Yorkshire completed a comprehensive innings-and-27-run victory against Hampshire at Headingley as the visitors were bowled out for 212 in their second innings. Only Michael Brown offered any real resistance before he fell to Ajmal Shahzad for 81. Five bowlers took two wickets each, including Matthew Hoggard who finished with eight scalps in the match to push his claims for an England recall.
Lancashire and Somerset played out a quiet draw at Old Trafford after the third day's play was abandoned. Lancashire declared on their overnight 221 for 9, but there was never any serious chance of a final-day contest. Justin Langer made 76 and Ian Blackwell (58) struck his second half-century of the match. Glen Chapple collected four wickets while Brad Hodge, in his final action before heading to the IPL, grabbed two late wickets as the match drifted to a finish.
Martin van Jaarsveld guided Kent to a draw against Sussex at Hove after being left a target of 337. He and James Tredwell added 93 for the second wicket to nullify the threat from Mushtaq Ahmed, who only collected a further two wickets to add to his first-innings five-wicket haul. van Jaarsveld's unbeaten 82 came off 148 balls as he bounced back from his golden duck on the second day. Sussex's last three wickets had fallen for eight runs in the morning session as Azhar Mahmood finished with 5 for 30, but in the end the time lost to rain proved crucial.
Steve Harmison picked up two wickets in Surrey's second innings after Durham set them a target of 270 in 53 overs at Chester-le-Street. Bad light cut into the final session although Mark Ramprakash and Mark Butcher were guiding Surrey to a draw. Dale Benkenstein (63) and Phil Mustard (53) added 114 as bat dominated for a rare extended period. Saqlain Mushtaq hastened Benkenstein's declaration by claiming 6 for 50.
A captain's innings from Darren Maddy, who made 130, and some valuable contributions from the lower order carried Warwickshire to a thrilling two-wicket win against Northamptonshire at Wantage Road. Set a stiff 383 off a minimum 82 overs, Maddy built a solid platform alongside Ian Bell (62) who stroked 11 boundaries in his 74-ball innings. For the second time in the match Bell fell to Nicky Boje, but Maddy - whose century came off 141 balls - added a further 103 with Jonathan Trott. Monty Panesar then claimed his first two wickets of the match to remove both Maddy and Trott and bring Northamptonshire back into the contest. Warwickshire kept going for the target and wickets kept falling to set up the tight finish where Ian Salisbury's nine-ball 20 lifted his new county over the winning line. It completed a significant turnaround by Warwickshire, who were struggling to avoid the follow-on during the second day until Salisbury bailed them out with an unbeaten half-century. Despite just two wickets in the match, Salisbury has already made his mark.
Mark Pettini is a young captain who is still learning the ropes, but he will be regretting the decision to leave Derbyshire an attractive target of 265 from 66 overs at Derby as the home side eased home by four wickets to hand Essex their first defeat of the season. The first sight of declaration bowling, as Essex gave up 234 runs in 31 overs, set up the final afternoon. Steve Stubbings set the innings rolling with 57 off 81 balls before a mini stumble as three wickets fell for 30. Rikki Clarke played positively for his 37, but when Chris Rogers fell for 77 the match still needed closing out. Jamie Pipe (37 off 24 balls) and Graham Wagg (25 off 18) mixed calm heads with the necessary big shots to seal a surprising result.
Ed Joyce spent valuable time in the middle as he made 86 while Middlesex batted out the final day for a tame draw against Glamorgan at Lord's in a match also effected by the weather. So early in the season it was unlikely the captains would make a game of it, so there was a sedate feel to proceedings throughout. Andrew Strauss was caught down the leg side for 49 one ball after being dropped. Joyce batted nicely until he was given out off former team-mate Jamie Dalrymple and he was clearly unhappy as he made his way slowly off the ground. David Nash (63 not out) picked off some easy runs against the spinners during the final session.
The game at New Road between Worcestershire and Leicestershire also ended in stalemate. Worcestershire left a notional target of 282 in 37 overs and the game was called off after 18 overs of the chase. However, the most important aspect was that this was a return of cricket to Worcester after last year's floods. In that sense it was apt that rain played a significant part in the game.