Durham close in on top spot
Durham appear certain to take over at the top of the LV= County Championship after strengthening their hold over current leaders Lancashire on day three.
Durham established a healthy first-innings lead of 273 today after resuming 34 behind on 279 for three.
Ben Stokes and Dale Benkenstein extended their fourth-wicket partnership, worth 185 overnight, to 331 - a county record for any wicket - before the latter was caught behind off Luke Procter for 137.
Stokes, who was forced from the field late in the day with a dislocated finger, eventually fell to Steven Croft, having thumped 20 fours and two sixes in his 185, while skipper Phil Mustard added a rapid 61 to heap further misery on Lancashire.
The Red Rose reached stumps on 69 for three - trailing by 204 - and will retain only faint hopes of rescuing a draw heading into the final day.
However, that would not be enough to prevent Durham from moving to the summit after the 2008 and 2009 champions - three points behind their opponents prior to this match - accumulated eight bonus points to Lancashire’s four.
Yorkshire face a battle to avoid defeat at the hands of Sussex after they were forced to follow on at the PROBIZ County Ground.
Responding to Sussex’s imposing 548 for four declared, Yorkshire slumped to 198 for eight despite a battling 70 from highly-rated young opener Joe Root.
A ninth-wicket stand of 75 between Ajmal Shahzad and Steven Patterson, who registered his maiden first-class half-century, briefly lifted the visitors, but they fell in successive overs to end the innings.
Wayne Parnell was the pick of the Sussex attack with 3-60 on his debut.
Yorkshire were reduced to 29 for two in their second innings, with Parnell claiming the wicket of Joe Sayers for a duck and Root falling to Chris Nash in the final over of the day.
Ball dominated bat at New Road, with 13 wickets falling on a topsy-turvy day between Worcestershire and Nottinghamshire.
The hosts looked to have moved into a position of dominance when they drew level with Nottinghamshire’s first-innings score of 223 for the loss of three wickets, thanks largely to 84 from Moeen Ali.
However, the remaining seven wickets fell for just 20 runs, with Charlie Shreck claiming 5-52.
Notts were unable to take advantage and Alan Richardson picked up three wickets to leave the visitors reeling on 40 for four.
An unbeaten 52 from Samit Patel helped the defending champions recover to 104 for five by the close, with all results still possible despite the loss of the second day’s play to rain.
Division Two leaders Northamptonshire were also unable to take to the field yesterday, but they made up for lost time in staggering fashion by dismissing Glamorgan for 72 at Wantage Road.
Veteran Sri Lankan seamer Chaminda Vaas collected 5-22 and skipper Andrew Hall chipped in with 3-8 as the Welsh county were bundled out in 29 overs.
Glamorgan’s batsmen fared somewhat better at the second time of asking, but ended the day 270 behind on 119 for three, with the rampant Vaas claiming a further two wickets.
Northants had earlier declared their first innings on 461 for six, with Rob White taking his score to 140 and wicketkeeper David Murphy adding 79.
Leicestershire were also made to follow on against Kent, who will fancy their chances of climbing off the foot of Division Two at their opponents’ expense with victory at Tunbridge Wells.
The visitors added just 31 to their overnight score of 220 for six, with Matt Coles and James Tredwell each finishing with five-wicket hauls.
James Taylor and Wayne White hit 96 and 71 in their side’s second innings, while Claude Henderson and Jigar Naik shared an unbroken eighth-wicket alliance worth 62.
However, Leicestershire remained in peril at the close on 308 for seven, a lead of just 100.
Robbie Joseph was the man to remove both Taylor and White en route to figures of 4-57.
The in-form David Masters struck twice in the final session to give Essex the upper hand against Gloucestershire at Bristol.
Masters, who claimed 5-48 in the first innings, removed openers Ian Cockbain and Richard Coughtrie as the hosts lurched to 37 for two.
Essex had been dismissed for 321 - a lead of 66 - earlier in the day, with Adam Wheater’s 69 the most significant contribution.
A late flurry of wickets ensured a positive result could still occur between Derbyshire and Surrey, in another game that fell victim to the weather yesterday.
Rory Hamilton-Brown’s side raced to 333 for four in reply to Derbyshire's 400, with the skipper one of four batsmen to pass 50 along with Zander de Bruyn, Steven Davies and Tom Maynard.
However, Surrey then stumbled to 358 all out and Derbyshire closed on 35 for four, with Tim Linley and Matt Dunn each picking up two wickets.