Yorkshire facing the drop
Yorkshire’s stay in Division One of the LV= County Championship looks to be coming to an end after they failed to force victory over title-chasing Warwickshire at Edgbaston.
The White Rose declared 348 ahead on 385 for eight this morning, but then suffered frustration as Warwickshire reached 216 for three before bad light brought proceedings to an abrupt end.
Captain Jim Troughton contributed 62 not out for the hosts and shared an unbroken stand of 125 with Shivnarine Chanderpaul, who followed up his first-innings 110 - and 193 in the reverse fixture last week - with an unbeaten 56.
Yorkshire are now 14 points adrift of third-bottom Worcestershire and 17 behind Sussex, having played a game more than all of their rivals. Even a home win against Somerset in their final match at Headingley Carnegie next week appears unlikely to save them.
Warwickshire would have moved to the top of the table had they triumphed today, yet they remain well-positioned in second, three points ahead of Lancashire. Both teams have two matches still to play, while new leaders Durham, who are seven points clear, are not in action next week.
Ian Blackwell was chiefly responsible for lifting 2008 and 2009 champions Durham back to the summit as they completed a 208-run victory over Sussex at the PROBIZ County Ground.
Although England Test wicketkeeper Matt Prior hit 77 and received useful support from captain Michael Yardy, Ben Brown and Wayne Parnell, the hosts were dismissed for 312 early on the final afternoon and remain in trouble near the foot of the table.
Blackwell took three wickets today to finish with figures of 5-102, while Graham Onions chipped in with 3-49.
Bottom club Hampshire kept their hopes of survival alive with a crushing innings-and-61-run success against Somerset at Taunton, effectively ending their opponents’ title challenge in the process.
Somerset were already doomed when they began the final day 157 behind on 266 for seven and, although Alfonso Thomas reached 94, they were dismissed for 362 prior to lunch.
Imran Tahir claimed two of the wickets to fall today, while Dimitri Mascarenhas accounted for Murali Kartik to finish with 3-70 for Hampshire.
Unlike Yorkshire, Hampshire have two games remaining and will harbour realistic hopes of catching Worcestershire and Sussex having won three of their last four matches.
In Division Two, India left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha claimed remarkable figures of 6-8 from 16.3 overs as Surrey defeated Northamptonshire by 333 runs to boost their promotion challenge and dent the hopes of their opponents, who remain three points behind leaders Middlesex at the summit having played a game more.
Ojha, who claimed his first two wickets yesterday evening, ripped through the lower order as Northants crumbled to 152 all out in 55.3 overs at Wantage Road.
Surrey, who also have a game in hand on Northants, are 26 points adrift of Middlesex in third.
Nightwatchman David Payne compiled the first fifty of his career to lead Gloucestershire to a five-wicket victory over Glamorgan at Bristol.
Payne, who arrived at the crease yesterday evening following the departure of Chris Dent, contributed 62 and shared a stand of 94 with Chris Taylor as the hosts reached their target of 186 with relative ease.