Nottinghamshire eke valuable lead
Nottinghamshire took a 45-run lead by the end of the second day against Yorkshire at Trent Bridge as they chased division leaders Durham in the County Championship. Nottinghamshire bowled out Yorkshire for 256, after they had resumed on 220 for 8, and ended the day on 301 for 7, with Scott Newman and Bilal Shafayat contributing fifties. Newman and Alex Hales added 76 for the first wicket before Hales mis-timed a drive back to the bowler Richard Pyrah. Yorkshire struck more quick blows and had Nottinghamshire struggling at 153 for 5 but Chris Read added 78 with Shafayat to take their team close to the visitor's total. Read was approaching his fifty when he charged David Wainwright and was stumped after the left-arm spinner bowled the ball wider. Matthew Hoggard then bowled Shafayat middle stump for 66 but Paul Franks scored an unbeaten 46 to steer Nottinghamshire through to stumps.
Click here to read George Dobell's report of Warwickshire's match against Worcestershire at Edgbaston, where the visitors are following-on and have been hit with the news that Kabir Ali has asked for permission to talk to other counties.
Rain dominated the third day at Old Trafford but Michael Yardy ensured that Sussex were in a satisfactory position against Lancashire. Click here to read John Ward's report.
The crucial match between Durham and Somerset was drawn after a second successive day was washed out at Chester-le-Street. Somerset also had a point deducted because of a slow over-rate which left them with six points to take from the match compared to Durham's nine. The result left Durham 33 points ahead of Somerset, who have two games in hand, and all but secured them the Division One title. However, Durham's director of cricket Geoff Cook refused to assume the Championship was already won and said that the upcoming game against Nottinghamshire was "a big one". Durham currently have 195 points, which is five more than their end-of-season tally last year, and three matches in hand.
"The weather influenced two of our first three games, when we were in a good position and had to settle for draws," Cook said. "Other than that we've been reasonably fortunate, although our positive cricket has helped us to win in three days a couple of times when a fourth might not have been available.
"We've got a very big game coming up against Nottinghamshire. It's going to be absolutely crucial and it's really important we are tuned into playing good, positive, aggressive cricket."
Stephen Peters and Rob White scored brisk half-centuries to lead Northamptonshire to a six-wicket victory against Middlesex at Wantage Road. Northamptonshire's bowlers set up the game by dismissing Middlesex for 207 in their second innings, leaving their batsmen a target of 220 to chase. Peters hit 73 off 101 balls while White made 85 off 102 as they reached the target in the 46th over. The victory might have been a lot easier for Northamptonshire had Gareth Berg not made a rearguard 94 to lift Middlesex from dire straits at 47 for 6. However, his effort merely served to delay defeat as David Lucas (4 for 43) and Johann van der Wath 3 for 32 wrapped up the innings. There were a couple of nervous moments in Northamptonshire's chase - Niall O'Brien was out for duck and Alex Wakely and Riki Wessels fell with the score on 65 - but they were shepherded to victory by Peters and White.
Leicestershire's bowlers dismissed Glamorgan for 218 in their first innings, securing a lead of 64 which was extended to 85 at stumps, but the rain-hit contest at at Grace Road is likely to end in a draw. Leicestershire's last wicket added 13 to their overnight total of 269 for 9 before Andrew Harris was lbw to James Harris, who finished with 4 for 85, leaving Claude Henderson unbeaten on 79. Glamorgan's reply got off to a poor start when Gareth Rees shouldered arms and was bowled by Iain O'Brien in the first over. Mark Cosgrove was lbw to Andrew Harris shortly after, while trying to play across the line, and Glamorgan were soon 64 for 3. Mike Powell, who top-scored for Glamorgan with 61, and Jamie Dalrymple steadied the innings but both fell lbw to James Benning in successive overs. Henderson then took three lower-order wickets to ensure Glamorgan were bowled out and finished with 3 for 31. Paul Nixon and Mathew Boyce took Leicestershire to 21 for 0 at stumps.
Alex Gidman's career-best 176 put Gloucestershire in a commanding position against Surrey at Bristol. Gidman led Gloucestershire from their overnight score of 224 for 3 to 523 for 7 declared, while Chris Taylor contributed 111 and Hamish Marshall 84. Surrey reduced the 340-run first-innings deficit to 204 by reaching 136 for 3 at stumps on the third day. Marshall was dropped in the slips on 72 early in the day, before he was run out shortly after, but there was little success for Surrey as Gidman and Taylor added 197 for the fifth wicket. Taylor, though, was lucky to get off the mark because he was dropped by Usman Afzaal at slip off Jade Dernbach. He made Surrey pay by reaching his half-century off only 42 balls while Gidman got to his hundred with consecutive fours off Stuart Meaker. Gidman was eventually caught at backward point while attempting to reverse-sweep Rangana Herath and Taylor got to his century off 97 balls before a yorker from Meaker broke through his defences. Surrey began their innings solidly, with openers Jonathan Batty and Michael Brown adding 75 before Batty was caught behind off Marshall. They lost two further wickets and will battle to avoid an innings defeat on the final day.
Derbyshire secured a 302-run lead after Chris Rogers scored a double-century and Garry Park made 178 against Kent. Mark Pennell watched the action.