Both Essex and Northamptonshire's seasons came down to the last over at Wantage Road and although Northants made a mess of scoring the three runs they needed, they did enough to get tie, a result which sends Essex, the defending champions, down in bottom place while Northants will have to wait another week to see if they can beat the drop by defeating Middlesex in the play-off.
Northants will be left bitterly disappointed that they didn't secure a win that seemed theirs for much of the day as that would have lifted them clear of even the play-offs. Chasing 205, David Sales' 79 gave them the platform but then they choked and although Sales had to get a single from the last two balls, he failed, smacking the last ball to James Middlebrook at mid-off.
Essex, who had to win, batted poorly after getting off to a good start thanks to a second-wicket stand of 78 between Middlebrook and Alastair Cook. From 78 for 1 they slid to 168 for 8, although an eight-wicket partnership of 29 between Cook and Alex Tudor enabled them to post more than 200.
Nottinghamshire stole second place thanks to a nine-run win against Sussex at Hove. Sussex won the toss and stuck the visitors in, a move that did not produce rewards as Mark Wagh (77) and Samit Patel (72) added 123 for the fourth wicket in a total of 283 for 7. Sussex kept up with the asking rate thanks to Carl Hopkinson's unbeaten 123, his first century for Sussex, but they could only score ten of the 20 required off the last over bowled by Andre Adams. Sussex, who have a crucial Championship match starting on Wednesday, were without nine first-team players through injury and England call-ups, while Chris Adams injured a finger in the field and was unable to bat.
Hampshire, who started the day in second, slid to a 32-run defeat to Lancashire at Old Trafford, a result which means they finished fourth behind Nottinghamshire and Lancashire. On a rain-affected day, the home side made 199 for 4, with Mark Chilton (77*) and Steven Croft (46*) putting on an unbeaten 104. Hampshire started confidently, Michael Lumb and Chris Benham talking them to 85-0 in the 11th over, before Sajid Mahmood took three wickets in successive overs to trigger a collapse that left them on 127 for 7 when the rain started.
Warwickshire, bottom heading into this match, upset the form book to defeat champions Worcestershire at Edgbaston. Warwickshire went into this game knowing they were already relegated - as they have been from the Championship - but nevertheless pulled a decent consolation win out of the bag. Neil Carter and Tim de Groenewald took three each to bowl out Worcestershire for 175. A team effort then took the home side home by seven wickets and with a whopping 75 balls to spare.