Hick and Klusener roll back the years
Darren Stevens produced a mesmeric spell of medium pace as Essex imploded in pursuit of Kent's meagre 141 for 7 at Chelmsford. After winning the toss and bowling, Essex were disciplined in the field, reducing Kent to 107 for 7 before Neil Dexter at No. 8 provided the innings with some humpty with 31 not out from 18 balls. It shouldn't have been enough, especially once Ravi Bopara and James Foster were into their stride, but neither could produce anything more than a cameo, and the tail crumbled to Stevens' discipline.
Hampshire's match against Middlesex at Southampton was abandoned due to rain.
Warwickshire lost two wickets for no runs in Anthony Ireland's opening over of the match, but a tub-thumping 77 from 56 balls from Tim Ambrose turned their innings around and set up a 27-run victory over Gloucestershire at Bristol. Ireland removed Neil Carter and Darren Maddy in the space of five balls, before Ben Edmundson popped up with an excellent restrictive spell of 3 for 20 in the middle overs. Ambrose, however, cracked six fours and three sixes as Warwickshire posted 149 for 8. That was more than enough as Gloucestershire's batting crumbled for 122. Paul Harris was the pick of the bowlers with 3 for 18.
Matthew Wood and Cameron White put Glamorgan's bowlers to the sword at Taunton, cracking 88 from 53 balls and 68 from 35 respectively to rattle along to an impregnable total of 202 for 6. Somerset lost Justin Langer for a second-ball duck, but that was their only setback as the pair belted 12 fours and eight sixes between them. In reply, Glamorgan made a valiant fist of a run-chase, thanks to David Hemp and Ben Wright, who came together at 90 for 5 and were undefeated in an 84-run partnership when the overs ran out. But they were never in the hunt as the innings closed on 174.
Northamptonshire had to bring their own stumps to their match against Worcestershire at Kidderminster - because no-one was on hand to row to the underwater kit-room at New Road. The visitors' timbers proved unrattleable as well, as Lance Klusener and Graeme Hick rolled back the years with a pair of superb centuries. Hick was first up, clubbing his way to 110 from just 49 balls with 10 fours and eight sixes, ably supported by his captain, Vikram Solanki, who made 58 from 41. Worcestershire's total of 227 looked impregnable, but no-one told Klusener, whp evoked memories of the 1999 World Cup with his unique brand of baseball slugging. He made a brilliant unbeaten 111 from 59, as Northants fell agonisingly short, by just five runs.
Anthony McGrath made 55 from 44 balls and Jacques Rudolph an unbeaten 35 from 31, but it wasn't quite enough to propel Yorkshire to victory over Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge. Chasing 150, after a disciplined bowling display in which Rudolph's spin had picked up 3 for 30 in three overs, Yorkshire stumbled early after Gerard Brophy and Tim Bresnan fell for a total of one run, and were never quite able to recover their momentum.
Mal Loye showed what England had been missing at the recent World Cup, making 89 from just 62 balls as Lancashire beat Durham by a comfortable 39 runs at Chester-le-Street. Loye's efforts, with support from Sanath Jayasuriya and Brad Hodge, lifted Lancs to 180 for 4, whereupon Jayasuriya took control with the ball. His teasing left-arm spin paralysed Durham's middle order, as he finished with 4 for 24 in 3.5 overs.