Sussex skittled by Lancashire as Essex go down
Frizzell County Championship Division One
Lancashire 450 for 6 dec beat Sussex 251 and 180 by an innings and 19 runs at Old Trafford
If Sussex are to achieve a maiden championship title after 164 barren years, they are determined to do it the hard way. They resumed on a precarious 21 for 2 this morning and duly lost their last eight wickets for a further 159 runs, as Lancashire wrapped up an emphatic innings-and-19-run victory at Old Trafford. It was a result every bit as critical for Lancashire as for Sussex - they remain in position for a last-ditch raid on the title. Gary Keedy, mentioned in dispatches for England's winter tour plans, was once again the destroyer. He spun through Sussex's jittery resistance for his second five-wicket haul of the match. And likewise, Sussex's main man was again Murray Goodwin, who battled bravely for 57, despite a nasty gash above his right eye - courtesy of a Peter Martin bouncer on Friday. On the positive side, Sussex remain in control of their own destiny - if they can take seven points from their final fixture, against the newly-relegated Leicestershire, they will be champions, regardless of how Lancashire fare at Trent Bridge.
Nottinghamshire 361 and 407 for 5 dec drew with Middlesex 326 at Lord's
Russell Warren enlivened a dull final day against Middlesex, by becoming the first Nottinghamshire batsman to score a century in each innings at Lord's. Rock-bottom and with nothing to play for, Notts batted all through the final day, with Warren adding an unbeaten 113 from 198 balls to his first-innings 123. Their captain Jason Gallian underpinned the tedium with a season's best 116, and only Kevin Pietersen's typically robust 68 from 57 balls attempted to lift the tempo. The result also suited Middlesex pretty well - unless Essex pull off an unlikely victory against Warwickshire, they should be guaranteed first division cricket next year.
Warwickshire 456 for 7 and 61 for 1 beat Essex 256 and 302 by nine wickets at Chelmsford
Essex became the third and final county to be relegated after they went down by nine wickets to Warwickshire. Waqar Younis blasted out five wickets in the morning session as Essex lost their last six batsmen for only 23 runs. Resuming on 257 for 4 and with a 10-run lead, Essex made a dreadful start when three wickets went down for two runs, including Mark Pettini for 78, caught by Nick Knight off Mark Wagh. Waqar (5-77) then wasted no time polishing off the tail, bowling Andy Clarke and Mohammad Akram, as Warwickshire were set only 56 to win. Akram removed Mike Powell early on for 10, but Knight and Wagh had no problems cruising home and Wagh rounded off a fine personal match with a towering six to send Essex tumbling down.
Frizzell County Championship Division Two
Somerset 409 and 214 beat Derbyshire 400 and 196 by 27 runs at Taunton
Ian Blackwell followed up his breathtaking 247 not out in the first innings with a crafty spell of 4 for 65, as Derbyshire blew their golden opportunity to avoid the wooden spoon in the second division. Dominic Cork's ten-wicket match haul had left Derby needing just 224 for their third victory of the season, and for a time they seemed to be cruising to victory on 178 for 4. But Blackwell, who had chiselled out two early wickets with his left-arm spin, found good support from Simon Francis and Gareth Andrew. Andrew dismissed Luke Sutton for 49 to spark a collapse of five wickets for 15 runs. It was Somerset's fourth win of a disappointing season, but already they have their eyes on an upturn in fortunes next year, if the rumours surrounding Ricky Ponting and Rahul Dravid are to be believed.
Northamptonshire 319 and 265 beat Glamorgan 203 and 361 by 20 runs at Cardiff
David Hemp and Dean Cosker carried Glamorgan agonisingly close to victory with a tenth-wicket stand of 78, but in the end Northants recorded their ninth win in ten matches in a gripping final-day struggle at Cardiff. Chasing a target of 382, Hemp anchored the innings with an unbeaten 85, scored over four-and-a-half hours, while Matthew Maynard was equally watchful in his 78. At 271 for 5 with Robert Croft going well, Glamorgan were looking good for victory. But then Jeff Cook stepped in. He grabbed four wickets for seven runs in 11 balls, and suddenly Glamorgan's last pair were together, with 98 still needed. A quick glance at Cosker's first-class record suggested the game was up - in a seven-year career, he had managed 259 runs at an average of 8.09. But by the time he had moved onto his highest first-class score of 42, Northants were sweating. It couldn't last, however, and Jason Brown eventually trapped Cosker lbw to end the resistance.
Gloucestershire 374 and 288 for 7 dec beat Durham 218 and 318 by 126 runs at Bristol
Gloucestershire's left-arm spinner Ian Fisher completed a fine match haul of 10 for 123, to keep his side's promotion push firmly on track at Bristol. Fisher took five key wickets in the second innings as Durham made a brave but futile pursuit of their victory target of 445. Most of Durham's hopes had rested on their Australian import Martin Love, who was 49 not out overnight. He seemed firmly on course for a century, until he fell to Fisher for 97 - an especially cruel blow, seeing as he had made 98 in the first innings. Liam Plunkett hung around for a career-best 40 to delay the inevitable, but Gloucester now head for Headingley, for a promotion showdown with Yorkshire.
Worcestershire 389 and 208 for 6 v Yorkshire 405 at New Road (Day 3)
Two late wickets gave Yorkshire the edge in their intriguing tussle against Worcestershire, and kept alive their hopes of promotion. Resuming on 266 for 5, Craig White and Richard Dawson added 104 to help Yorkshire past 400. White struck six fours and a six in his 66, while Dawson's 60 included nine fours. Yorkshire had a slender first-innings lead of 14 runs, but Chris Silverwood increased that advantage when he caught and bowled Stephen Peters for a duck. Graeme Hick and Ben Smith both scored 57 and ticked the score along to 155-4, but Yorkshire finished on a high. Anurag Singh, caught behind off Silverwood, and Justin Kemp, trapped lbw by Steve Kirby, fell in the dying overs to set up an interesting last day's play.