Nerveless Arafat hands Kent first win
Kent pulled off a remarkable three-wicket win over Nottinghamshire on the last day at Trent Bridge, as Yasir Arafat (36*) and Ryan McLaren (37*) held their nerve to guide them to their target of 244. Kent resumed on 129 for 4, and Martin van Jaarsveld received a beauty from Ryan Sidebottom first up, but he battled it out to register his fifty from 79 balls with a leg-glance off Stuart Broad. However, Sidebottom returned for a new spell around the wicket and, with his second ball, bowled van Jaarsveld for 63. Geraint Jones didn't last long, fending to leg gully, and when Justin Kemp was beaten by a Charlie Shreck slower ball, the visitors were tottering on 173 for 7. But Arafat joined McLaren and - as he did in his first innings 67 - Arafat was immediately on the attack, carving through the covers. The pair brought up their fifty partnership, and in spite of Sidebottom's energy, McLaren pulled a four off Samit Patel to secure Kent's first Championship win of the season.
Somerset's match with Hampshire ended in a tame draw at Taunton with Michael Brown notching 104 as Hampshire reached 198 for 1 after 69 overs chasing a huge and unlikely 422. Earlier, Justin Langer delayed Somerset's declaration with Zander de Bruyn falling two short of his maiden hundred for his new county. Together with Peter Trego, the pair put on 111 for the sixth wicket with some attractive and aggressive strokeplay, but de Bruyn played across the line on 98 to hand Sean Ervine one, expensive wicket. Somerset declared on 654 for 6 shortly before midday and Hampshire dropped anchor in their second innings, with Jimmy Adams and Brown crawling to 31 from 15 overs. Brown offered one chance in his 231-ball hundred when Craig Kieswetter missed a stumping off Ian Blackwell, and although Adams fell for 49, the result was never in question.
Chris Wright anchored an unexpected victory for Essex against his former county Middlesex at Chelmsford, where a 99-run ninth-wicket partnership between Wright and James Middlebrook crushed the visitors, who seemed set for their first win of the season. Essex started the day five wickets down and still 176 short of the 299 they needed for victory and the loss of three more wickets, including the key man Varun Chopra for 38, left them with 97 required and only two wickets in hand. But Wright and Middlebrook did not panic, gradually reducing the target, surviving the new ball and increasing the pressure on the Middlesex attack. Wright was the dominant partner, reaching his half-century from 74 deliveries with a six off Shaun Udal, while Middlebrook, who finished unbeaten on 33, took a more measured approach. Wright, who only switched from Middlesex to Essex last August, completed the fightback with an edge for four off Vernon Philander to take him to 71 not out and register Essex's second win of the campaign.
Denmark's Freddie Klokker made 103 not out, his second century in a five-match first-class career, but Ian Bell could not make the most of his time at the crease as the match between Derbyshire and Warwickshire petered out to a draw at at Derby. Klokker and Jonathan Clare (64*) each posted career-best scores as they combined for an unbeaten 94-run stand that took Derbyshire to 417 for 6 when the declaration came, just after Klokker cut a boundary off James Anyon to reach triple-figures. It left Warwickshire needing an unlikely 378 from 69 overs; a bruised thumb that meant Rikki Clarke was unable to bowl may have been a factor in the hosts batting longer than expected. Bell managed five fours in a short stay of 28 but he was caught at slip trying to cut the left-arm spinner Nayan Doshi, and missed the chance for a big innings ahead of the Lord's Test. When Warwickshire stumbled to 59 for 3, Mike Powell and Jonathan Trott understandably shut up shop. Powell was out for 35 late in the day and Trott had reached 45 when the draw was confirmed, with Warwickshire at 160 for 4, still 218 short of their hefty target. For Warwickshire, who were ahead on the first innings, the draw was enough for them to sit on top of the Division Two table, although the second-placed Essex have a game in hand.