Cork's fizz and Yorkshire's fight
Cricinfo takes a look back at the week of county action and some of the performances that caught the eye
If Lancashire do manage to overhaul the eight-point gap to Sussex and claim the Championship it'll be in no small part down to Dominic Cork. He is a player who adores being the centre of attention and his all-round show at Old Trafford earned vital bonus points for Lancashire. It was his batting that came to the fore in the most dramatic style with his side floundering on 246 for 6, well short of their 400-run target. Firstly with Luke Sutton and latterly with Tom Smith, Cork took charge and carried them to full batting points in a blaze of boundaries. His third fifty took just 41 balls as he registered his highest score for six years and the second best of his career. The odds favour Sussex, but Cork won't be giving up the Championship race until it is impossible.
Bowling of the week - Greg Lamb, 4 for 38 v Yorkshire
Surrey's capitulation to Somerset in the final round of the Pro40 meant Hampshire could sneak into the play-off position with a win over Yorkshire. However, at 127 for 2 chasing 221 a young Yorkshire team were on course. Cue Greg Lamb and his part-time offspin. He removed Michael Lumb to expose an inexperienced middle order, but if it hadn't been for the intervention of Shane Warne - who appeared on the field as twelfth man - he may have returned to the outfield. Shaun Udal, the captain for the day, was persuaded to stick with Lamb and the hunch paid off as he claimed three more wickets, including the final strike when Simon Guy was caught by Chris Benham.
Team of the week - Yorkshire
Yorkshire are not going to leave the first division without a fight. Their impressive 68-run victory against Nottinghamshire, achieved with 10 minutes to spare, means they enter the final round - a relegation decider against Durham - with just half a point between them. Yorkshire needed to beat the elements and a fine double from David Hussey but, with moments to spare, Mark Lawson had Charlie Shreck stumped. It was Lawson's eighth wicket of the match - another eye-catching performance from the young legspinner - and Adil Rashid bagged three. Lawson and Rashid are two players whose development would benefit if Yorkshire managed to stay in the top flight.
James Anderson's return for Lancashire was a significant moment in England's Ashes planning. He wasn't even scheduled to play in the Pro40 fixture against Glamorgan, but when Glen Chapple pulled out before the start he was called into action. When his turn came with the ball it took him just 10 deliveries to strike, having Robert Croft caught behind, and followed up by removing Daniel Cherry. Anderson had been expected to line-up for Glamorgan this week, but seven overs was enough for Mike Watkinson, the Lancashire cricket manager, to name him in the squad for the final Championship clash against Hampshire. His workload needs to be confirmed, but after a long and frustrating summer Anderson will just be relishing first-team action.
Losing and winning
Essex and Gloucestershire secured the two Pro40 league honours despite both being beaten in the final round of matches. As soon as Sussex were thrashed by Nottinghamshire, Ronnie Irani knew Essex had bagged the main crown, while Surrey's capitulation to Somerset meant the second division title went back to Bristol despite Kent's win at Canterbury. Surrey couldn't really have had a worse day; if results had gone their way they could have claimed automatic promotion, as it was they even missed out on the play-off. However, Essex's trophy completed a one-day double after they won the snappily titled Twenty20 Floodlit Cup earlier in the week. Irani's team is an impressive limited overs outfit with a blend of experience and youth that will serve them well for the next few seasons.
Matthew Hoggard is ruled out for the season after suffering a minor abdominal strain...Steve Harmison also misses Durham's final matches...Geraint Jones finds some form with 50 against Warwickshire...Graham Onions takes 2 for 40 in Durham's Pro40 win over Essex...Jamie Dalrymple takes 2 for 26 and hits 57 but Middlesex go down to Northamptonshire...with Monty Panesar grabbing two.
Andrew McGlashan is editorial assistant of Cricinfo