Hampshire sped to just their second Championship victory of the season as they wrapped up a 10-wicket win against Yorkshire at The Rose Bowl. Considering both sides began the third day all-square it was a dramatic turn of events as James Tomlinson and Imran Tahir took four wickets each, and even more so given the 45-run opening stand between Andrew Gale and Chris Taylor. Tahir made the first breakthrough by bowling Gale, then removed Anthony McGrath first ball and the middle order was blown away by his leg spin and Tomlinson's left-arm pace. Three key batsmen picked up ducks as Tomlinson found swing and Tahir took his tally from the last three matches to 22 wickets. Michael Carberry and Michael Brown ensured Hampshire eased to their target in under 25 overs with an unbroken stand of 108.
Mark Davies completed career-best match figures of 10 for 45 as Durham finished off Kent for 133 to register a victory by 43 runs in a low-scoring encounter at Chester-le-Street. Davies' tenth wicket was the key one of Martin van Jaarsveld, who'd completed the first half-century of the match before being caught at mid-off by Dale Benkenstein. The final wicket soon followed, Martin Saggers trapped lbw by Callum Thorp to give Durham a 17-point success. Despite the frenetic nature of the match - 15 wickets fell on the first day and 23 on the second - the ECB pitch panel yesterday confirmed they wouldn't be taking any action. Robert Key, the Kent captain, said it was "an absolute disgrace" that no points were deducted and that "the integrity of the rest of the championship is at stake."
If the poor forecast doesn't prove quite so foreboding a fascinating final day is in prospect at Taunton with Somerset needing seven wickets and Nottinghamshire a further 149 runs for victory. Somerset's second innings fell away once the opening stand of 136 between Justin Langer and Marcus Trescothick had been broken with Langer being caught at second slip. Six other batsmen reached the 20s, but the bowlers continued to chip away. Graeme Swann produced a nice spell with his offspin, but some of the shot selection was poor. Bilal Shafayat kept wicket throughout with Chris Read nursing dislocated finger. However, Alfonso Thomas made two breakthroughs before the close - including that of former Somerset batsman Matthew Wood - while Steffan Jones claimed the other.
A season-best 156 from Stephen Moore enabled Worcestershire to set a tough target of 404 against Derbyshire at New Road and they will be crossing their fingers about the weather for the final day. Derbyshire managed to extend their first innings to 343 as Simon Jones ended with another five wicket haul, but Worcestershire still had a lead of 107. That was soon growing with Moore and Daryl Mitchell adding 93 for the first wicket although both openers were dropped by Chris Rogers, as Derbyshire suffered a poor day in the field. Moore went past 1000 Championship runs for the season as he 15 fours and four sixes in his 168-ball innings. Ben Smith contributed 72 before Vikram Solanki declared. Gloucestershire survived 16 testing overs to enter the last day with all 10 wickets intact. Jones was unable to bowl in the final session because of tightness in his hamstring, a blow to Worcestershire's hopes.
Four half-centuries enabled Gloucestershire to build a strong lead of 352 against Leicestershire at Cheltenham in front of a crowd of 3000. After claiming an advantage of 87 they set about increasing it at a sedate pace. Will Porterfield took 199 balls over his 66, however Hamish Marshall applied the momentum with 83. Both fell in quick succession - caught behind of Nadeem Malik, although Porterfield's didn't look to have carried - but the base had been laid for some positive late-day batting from Marcus North and Chris Taylor. Both reached their fifties shortly before the close and Gloucestershire will want most of the final to try and remove Leicestershire for a second time.
Middlesex's spinners played their part with bat and ball to keep a closely-fought match well balanced at Colwyn Bay as Glamorgan ended 130 runs ahead with five wickets remaining. Shaun Udal's 73 was central to Middlesex's recovery from 83 for 5, adding 104 in 37 overs with Ben Scott (52) and clubbing five sixes along the way. Murali Kartik then supplied a valuable 25 to limit the deficit to 20 before he got to work with the ball. Gareth Rees and Richard Grant had opened with 62, however once Kartik made the breakthrough five wickets fell for 38. First-innings century-maker Jamie Dalrymple was caught at slip for a duck.
Northamptonshire continued to hold the advantage at Edgbaston as Warwickshire reached 120 for 3 in reply to 407 from the visitors. Lance Klusener built on the solid work from the top order as he struck 83 off 112 balls and was aided by useful innings from Nicky Boje and Mark Nelson. Boje was able to close the innings with a full hand of batting points and his attack made inroads into the Warwickshire top order. Ian Westwood and Darren Maddy - caught at slip off a ricochet - both fell after adding 70 for the second wicket, leaving the middle order with plenty to do and Boje's spin proving troublesome.