Essex’s lingering hopes of winning the LV= Insurance County Championship Division One title were dealt a huge blow by Ben Sanderson’s bowling for Northamptonshire.
Essex need at least 400 but Sanderson claimed three for 15 with the wickets of Alastair Cook, Nick Browne and Dan Lawrence in a devastating nine-over spell, conceding just 14 runs.
They were 125 for four by close of play, still trailing by 244 runs but their slight hopes are still alive following Surrey’s collapse at the Ageas Bowl.
Liam Dawson claimed his fourth five-wicket haul of the season for Hampshire to make Surrey suffer, but the visitors only need a draw to seal top spot.
Left-arm spinner Dawson moved to 45 wickets for the season and his five for 44 kept Surrey, who needed to post 300 for the title, waiting.
Joe Denly smashed an unbeaten century to help relegation-threatened Kent to 345 for four on day two against Lancashire at Canterbury.
Kent were in pursuit of 327 and Ben Compton anchored their innings but fell five short of a century.
Denly then played a more flamboyant 105 not out, from 149 balls with 11 fours and a six, to record his first red-ball century of the season as Kent closed with two potentially crucial batting points and a lead of 18.
Neil Wagner registered a career-best 72 for Somerset but weather played spoilsport once again in their meeting with Warwickshire at Edgbaston.
There were 35 overs lost on day one and another 36 were wiped out on day two, which ended with Warwickshire on 112 for three in reply to the visitors’ 215.
Ryan Higgins became only Middlesex’s second player to make a County Championship century to give the relegation threatened side a chance of victory against Nottinghamshire.
Higgins held Middlesex’s first innings together with 137 – his first hundred for the county and shared partnerships of 61 with Stevie Eskinazi (58) and 108 with Jayant Yadav (56).
Middlesex claimed three batting bonus points with 366, but Nottinghamshire responded with 92 for two, with Ben Slater on 49 not out.
Worcestershire have secured promotion back to Division One of the LV= Insurance County Championship.
The Pears secured second spot in Division Two, behind champions Durham, after they reached 300 for a second batting bonus point during the early stages of a weather-interrupted second day against Yorkshire at Headingley.
Worcestershire started this fixture needing a maximum of two points to seal top-flight cricket for 2024 and were 280 for five overnight.
Captain Brett D’Oliveira reached a century before he fell lbw to Matt Milnes to leave the score 299 for six and Worcestershire were stuck on 299 for 10 balls before Baker pushed Milnes through the covers for two at 10.55am – 25 minutes into day two – as celebrations erupted on the players’ balcony.
Durham batter David Bedingham passed 1,000 runs for the season before team-mates Ben Raine and Vishwa Fernando did the damage with the ball on day two.
In a rain affected day, Division Two champions Durham looked to secure maximum batting points and declare with rain heavily on the radar and Bedingham passed his landmark and went on to make 156 as Durham declared on 457 for eight in Chester-le-Street.
Bowler Raine dismissed the visitors’ top four in the hour before lunch and Fernando picked up his first two wickets for Durham before rain arrived at 1.45pm with Leicestershire 96 for six.
Derbyshire’s Luis Reece became the first batter to be given out by a female umpire in 123 seasons of county cricket as they totalled 450 on day two over Glamorgan.
Reece had reached his century but Sue Redfern lifted her finger in the 100th over of the Derbyshire first innings when he was caught behind by Chris Cooke off Jamie McIlroy for 139.
Glamorgan have a big total to chase but play was cut short by bad light with Zain ul-Hassan and Eddie Byrom unbeaten at 22 without loss from 11 overs.
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