Surrey surrender while Notts are relegated
Frizzell County Championship Division One
Kent 535 v Surrey 125 and 169 for 7 at Canterbury (Day 2)
Surrey's title hopes took a massive dive as they spiralled to almost-certain defeat against Kent. Surrey were forced to follow on and then made a right mess second time round as well, ending up 241 runs behind with only three wickets left. Replying to Kent's 535, Surrey crashed to 125 all out in 28.5 overs. Martin Saggers started the rot by ripping through the top order as Surrey lurched to 64 for 5. Saggers, who took 4 for 40, was on the mark right from the off. He bowled Ian Ward (2), Jonathan Batty (28) and Mark Ramprakash (4), then trapped Nadeem Shahid lbw for 4. Then Amjad Khan took over. He winkled out three further wickets, including the battling Rikki Clarke for 26, then Muttiah Muralitharan polished off the tail with Surrey still trailing by 410. Saggers then took another two, and Murali three, as only Ian Ward (53) and Ally Brown (40) provided much resistance in Surrey's second innings.
Essex 335 and 154 for 1 beat Nottinghamshire 284 and 204 by nine wickets at Chelmsford (Day 3)
Alastair Cook and Andy Flower led Essex to their second Championship victory of the season, both of which came against Notts. While the win kept alive Essex's slim hopes of surviving relegation, it confirmed Nottinghamshire's drop to the second division. Chasing 154, Cook scored an assured 69 not out on his first-class debut then, after Will Jefferson departed for 38, Andy Flower cracked a brisk 45 from 35 to help Essex home. That target of 154 would have been even less if it hadn't been for Jason Gallian, who rescued Notts with a fighting 79 from 245 balls. Andy Clarke (4 for 34) picked up three quick wickets in the morning as Notts stumbled 108 to 5. Bilal Shafayat then became James Foster's fourth catch of the innings, but Gallian held firm. He got some help from Paul Franks, who made 23, but once he was out, Essex wrapped up the last three wickets for 31 to set up their nine-wicket win.
Warwickshire 449 v Lancashire 781 at Edgbaston (Day 3)
Lancashire passed 700 for the second time in a fortnight as Stuart Law and Carl Hooper added to their mountain of runs this season with a stand of 360 - a fifth-wicket record for Lancashire - against Warwickshire. Law and Hooper are becoming a very prosperous double act for Lancashire and they followed their stand of 282 against Middlesex last week with another batting masterclass. Law started play on 11 not out, and Hooper with only a single, but they both raced to their centuries as Lancashire ended the day on a massive 781, and a lead of 332. Law biffed his way to 168, including 23 fours, while Hooper smashed 16 fours and eight sixes in his 177 before he was caught shortly before tea. Glen Chapple then smacked a quick 60 from 85 balls to add to the Warwickshire attack's dismal day. Melvyn Betts finished with 0 for 151, while Mark Wagh took seven wickets, but for the small matter of 222 runs.
Sussex v Middlesex 392 at Hove (Day 1)
With Surrey in all sorts of trouble at Canterbury, the Championship favourites Sussex failed to put Middlesex under the same kind of pressure, as Andy Strauss and Owais Shah added 219 in Middlesex's healthy 392. Strauss continued his purple patch with 138 from 172 balls, while Shah creamed 140, featuring 25 fours and two sixes. Jason Lewry did strike twice early on to leave Middlesex teetering on 33 for 2, but then the Strauss-Shah duet held things up. However, when Shah was finally out to Mushtaq Ahmed, the last five wickers tumbled for 18 as Mushtaq cleaned up the tail and took his tally to 95 scalps this season.
Frizzell County Championship Division Two
Northamptonshire 538 for 7 dec beat Durham 190 and 263 by an innings and 85 runs at Wantage Road (Day 3)
Jason Brown led Northants to an emphatic win against Durham which all but guarantees their return to Division One next season. Brown took his season's tally to 55 with a matchwinning spell of 5 for 90 as Durham surrendered for 263 in their second innings. Martin Love top-scored with 84, and Phil Mustard (35) and Graeme Bridge (33 not out) put on 51, but once that partnership was broken, the end came quickly as Durham lost their last four wickets in seven balls to Brown and Graeme Swann (3 for 77).
Yorkshire 410 and 132 for 1 beat Somerset 228 and 313 by nine wickets at Headingley (Day 3)
Matthew Wood and Anthony McGrath led Yorkshire to a comfortable win against Somerset, to give their side a sniff of promotion back to Division One. Wood (53 not out) and McGrath (67 not out) added 103 while chasing their target of 132. The Yorkshire attack, boasting four England internationals, shared the wickets between them, but Steve Kirby grabbed the two most important ones. He dismissed Neil Edwards for 90 and Jamie Cox for 59 as Somerset were bowled out for 313.
Gloucestershire 401 and 209 for 8 v Derbyshire 321 at Bristol (Day 3)
Jon Lewis and Craig Spearman put Gloucestershire in a strong position going into the final day against Derbyshire. Lewis took a season's-best 7 for 117 in Derbyshire's 321, in which Steve Stubbings scored a valuable 103 before the last four wickets added 87. Derbyshire still trailed by 80, and Spearman then rubbed in Gloucestershire's advantage as he walloped a quickfire 87 from 85 balls. Graeme Welch and Paul Havell took three wickets apiece, but Gloucestershire were in charge with a 289-run lead at the close.
Worcestershire 364 and 313 for 9 dec v Hampshire 265 and 91 for 2 at the Rose Bowl (Day 3)
Worcestershire, whose promotion was confirmed when Durham lost to Northants, are likely to be celebrating again after they moved into a winning position against Hampshire. Resuming on 50 for no loss and with a lead of 149, Kadeer Ali scored 79 and Vikram Solanki hit 77, including 13 fours, as Worcestershire raced to 313 for 9 before declaring. That set Hampshire an unlikely 413 to win, and even though they made steady progress to 91 for 2, they still require another 321 tomorrow.