40 deliveries and Simon Katich posted 42 from 45.