van Jaarsveld lifts Kent from danger
Kent's captain, Martin van Jaarsveld, lifted his side clear of danger on the penultimate day at Chelmsford, cracking his second century in as many matches to secure a first-innings lead of 226 against Essex. Van Jaarsveld came to the crease with his side in some danger at 113 for 2, still trailing by 52 after being asked to follow on, but a third-wicket stand of 124 with James Tredwell (79) ensured against any further damage. Darren Stevens then set his side up for a draw by reaching the close on 74 not out in a total of 391 for 5. Danish Kaneria was the most successful of Essex's bowlers with 2 for 109.
Jon Lewis and Steve Kirby shared three wickets apiece as Gloucestershire saw off a determined run-chase from Northamptonshire to win by 44 runs on the final day at Wantage Road. Set a daunting 371 for victory, Northants were handily placed overnight on 200 for 5, with Andrew Hall and David Willey unbeaten in a sixth-wicket stand of 98. That partnership was soon ended when Willey fell to Vikram Banerjee for 47, and though Hall fell nine runs short of his century when Alex Gidman pinned him lbw, Steven Crook ensured the chase went on by marshalling the tail with 55 from 82 balls. The end, however, came quickly, as Kirby and Lewis returned with the new ball, and extracted the last three wickets for four runs.
England's Under-19 batsman James Taylor guided Leicestershire to safety with the first first-class hundred of his fledgling career, as Middlesex were thwarted in their victory push at Southgate. After being asked to follow on midway through the third day, Leicestershire were handily placed on 177 for 2 when play resumed, and though Tim Murtagh gave them some early jitters with three wickets for nine runs, including Boeta Dippenaar for 93, Taylor didn't let their position slide away in a determined 197 ball innings. He received stoic support from the tail, with Paul Nixon making a virtually strokeless 31 in almost three and a half hours, before Wayne White and Carl Crowe flung the bat with more abandon as the match petered out in the closing overs.
After losing an entire day to rain, Glamorgan and Derbyshire managed just 5.3 overs on the final day at Cardiff as their match finished as a very soggy draw. In the time available, Robert Croft claimed Daniel Redfern for his third wicket of the innings, but it was all academic.
Nottinghamshire cemented their overnight advantage against Lancashire on a curtailed third day at Old Trafford, as they extended their first innings from 263 for 6 to 367 for 9 declared, a lead of 178. The mainstays of their day were the captain Chris Read, who was run out for 63, and Paul Franks, who made 51 from 86 balls in his first first-class outing of the season. Lancashire were left with a solitary over before an early, which was negotiated without alarm.
Matt Prior responded to his omission from England's Twenty20 squad with a bruising unbeaten century, as Sussex fought back after an early collapse against Hampshire at The Rose Bowl. After losing the second day to the weather, Hampshire declared after 5.5 overs on 350 for 8, whereupon Dominic Cork continued his penchant for early breakthroughs by claiming the wickets of Michael Yardy and Ed Joyce. Chris Nash fell to James Tomlinson for 33, and when Murray Goodwin was run out for 7, Sussex were staring down the barrel at 97 for 4. But Prior sprung to the rescue with his first century of the season, as he dominated a fifth-wicket stand of 74 with Andy Hodd, who made 25 before become Cork's third wicket of the innings.
For a full report from the final day between Somerset and Durham at Taunton click here.
For a full report from the final day between Yorkshire and Worcestershire at Headingley click here.