Justin Langer was Australia's stand-out contributor over the past week of county games in England. He hit 112 and 46 against Surrey at Whitgift to lead Somerset to the top of the table with their second win in five matches. Yet again Langer took a liking to one of Surrey's smaller venues - the last time they played at one he made 342 at Guildford. Matthew Nicholson went wicket-less in the first innings, with 0 for 81 off 20 overs, while his batting efforts (36 and 30 not out) merely staved off the inevitable.
Durham were grateful for Michael Di Venuto's second-innings 60 which helped them complete a seven-wicket win against the champions Sussex at Hove. It was a successful week for Di Venuto, who scored a century in the FP Trophy, and Durham are now fifth, while Sussex are in third.
In the second division, tight bowling from Dirk Nannes helped Middlesex constrict Derbyshire at Lord's. He took 2 for 33 in the first innings and his second-innings victim was Jonathan Clare, who had been holding up Derbyshire with a fifty. Chris Rogers' own half-century was in a losing cause but he continues to prove his worth to the county.
Steve Magoffin helped Worcestershire climb the table with their first win, beating Essex by 75 runs at Worcester. He took a handy 3 for 46, and 1 for 58 next time out, but that wicket was the top scorer Ravi Bopara.
Marcus North's 25 and 34 for bottom-placed Gloucestershire were a minor part of their draw with Warwickshire at Gloucester. Jason Gillespie took 2 for 68 from 24 overs in Leicestershire's only innings as Glamorgan were thumped. Gillespie could have done with some back-up from the batsmen, but his side followed-on.
Adam Voges may not have been in Championship action, as Nottinghamshire did not have a match, but he did make a fifty in the penultimate group game of the FP Trophy, a thrilling one-run win against wooden-spooners Ireland at Trent Bridge. The victory proved vital in the final analysis, Nottinghamshire scraping through to the quarters where they will be hosted by Di Venuto's Durham.
Di Venuto weighed in with a century which proved far too daunting for the visitors Derbyshire. Gloucestershire will play Yorkshire and Kent face Somerset in two of the other quarter-finals, while there is no Australian player in the fourth match between Leicestershire and Essex. Those ties take place on Wednesday ahead of the final Championship round before the Twenty20 tournament.
Michael Di Venuto
England Domestic Season