Another hundred from Marcus Trescothick, along with 94 from Craig Kieswetter, wasn't enough for Somerset who fell four runs short of avoiding the follow-on on the third day against Hampshire at The Rose Bowl, with Imran Tahir picking up 7 for 140. A win for Hampshire would ease their relegation fears, and they began well when Dominic Cork removed the patient Alfonso Thomas early in the day, followed by Zander de Bruyn in his following over. But Somerset fought back gallantly with Trescothick and Kieswetter putting on 147 for the sixth wicket at a tremendous rate. Trescothick motored to his hundred, cracking 14 fours and two sixes before falling to Tahir, who also picked up Kieswetter six short of a hundred, as Somerset were rolled for 393, a tantalising four runs short. Following on, Trescothick and Arul Suppiah took their side to 50 without loss, still trailing by 105 runs with one day left.
Click here for John Ward's report from Scarborough where Yorkshire and Warwickshire drew, keeping alive both teams' relegation fears.
Boeta Dippenaar helped Leicestershire overcome fourth-day hiccups and nerves by cracking an unbeaten 115 to guide his side safely to a draw against Essex at Chelmsford. Danish Kaneria, who finished with eight wickets yesterday, was again to the fore with another four today and starred in the first two to fall this morning. Leicestershire resumed the last day on a precarious 42 for 2, and this quickly became 89 for 4 when Jigar Naik was caught by Kaneria before the man himself bowled Joshua Cobb for 1. And Dippenaar should have been held by Alastair Cook when on 39, but James Taylor and his captain combined impressively in a fifth-wicket stand of 129 to dent Essex's hopes. Still only 19-years-old, Taylor showed maturity beyond his years in his 62, while also passing 1000 Championship runs for the season. Taylor became Kaneria's 11th wicket of the match, but Dippenaar remained firm in his 283-ball innings as the match petered to a draw.
Northamptonshire batted out the final day against Glamorgan, with Riki Wessels top-scoring on 92 as the match drifted to a draw at Wantage Road. Resuming on their overnight 19 for 1 and still trailing Glamorgan, Northamptonshire made a solid start through Stephen Peters (86) and Alex Wakely, the pair putting on 105 for the second wicket. Robert Croft struck four times, including the wicket of Wakely for 29, but Wessels stood firm during his composed 92 spread over just under three hours. Seemingly set for his first ton of the season, however, he was cleaned up by Jamie Dalrymple. Northamptonshire declared on 312 for 8 an hour before the close, gaining an overall lead of 279, as both captains shook hands.
Middlesex put themselves into a strong position on the third day at Lord's, setting Gloucestershire a tall target of 406 to win before reducing them to 55 for 3 by the close. The home side were seeking quick runs in their second innings, and got them through Nick Compton (83) and Murali Kartik (57) who was promoted up the order, the pair putting on 128 in 35.6 overs. Steve Kirby took a brace of wickets to halt their momentum, but useful middle-order contributions allowed Middlesex to declare on 273 for 7, putting them in the foreign position of actually being on top. Their day got even better, too, when Tim Murtagh had Rob Woodman leg-before to the fourth ball of Gloucestershire's chase, and two deliveries later he had Hamish Marshall caught behind for a duck. Steve Finn knocked over Alex Gidman in the eighth over to leave the home side in genuine contention for only their second Championship win of a truly horrific season. The weather is set fair, too.
Geraint Jones struck his fourth Championship hundred of the season as Kent replied in confident fashion to Surrey's dominant first innings score of 423, on the second day Canterbury. Mark Ramprakash was the first man to fall for 46, to Simon Cook, who struck him a nasty blow to his thumb which was later confirmed as broken, ending his season, though it remains to be seen whether he will bat in Surrey's second innings. Matthew Spriegel played nicely for his 49 before he was trapped in front by Amjad Khan, and there were useful contributions from Tim Linley (35*) and Pedro Collins (23 from 37) as Surrey were bowled out for 423. Jade Dernbach struck an early blow to york Rob Key for just 13, and Jones should have been held by Michael Brown at leg gully the very next ball. Spriegel accounted for Sam Northeast two short of a fifty, but Jones made Surrey pay in his unbeaten 102, putting on 82 with Martin van Jaarsveld, who fell late in the day to Chris Schofield. Kent trail by 181.