Hamilton-Brown gives it both barrels

Lv County Championship

Rory Hamilton-Brown

Rory Hamilton-Brown was unbeaten on 171 as Sussex built a 45-run first-innings lead over relegation rivals Yorkshire

Sussex’s match against relegation rivals Yorkshire was finely balanced at the end of day three at Hove - despite a career-best 171 not out from Rory Hamilton-Brown.

Hamilton-Brown’s heroics briefly put Sussex in charge in the LV= County Championship Division One tussle.

Resuming on 233 for four in reply to the visitors’ 403, 22-year-old Hamilton-Brown took his score on from 32 to guide second-bottom Sussex to 448 all out and maximum batting points against their third-bottom opponents.

However, Yorkshire hit back before the close and reached 147 for two, giving them a lead of 102 going into the final day.

Jacques Rudolph made a breezy 70 not out, while Joe Sayers and Adam Lyth each scored 31.

The White Rose county’s final game of the season is against Hampshire, themselves still with a chance of slipping out of the top flight.

However, Hampshire clinched an important draw against champions Durham today.

Nic Pothas scored 78 and Sean Ervine added 67 as Hampshire were all out for 384 on the final afternoon.

Durham were eight without loss, a lead of 63 runs, when bad light stopped play.

Somerset left themselves in danger of defeat at Taunton against already-relegated Worcestershire, who are seeking their first championship win of the season.

The hosts had to follow on and Justin Langer, in his final first-class innings for Somerset, made 63 after captain Marcus Trescothick fell first ball.

Arul Suppiah made 83, but he and Langer were dismissed in the space of three overs after tea, and Somerset reached the close on day three on 203 for four.

That meant they were still 88 behind Worcestershire - who amassed 571 in their first innings thanks to Daryl Mitchell’s 298.

Rob Key

Kent captain Rob Key was presented with the Division Two trophy after his side's draw with Leicestershire today

In Division Two, Essex successfully chased down a victory target of 242 in their promotion battle against Northamptonshire at Chelmsford, to move into second place by three points.

Northants were all out for 195 in their second innings, despite a career-best unbeaten 55 from number nine David Lucas.

At tea on the final day, Essex were 60 without loss, and despite wickets falling regularly thereafter the home side maintained a high run rate, with England batsman Alastair Cook cracking 87 from 116 balls.

Tom Westley hit the winning run to hoist Essex into second place heading into the final round of matches. Johan van der Wath took five wickets in vain.

On day three of a match between two more promotion hopefuls, Gloucestershire set about rescuing a difficult situation against Glamorgan on day three in Cardiff.

After being bowled out for 286 to concede a first-innings deficit of 124, they reduced Glamorgan to 169 for eight in their second innings, with three wickets apiece for Jon Lewis and Steve Kirby, and two for Richard Dawson.

Derbyshire’s promotion hopes were dealt a shattering blow as Middlesex dug in for a draw at Uxbridge.

Requiring an unlikely 330 to win, the hosts were 259 for nine at the end of play, with Tim Murtagh having taken 88 balls over his 18 not out.

Greg Smith took 5-65 but Derbyshire could not completely knock over the tail. Adam London had weighed in with a handy 65 for Middlesex who at one point were ailing on 149 for seven.

Chris Rogers (112 not out) and Smith (42no) had earlier added quick runs to allow Derbyshire to declare their second innings on 281 for two.

Kent clinched the Division Two title yesterday, but they were held to a draw by Leicestershire at Canterbury.

Paul Nixon, opening the batting, registered a career-best 173 not out as Leicestershire reached 350 for two in their second innings after following on.

They had gained a lead of 45 and the captains chose to shake hands on a draw at 4.20pm.