Story of the day came from Northampton, where Northants nearly pulled off a heist against Yorkshire. The visitors racked up a mountainous 341 which David Sales and Chris Rogers threatened to overhaul - but their side fell two runs short. Sales made a blistering assault of 161 from 114 balls - with five fours and a six - but when he fell in the penultimate over the game was up. While he was batting with Rogers, Northants had every chance - they put on a fourth-wicket stand of 215. The visitors were initially delighted with their pair of centurions, Craig White (112) and Darren Lehmann (118*). And their delight turned to relief as they realised just how vital those runs were in the face of Northants' game reply.
Roses rivals Lancashire also proved their batting firepower at Old Trafford. Mal Loye and Brad Hodge each struck a century to take them to an unassailable 307 and sink Durham by 125 runs. Not even the efforts of Steve Harmison, who took two wickets, could dent Lancashire's charge. Daunted by the colossal total, the visitors collapsed to 81 for 5 and were eventually mopped up for 182. The experienced Glen Chapple led the rout with 3 for 26 and there were three wickets, too, for Simon Marshall.
Worcestershire blew Leicestershire away at Grace Road. Leicestershire's top five could only muster single figures, and it was left to Paul Nixon to lead the climb towards their target of 192. He made 67, with the next highest score 12, from David Masters. Gareth Batty impressed for Worcester, with 3 for 27. The result may not have gone Alamgir Sheriyar's way, but he at least marked his return to Leicestershire against another of his former counties with a controlled display of 3 for 35.
Warwickshire came agonisingly close to victory at Edgbaston, but fell two runs short against Derbyshire, with Steffan Jones' five-for proving the difference. Neil Carter and Jim Troughton took four wickets apiece to restrict Derbyshire to 206, while Moeen Ali chipped in a handy 1 for 9 from four overs on his limited-overs debut for the county. But Warwickshire found themselves in moderate trouble at 62 for 3 and, despite Ian Bell's 78, they wound up short as Derbyshire's bowlers held their nerve.
An unbeaten century by Dominic Thorneley wasn't enough to save Hampshire as they fell to a four-wicket defeat against Kent off the last ball. Hampshire had stumbled early at 26 for 2 thanks to the efforts of Andrew Hall and Simon Cook who went on to take five wickets between them, but Thorneley lifted them to 257 for 8. Rob Key's 76 set up Kent's charge and Matthew Walker helped them over the line.
Rana Naved-ul-Hasan was in the wickets again for Sussex, taking 5 for 30 to help his side to the honours against Glamorgan at Sophia Gardens. After grabbing seven wickets in the Championship victory this week, Naved-ul-Hasan's medium-fast deliveries again came in handy in Wales as the visitors galloped to a 97-run win. Sussex recovered from an early stumble at 43 for 3 to post 257 and. Murray Goodwin started the recovery with 44, before Mike Yardy and Carl Hopkinson both posted fifties to cement a decent total - and one which proved more than enough as Glamorgan subsided 97 runs short.
James Middlebrook took 4 for 27 and Ravi Bopara weighed in with a rapid unbeaten ton to spear Essex to a thumping eight-wicket success at Taunton. Somerset wilted in the face of some sustained, hostile bowling - with Tony Palladino grabbing 2 for 49 from eight overs - and eventually subsided for 188 inside 40 overs. It didn't take Essex long to notch up their second win of the term - 32.3 overs in fact - with Bopara leading the charge. He made 101 not out from 97 balls, including 12 fours and three sixes.
A stop-start affair between Ireland and Surrey eventually ended in a washout at Stormont. Surrey had reached 100 for 2 from 15 overs, with James Benning in full flow on 61 not out, when rain wrecked play for the day.