Key and Jones lead Kent's successful chase
Durham consolidated their position at the top of the Championship table and moved closer to retaining their title with a thumping nine-wicket victory against Sussex at Chester-le-Street. Luke Wright's second century of the season only delayed the inevitable and Durham were left needing 77 to win. The home side broke Sussex's main resistance when Mark Davies shifted Andrew Hodd with a slower ball to end a stand of 112 with Wright and 30 runs later Yasir Arafat edged Ian Blackwell to slip. Steve Harmison, still battling with a badly blistered toe, picked up the tail although a 46-run stand between Wright and Corey Collymore extended the match beyond lunch. Michael Di Venuto, who hit a career-best 254 in the first innings, remained unbeaten throughout the game as he finished on 39.
With no chance of a result at Taunton, Somerset's batsmen used the final day against Nottinghamshire to put in another powerful performance. The hosts were on 29 for 0 overnight and Marcus Trescothick and Arul Suppiah added another 200 today before Trescothick was caught by Darren Pattinson off Samit Patel for 99. Suppiah, however, did not miss out on his century and reached 151 before getting bowled by Adam Voges. There was little respite for Nottinghamshire's bowlers though as Wes Durston also scored a half-century. Somerset eventually declared on 344 for 2 and the match was called off soon after.
Warwickshire crushed Worcestershire by nine wickets at at New Road, achieving their first victory in Division One since May 2007, and left the hosts struggling at the bottom of the table and in danger of relegation. Fast bowlers Naqaash Tahir, who took 5 for 67, and Boyd Rankin picked up the last four Worcestershire wickets in about an hour on the final day, ensuring their batsmen needed to chase only 47 for victory. Moeen Ali offered some resistance on a grassy pitch but was the last man out - edging Tahir to the wicketkeeper - with the score on 244. Warwickshire lost Neil Carter in the second over of the chase and the job was finished by Ian Westwood and Jonathan Trott who reached the target in less than nine overs.
Robert Key and Geraint Jones scored centuries to help Kent overhaul a challenging target and secure a three-wicket victory on the final day against Derbyshire at Canterbury. Chasing a target of 318, Key scored 110 off 144 balls and Jones contributed 100 as Kent raced along at over four runs an over. The pair added 175 for the second wicket after Joe Denly fell early and set up a superb platform for the rest of the batsmen to build on. Martin van Jaarsveld maintained the pace with a brisk 51 off 47 balls while Darren Stevens contributed 29 off 28. Kent lost wickets towards the end but the lower-order batsmen ensured that the hard work of their top-order team-mates wasn't wasted. That Kent had an opportunity to push for the win was down to their bowlers, who performed impressively to dismiss Derbyshire for only 303 after the visitors resumed on 236 for 4 in the morning. Justin Kemp bowled Wavell Hinds soon after play began and he and James Tredwell worked their way through the Derbyshire lower order. Kemp finished with 3 for 12 while Tredwell to 4 for 93.
A top-order collapse during the run-chase resulted in Middlesex crashing to a 35-run defeat against Northamptonshire at Lord's, leaving the hosts still searching for their first victory of the season after nine matches. Middlesex were chasing a target of 222 but their chances reduced drastically after David Lucas and Monty Panesar reduced them to 66 for 5. Shaun Udal offered resistance during his 55 off 94 balls but Johann van der Wath breached his defences and knocked out middle stump, taking three lower-order wickets to skittle Middlesex for 186. Earlier, van der Wath had scored 85 to help Northamptonshire extend their overnight score of 225 for 7 to 293.
The bowlers will be grateful this one is over. Only nine wickets fell in four days as the match between Surrey and Leicestershire at The Oval ended in the most unappealing of cricketing contests - the high-scoring draw. Surrey began the final day on 311 for 2 and Mark Ramprakash converted his century into a massive double, reaching 274 before he was bowled by Nathan Buck. Ramprakash had added a mind-boggling 404 runs for the third wicket with Stewart, who scored 188, before he was caught off Claude Henderson. The runs didn't stop with their dismissals for Usman Afzaal took the opportunity to score an unbeaten 70 before Surrey mercifully declared on 608 for 4. Leicestershire's openers, Greg Smith and Matthew Boyce, added 23 before the match ended. The bowlers bowled 333.2 overs in four days and took nine wickets while the batsmen plundered 1224 runs.
Only 149 runs were scored and two wickets taken on the final day in Bristol as the match between Glamorgan and Gloucestershire meandered towards a draw. Gloucestershire began the day on 19 for 0, with an overall lead of 69, and finished on 168 for 2. Kadeer Ali top scored with an unbeaten 67 while James Harris and David Harrison picked up a wicket each for Glamorgan.