Surrey spent the first day of the final round of championship matches demonstrating just why they are the champions. They reached 397 for three at the close of the first day against Leicestershire at The Oval, with Scott Newman illustrated all his promise with a maiden first-class hundred and Ian Ward reaching his seventh of the season. They put on 227 for the first wicket when Ward went for 118. Newman was second out for 183 having shared a partnership of 125 with Jon Batty who made 74 himself.
Warwickshire's quest for second place behind Surrey in the table was held up at Hove, initially by Murray Goodwin with 93 and then by Kevin Innes with 60 not out. Dougie Brown took five wickets and Alan Richardson four as Sussex were bowled out for 352. The Warwickshire openers had moved on to 20 by the close.
Kent were five points behind Warwickshire at the start of play, but they enjoyed a good day against Yorkshire, reaching 332 for six by the close. It was a particularly good day for Steve Waugh, who has not been able to make the impression he might have hoped for since joining the county for the last three weeks of the season. However, it all came right for the Australian today as he was still there on 136 and there were fifties from Ed Smith and Min Patel.
Somerset's last match for the time being as a Division One side got off to a bad start as Lancashire bowled them out for 221. There were four wickets for Peter Martin. But then Lancashire ran into trouble, losing six wickets as they reached just 88. Matthew Bulbeck has taken four of those wickets.
In Division Two, Essex needed just one point to secure promotion and they duly achieved that when Nottinghamshire's Darren Bicknell was out for 53. Usman Afzaal was in commanding form on his way to 134, but at 265 for nine, Nottinghamshire were in trouble. However, Chris Read was last man out for 73 having put on 76 for the last wicket with Andrew Harris.
Like Nottinghamshire, Worcestershire still have an interest in the third promotion place in Division Two. They were 12 points behind at the start of play, but did themselves some good by bowling out Derbyshire for 246. Gareth Batty took five wickets and Kabir Ali four, despite the good start for Derbyshire. Both openers, Andrew Gait and Luke Sutton, scored fifties, but once they were out the only resistance came from Jason Kerr who also reached fifty. By the close, Worcestershire were 194 in arrears with nine wickets standing.
Brad Hodge played a captain's innings for Durham, scoring 73 before he became one of five wickets for Roger Sillence. He also became one of six victims for Jack Russell behind the stumps. Craig Spearman held two catches, and he was 80 not out at the close by which time Gloucestershire were trailing Durham by 72, but they still have six wickets in hand.
There was a hundred for Michael Powell and fifties for Matthew Maynard and Robert Croft as Glamorgan made 348 against Northamptonshire in Cardiff. Left-arm pace bowler from Australia, Mathew Inness, returned figures of seven for 90 for Northamptonshire.