Somerset a step from heaven

Lv County Championship

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James Hildreth

James Hildreth provides the foundation for a big total at the Emirates Durham ICG as Somerset improved their title chances

Somerset have the destiny of the LV= County Championship Division One title in their own hands after taking a hefty first-innings lead against Durham at the Emirates Durham ICG.

Having dismissed the hosts for 286, Somerset pushed on from their overnight 226 for four to reach 426 on the back of James Hildreth's 105 and a rapid 69 from Peter Trego.

But Durham held them up as their top order dug in to reach the close at 171 for two, Michael Di Venuto making 84 not out.

Should they secure victory tomorrow, all other results will be irrelevant and Marcus Trescothick's side will win their first championship title.

With rain continuing to frustrate Nottinghamshire in their clash with Lancashire, which saw no play today due to the weather, Yorkshire seem Somerset’s likeliest challengers.

They conceded a first-innings lead of 41 to Kent as Alex Blake's maiden first-class century proved a source of frustration.

The 21-year-old had never even made a half-century in four-day cricket before today, when he resumed on 40 and pushed on to 105 not out to see his side to 302, despite Moin Ashraf taking a superb 5-32 in only his second championship appearance.

Yorkshire were 51 for one, 10 ahead, by the close as they sought to set a victory target, with Adam Lyth 26 not out.

At present, Somerset hold a six-point advantage over Notts, who are just two points ahead of Yorkshire.

Kent's survival fight is the other sub-plot to the match, but Warwickshire are bidding to make their result irrelevant by beating Hampshire after they took a first-innings lead of 85 as well as three batting points.

Old Trafford

A dark storm cloud looms over Old Trafford and, it seems, Notts' hopes of securing a first championship title since 2005

Ian Bell's 104 helped Warwickshire make 303 all out before play was ended for the day by bad light.

In the Division Two promotion race, Worcestershire battled to keep alive their bid to overhaul Glamorgan for the final spot in a gripping contest with Sussex at New Road.

Responding to 237 and needing a win, skipper Daryl Mitchell called his side's last pair Ben Cox and Alan Richardson in as soon as they reached 201 for nine and the first batting point.

Promoted Sussex then reached 102 for two, Ben Brown racing to 37 not out.

Glamorgan - in the box seat to follow Sussex into the top flight - were struggling against Derbyshire after being bowled out for 166, with Jim Allenby's 57 the most worthwhile resistance.

They at least picked up two bowling points, though, and have plenty of time to claim the third as Derbyshire reached 234 for eight in reply.

One more wicket in Cardiff would end Leicestershire's slim outside hopes as they took more than 110 overs to reach 400 runs against Northamptonshire, thereby missing out on maximum batting points.

They moved into a strong position to win the game at Wantage Road, though, by making 448 for nine declared to take a first-innings lead of 198.

Northamptonshire were 10 for one at the close, Nathan Buck removing Stephen Peters.

Gloucestershire declared 80 behind at 106 for five in a bid to give their dead rubber against Surrey an exciting finish.

The visitors reached 55 for two by the close, 135 ahead overall.