All to play for still in quest for top flight
The three-way LV= County Championship promotion race is still wide open after day one of the last round of 2012 games.
Division Two leaders Derbyshire were initially held up by James Vince’s first championship hundred of the season, but gained the three bonus points they needed to ensure victory over Hampshire at the County Ground will send them up.
Once the hosts won the toss, Tony Palladino left Hampshire 26 for three but Vince shared 136 for the fifth wicket with Sean Ervine, who contributed 61. Vince went on to 114 in a total of 272, which the hosts replied to uncertainly with 50 for three.
Yorkshire - who trailed Derbyshire by a point - prevented Hampshire going up with their first bonus point and they gained a second in reaching 284 for eight by stumps.
The White Rose won the toss against Essex and Adam Lyth’s smooth 67 helped them recover from the loss of Joe Root for nought to Graham Napier, who also snared Lyth and Phil Jaques for 38.
Yorkshire stumbled to 166 for six but Azeem Rafiq’s unbeaten 49 lifted them out of trouble.
Jim Allenby’s unbeaten century frustrated third-place Kent, who began the day six points behind Derbyshire, as Glamorgan posted 334 for eight at the SWALEC Stadium.
The bottom-placed side were put in, but Will Bragg and Stewart Walters struck fifties before Allenby took control with 100 not out.
The visitors at least collected two bonus points thanks in part to three wicket for James Tredwell.
Opener Greg Smith remained at the crease as Leicestershire looked to end the season on a high at Grace Road.
Gloucestershire - who are directly above their opponents in the table - were all out for 234, with Hamish Marshall and Ian Cockbain piecing together a 96-run stand for the fifth wicket.
Will Gidman trapped Michael Thornely, who failed to score, and Matthew Boyce in front, but Smith stemmed the tide somewhat with an unbeaten 47 as the hosts finished on 94 for three, still 140 runs behind.
In Division One, Abdur Rehman’s nine wickets ensured Somerset made a strong start at Taunton in their bid to leapfrog Middlesex into second place.
Worcestershire - who have already been consigned to relegation - were taken apart by spinner Rehman in being dismissed for 212 before captain Marcus Trescothick and Arul Suppiah, on 66 and 73 respectively, guided the hosts to 142 without loss.
Somerset began the day eight points behind Middlesex and just one clear of third-placed Sussex, who were indebted to Steve Magoffin’s three dismissals at the Emirates Durham ICG.
Durham enjoyed a fruitful first morning, reducing Sussex to 67 for five before Kirk Wernars and Ben Brown put on 106 for the sixth wicket to help their side reach 211 all out.
The hosts ended the day on 199 for five after Magoffin had sent back Michael Richardson, Ben Stokes and Dale Benkenstein within the first 15 overs.
Champions Warwickshire showed little sign of easing off the gas in their final contest with Nottinghamshire.
Jim Troughton’s side, who will aim for a domestic double when they face Hampshire in the Clydesdale Bank 40 final at Lord’s this Saturday, put Notts in and showed it was a good toss to win as the hosts lasted less than 50 overs before being skittled out for 155.
Chris Wright took 4-28 while Keith Barker and England’s Chris Woakes also chipped in with a couple of wickets apiece.
However, Nottinghamshire fought back in the afternoon as Andy Carter claimed 3-35 with the champions 16 runs behind and six wickets down at stumps.
There was no play on the opening day at Aigburth, where Lancashire are hosting Surrey, the side who secured Division One survival at the Red Rose’s expense last week.