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Durham on verge of great escape

A round-up from the third day of the final round of County Championship matches

Cricinfo staff

Division One

Mark Chilton speaks to the media after rain washed out the third day at The Rose Bowl © Getty Images
Durham are on the verge of an unlikely survival in the first division after racking up a full hand of batting bonus points against Yorkshire at Headingley. Staring down the barrel overnight at 203 for 6, Dale Benkenstein and Ottis Gibson both struck centuries in an unbroken seventh-wicket stand of 220. Benkenstein has been the rock of Durham's batting this season and his third century of the summer will go down as his most important, while Gibson displayed his rarely seen batting prowess. Durham's cause was aided when rain arrived before tea and prevented any play in the final session. With Nottinghamshire claiming just a single point in their defeat against Sussex, both teams know that a draw here will see them both stay in the top flight.
Lancashire endured a miserable day at The Rose Bowl as they saw the Championship claimed by Sussex and rain allowed just five overs against Hampshire. Iain Sutcliffe was bowled by James Bruce but this match is quickly becoming academic. However Mark Chilton, Lancashire's captain, was quick to praise Sussex's triumph: "Sussex have won more matches than us and are worthy champions so congratulations to them. There was no point in blaming the weather because we did all we could to win the Championship."
Ed Joyce fell one run short of a century as Middlesex stumbled towards the follow-on against Kent at Canterbury. After rain delayed the start until mid afternoon, Paul Weekes fell for 35 in his final first-class match. Joyce and David Nash added 107 for the sixth wicket but Joe Denly nipped in to break the partnership. Rob Ferley then struck to remove Chris Peploe before James Tredwell shifted Joyce for 99.
For a full report of how Sussex scooped the Championship title inside three days by thrashing Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge click here.

Division Two

The batsmen continued to dominate at Cardiff as Glamorgan finally found some run-scoring form in the closing stages of the season against Gloucestershire. Daniel Cherry completed his first century of the summer and added 144 for the second wicket with Ben Wright before Wright became a rare wicket for Hamish Marshall. When Cherry was dismissed by Vikram Banerjee, David Hemp, Glamorgan's new captain, took control with a handsome century, his third of the season and passed 1,000 Champinship runs. The lower order contributed a series of useful partnerships, especially Ryan Watkins, who helped Hemp add 98 for the sixth wicket. Glamorgan eased into a 72-run lead with the help of a mammoth 78 extras, which included 42 runs from no-balls.
In the 70 minutes play that was possible at Grace Road, Essex were frustrated in their attempts to bowl Leicestershire out inside the follow-on target as John Sadler and James Allenby continued their unbeaten fifth-wicket stand. Allenby, who is making his Championship debut, was again impressive as he withstood all that Essex could throw at him. Sadler ended the truncated day 11 short of his first Championship ton of the season.
However, with Worcestershire's game against Northamptonshire being rained out at Northampton, with no play possible, Essex are on the verge of clinching promotion. Worcestershire somehow need to engineer a win on the final day and hope for an extraordinary chain of events at Grace Road.
The season is drawing to a tame conclusion at Derby after rain restricted play to 34.5 overs between Derbyshire and Surrey. However there was enough time for Wayne White to continue his promising Championship debut as he added the wickets of Neil Saker and Nayan Doshi to his two scalps from the previous day. Saker and Tim Murtagh had added 70 for the seventh wicket to reduce Surrey's deficit to 90.