Hants fare best in relegation battle
Despite stuttering at times, Hampshire seized the chance to put daylight between themselves and their fellow strugglers in LV= County Championship Division One in their match with doomed Worcestershire at New Road.
Hampshire’s ambitions for the remainder of the summer revolve around avoiding relegation and put in at New Road, they were 357 for eight at the close, having claimed four batting bonus points.
Opener Jimmy Adams (91) played an anchor role and shared a fifth-wicket stand of 161 with wicketkeeper Nic Pothas (93).
Sussex had only one point more than Hampshire at the start of play, but by the close their prospects were encouraging after an eventful day versus Warwickshire at Hove.
Ed Joyce’s 107 contained 12 fours from 225 balls and was the cornerstone of an otherwise fragile 254 all out from the hosts, with seamer Naqaash Tahir and left-arm spinner Ant Botha sharing seven of the wickets.
In seven overs of batting, Warwickshire then stumbled to 15 for two.
Durham openers Michael Di Venuto and Kyle Coetzer gave the champions-elect the perfect start as they closed on a second successive championship pennant.
Di Venuto (219no) and Coetzer (107) shared a stand of 314 - on the way to 377 for one at stumps at Chester-le-Street - after Will Smith had concluded the important business of winning the toss against Nottinghamshire.
Durham need a maximum of only 11 points from this fixture to seal the title with two matches to spare, their visitors the only team with even the remotest chance of disputing the silverware and needing a big victory to have any say.
Instead, Di Venuto hit 31 fours from 273 balls - and with Coetzer bagging 20 boundaries from 248 deliveries, more than ever it appears only a matter of time before Durham get their just reward for a season they have dominated.
Lancashire put a spanner in Somerset's hopes of sealing second spot behind Durham.
Paul Horton was 155 not out at stumps out of Lancashire's 297 for five at Taunton. Kyle Hogg was unbeaten on 69 in a stand of 144.
Division Two leaders Kent raced to 390 for four against bottom club Middlesex at Uxbridge - an outground where run rates are often healthy.
There were half-centuries from Sam Northeast (84), in a century opening stand with his captain Rob Key, and then Martin van Jaarsveld (86) as Kent made the most of favourable conditions - with promotion already more or less guaranteed.
But it was Darren Stevens who tucked in best, hitting 24 fours in his unbeaten 129 from 153 balls and sharing a stand of 193 with van Jaarsveld.
Surrey are enduring a nightmare season, but they won the toss against second-placed Northamptonshire at the Brit Oval and were 305 for five at stumps.
They were largely indebted to an ultra-patient 110 not out from opener Jon Batty, who underpinned the home innings with 15 fours and a six from 296 balls.