Marcus North struck his first hundred in 14 months during a productive week that also brought him a pair of half-centuries. However, a final-day wash-out meant his Gloucestershire side was denied its first County Championship win in nearly a year as the match against Leicestershire finished in a draw at Cheltenham.
North has had a solid if not spectacular season and is his team's leading run scorer in the first-class campaign with 784 at an average of 49. After coming off an injury-interrupted home season with Western Australia he teased Gloucestershire with some promising form and reached the nineties three times before finally bringing up triple figures.
He had a life on 52 when he was dropped at mid-off and he was eventually caught in the same position after doubling his score. His 104 helped Gloucestershire reach 315 and they looked on target for a victory when Leicestershire fell for 228. North again contributed with an unbeaten 51 in the second innings but the rain meant Gloucestershire were still languishing on the bottom of the Division Two table without a win in 2008.
At the other end of the county spectrum entirely are Nottinghamshire, who retained top spot in Division One although their chances of victory were also scuppered by the weather. As if to prove to his detractors that he should not be automatically considered a one-Test wonder, Darren Pattinson demolished Somerset at Taunton with 5 for 40 after failing to take any wickets the previous week in his first match back since his England debut.
Justin Langer went first, trapped by Charlie Shreck for 1, before Pattinson started his procession. The home team was in big trouble at 35 for 6 and only a fightback of sorts from the lower order pushed Somerset up to 106. In reply, Nottinghamshire secured a handy lead by registering 230 in an innings where Adam Voges (3) was not a major contributor.
Pattinson didn't quite have the same impact in the second innings, although his 2 for 80 helped stifle some of the momentum that Somerset stole thanks to Langer's 73 at the top of the order. Chasing 212, Nottinghamshire would have fancied their chances at 125 for 4 with Voges at the crease on 2, however rain prevented them from pursuing their target.
Stuart Law's Lancashire are still hovering in the middle of the Division One table after they came off second best in a draw with Sussex at Old Trafford. Lancashire conceded a 110-run first-innings lead before Law tried to wrestle them back into the game with 73 in the second innings. It left Sussex chasing 176, a target that proved irrelevant as the rain intervened on the fourth day.
It has been a positive season for Chris Rogers, who is the leading run scorer among Australians in the counties this year, but his contributions were limited to 20 and an unbeaten 15 as his Derbyshire drew with Worcestershire at New Road. In one of the few results of this round, Michael Di Venuto's Durham slotted into second place in Division One with a 43-run victory over Kent at Chester-le-Street. The game took just over two days and Di Venuto's scores of 27 and 23 were surprisingly important in a match where 146 was the highest innings total.
The latest round of Pro40 action was not an especially successful one for the Australian players, although North carried on from his four-day form to help Gloucestershire to a tense victory over Hampshire at Cheltenham. Chasing 237, Gloucestershire were looking good as North (56) guided the top order but when he departed wickets became an issue. Gloucestershire got home with one ball to spare, handing them their first win of the campaign.
There was also a half-century for North's Western Australia team-mate Voges, who finished unbeaten on 68 from 75 deliveries as Nottinghamshire set Somerset 241 to win at Taunton. Somerset lost Langer in the first over but got home with a ball to spare, inflicting Nottinghamshire's first loss of the season.
England Domestic Season