Flintoff bludgeons Lancashire to victory
Kent moved into second place with a tense four-wicket defeat of Yorkshire at Canterbury. Needing 137 on a wearing pitch, Kent lost four wickets in the morning session but appeared well on course when they reached lunch on 101 for 4. But Rana Naved-ul-Hasan grabbed three wickets in as many overs immediately after the resumption to leave Kent on 108 for 7. Geraint Jones and Yasir Arafat smacked 34 in five overs to see their side over the finishing line, while Yorkshire completed a miserable day after having their Twenty20 appeal turned down.
Durham settled for a draw against Somerset after they lost two quick wickets in pursuit of a stiff target of 283 in 52 overs at Chester-le-Street. With the first day completely washed out, a draw always looked on the cards. Marcus Trescothick made a breezy 50 as Somerset declared on 193 for 5, and when Durham slipped to 8 for 2 they gave up any thoughts of mounting a serious chase, eventually finishing on 113 for 4.
Middlesex missed out on the chance to go top as Gloucestershire's last pair of Anthony Ireland and Ian Saxelby held out for 22 overs to secure a draw at Bristol. Middlesex batted on for 85 minutes in the morning, reaching 212 for 4, setting Gloucestershire an improbable target of 324 from 72 overs. The seamers, led by Tim Murtagh (3 for 33) and Alan Richardson (3 for 34) ensured the home side were always struggling and at 147 for 9 the game seemed up. With light fading, Ed Joyce was forced to rely on his spinners until late on when the conditions improved. But Ireland survived 91 balls and 19-year-old trialist Saxelby 67 played out time.
Derbyshire and Leicestershire settled for a draw after a see-saw day at Derby in which either side could have snatched a win. Set a target of 220 in 58 overs after Derbyshire had been bowled out for 200, Leicestershire appeared to be struggling on 100 for 6 before James Allenby and Tom Smith (42) added 93 for the seventh wicket. They needed 27 off four overs but the chase was called off when Charl Langeveldt clung on to a sharp return catch to dismiss Smith.
Glamorgan staged a dogged last-day fight to secure a draw with Essex at Cardiff after starting the day staring at a likely defeat. Michael Powell led the way with a four-and-a-half hour unbeaten 86, putting on 68 with David Hemp and 90 with Jamie Dalrymple. Essex missed out when Powell was then dropped by Jason Gallian at slip for 42. Glamorgan only relaxed when they wiped out the first-innings deficit in the last hour, and the captains agreed to call time with five overs remaining and Glamorgan on 269 for 6. The home side later had more to cheer about when they were included in Twenty20 finals day.