Surrey held to draw as Sussex stay top
Frizzell County Championship Division One
Leicestershire 166 and 636 for 4 drew with Surrey 501 and 117 for 2 at Grace Road
John Sadler scored his maiden first-class century as Leicestershire put a dent in Surrey's bid for the Championship. Leicestershire held them to a high-scoring draw at Grace Road, despite being forced to follow on 335 runs behind. Resuming play on a healthy 348 for 2, John Maunders went on to make 171 and put on 135 with Sadler, who smashed 20 fours and one six in his 145. Paul Nixon joined in the fun with 44 not out until he finally declared on 636 for 4 as declaration bowlers Ian Ward and Graham Thorpe were given a whirl by Adam Hollioake. Surrey were set an impossible 302 and they ended on 117 for 2 and now slip down into second place in the table, five points behind Sussex with three games to play.
Lancashire 734 for 5 dec drew with Middlesex 544 and 237 for 7 at Old Trafford
It's not often a team has to follow on after scoring 544, but Middlesex had to do just that against Lancashire. Ben Hutton's hundred, the seventh of the game, wasn't enough to pass the mark, as Middlesex lost their last four wickets for 80 runs. Warren Hegg had no hesitation in asking them to bat again and after Andy Strauss hit 63 and Ed Joyce 41, Carl Hooper gave Middlesex a few late nerves. He took four wickets as Middlesex faltered to 198 for 7 before Paul Weekes and Sven Koenig, batting at No. 9 due to an injury, batted out for the draw.
Sussex 612 beat Essex 283 and 209 by an innings and 120 runs at Colchester
Mushtaq Ahmed took his season's wicket tally to 89, and Billy Taylor wrapped up the match with 4 for 50, as Essex toppled to an innings defeat with a full session of the third day still remaining. Chris Adams got Sussex's day off to the perfect start by running out Darren Robinson with a direct hit off the fourth ball of the day, and it was downhill all the way for Essex. Sussex are top of the Championship, albeit briefly, as Surrey are unlikely to let Leicestershire off the hook, but with three matches to go, this season is going down to the wire.
Frizzell County Championship Division Two
Worcestershire 331 and 116 for 2 beat Somerset 296 and 147 by eight wickets at Worcester
Nantie Hayward was back in the wickets again as Somerset were blown apart in their second innings, and slumped to an eight-wicket defeat against Worcestershire at New Road. Somerset, 32 for 4 overnight, never recovered and lost two more early wickets to Hayward, who finished with 5 for 46. The tail added a modicum of respectability to Somerset's total, but Worcestershire snuffed out the match in 38.2 overs, Stephen Peters and Anurag Singh adding 94 for the first wicket.
Northamptonshire 647 for 5 dec beat Derbyshire 138 and 278 by an innings and 231 runs at Derby
Michael di Venuto scored a brave rearguard century, but he was always swimming against the tide as Derbyshire slumped to defeat by an innings and 231 runs against Northamptonshire. Di Venuto found a fellow stalwart in Luke Sutton, who made 56, but when their 85-run fourth-wicket partnership came to an end, there was little resistance to follow. England's one-time tourist, Jason Brown, did the damage, bowling 42 tidy and penetrative overs of offspin, to finish with 4 for 60.
Durham 515 beat Hampshire 211 and 189 by an innings and 115 runs at Chester-le-Street
A career-best bowling spell of 7 for 70 from Neil Killeen sent Hampshire tumbling to defeat by an innings and 115 runs at Chester-le-Street. Hampshire had been up against it ever since Martin Love's century on the first day, and Killeen proved that resistance was futile. Bowling full and fast, with wicked late movement, he put a wicketless first innings behind him as Hampshire were bowled out for 189 in the follow-on
Gloucestershire 263 and 280 for 7 drew with Glamorgan 331 and 291 at Bristol
Gloucester resisted the best efforts of Robert Croft to secure a nervy draw on the final day at Bristol. Glamorgan were eventually bowled out for 291 in the morning session, leaving an unlikely victory target of 360. When Gloucestershire lost two early wickets to David Harrison, defeat was very much on the cards. But Jonty Rhodes and Tim Hancock added 125 for the third wicket to ease the nerves. But then Alex Wharf trapped Hancock lbw for 53, and Croft got in on the act. Rhodes followed immediately, the first of his four wickets in quick succession, and it was left to Alex Gidman, who scored an unbeaten half-century to save the game.