Middlesex repel Warne to claim win
Middlesex's middle and lower-order repelled everything that Shane Warne could produce as they secured a tense two-wicket win over Hampshire. Each time Middlesex were moving into a favourite's position Hampshire struck back. Firstly they removed Alan Richardson after he proved to be a stubborn nightwatchman and he was immediately followed by Ed Joyce. At 199 for 6 Hampshire were in with a real chance, but two generations of Middlesex allrounders - Jamie Dalrymple and Paul Weekes - forged a vital of 56. Still, though, Hampshire didn't give in and when Warne removed Ben Scott 6 were still with two wickets in hand. However, Weekes had the final say, as his unbeaten 39 finally settled the issue after a brilliant example of hard-fought Championship cricket.
Gloucestershire battled to an unlikely draw against Surrey through career-best innings from Alex Gidman (142) and Stephen Adshead (93). The pair added 233 and more importantly used up valuable time. However, when they both fell within 14 runs of each other Surrey would still have had the chance to chase a very attainable target if they'd wrapped up the tail. But they found more stubborn resistance in their path as Ian Fisher and James Averis both batted for over an hour. Jimmy Ormond eventually finished the innings with 4 for 89 but Surrey's target of 180 was nigh on impossible in the remaining time. Azhar Mahmood gave it a shot with 26 from 17 balls but the game was called off after 11 overs. Surrey have missed a huge opportunity to close the gap on the leaders while the draw will boost Gloucestershire's hopes of avoiding the drop.
Solid batting from Kent's middle-order left their clash with Sussex finely poised after two days. Four batsmen passed 50, Robert Key's 74 currently being the top-score, and Matthew Walker is unbeaten on 55 overnight. He is Kent's main hope of getting a lead if he can receive support from the tail. Jason Lewry picked up a couple of wickets, including Key, but Mushtaq Ahmed was usually expensive, going at over four runs an over. Earlier, Chris Adams and James Kirtley extended their partnership to 72 and Simon Cook finished with 3 for 57.
Richard Dawson guided Yorkshire to a three-wicket win against Worcestershire with a flamboyant 51 from 58 balls. The match was in the balance when play began, Yorkshire needing 46 runs and Worcestershire four wickets. Matt Mason struck the first blow, removing Ismail Dawood for 5, but Dawson held firm to resist the Worcestershire attack. Kabir Ali, who had taken four wickets yesterday to set up the tense finish, could not gain another breakthrough as Tim Bresnan offered Dawson staunch support in the eighth wicket stand of 39 - enough to take Yorkshire home and gain a vital 20 points.
Essex took a firm grip against Northamptonshire after piling up 506 then setting their spinners loose on the Northants batting. James Middlebrook and Danish Kaneria took all six wickets to fall. Kaneria claimed the important scalp of Martin Love in his first over and Middlebrook dismantled the middle-order during his 23 overs. Essex's total was based around a series of useful contributions right down the order, with no one going to reach a hundred, and Ravindar Bopara top-scored with 87. The warning signs were flashing for Northants when Monty Panesar, their left-arm spinner, claimed 7 for 181 from 56 overs. Middlebrook and Kaneria only needed 46 between them to leave Northants on the ropes.