Yorkshire and Derbyshire on course
Yorkshire and Derbyshire looked set for LV= County Championship promotion with third-placed Kent in deep trouble against Glamorgan at the SWALEC Stadium.
Kent, the only team who can break into the top two but now just with victory due to Yorkshire's progress, were forced to follow on once veteran spinner Robert Croft had returned 5-31 in his last match before retiring.
Croft trapped opener Sam Northeast in front to begin a collapse from 137 for two to 170 all out. Graham Wagg then struck twice to leave the visitors 33 for two at stumps - 187 behind.
Jim Allenby had begun the day with 100 of an overnight 334 for eight and extended his partnership with John Glover to 128 until Matt Coles snared the latter for 55 for a third bowling point. Coles then claimed a fourth wicket to leave Allenby unbeaten on 125.
Yorkshire fared the best of the promotion-chasing sides on day two of the last round of games, moving top of Division Two with a strong showing versus Essex at Chelmsford.
The White Rose, who sat a point behind Derbyshire first thing yesterday morning, today sealed a third batting bonus point in making 312 all out and then maximum bowing points by dismissing the hosts for 177 inside 59 overs.
Azeem Rafiq added four to his overnight 49 before becoming the fourth of Graham Napier's five victims. Rafiq then took three wickets and Moeen Ashraf four as Ryan ten Doescahte, with 62, offered the only meaningful resistance for Essex.
There was still time for Napier to shine again with the ball; he claimed three more wickets as Yorkshire closed on 44 for three - boasting a lead of 179.
Derbyshire were restricted by rain that washed out the afternoon and evening sessions in their home match against Hampshire.
The hosts, who yesterday gained three bonus points in dismissing Hampshire for 272, were initially boosted by an 88-run alliance between nightwatchman Tony Palladino and Usman Khawaja.
Palladino raced to 58 from 63 balls and Khawaja also reached a half-century before Sean Ervine ended the alliance by deceiving the former into chipping to mid-on. Ervine cheaply had Dan Redfern caught at slip, but Khawaja advanced to take lunch with 71 of what became a closing 164 for five, with Derbyshire 105 behind.
The Division Two contest with no bearing on promotion was also hampered by rain, with Leicestershire moving from 94 for three to 220 for five in reply to Gloucestershire's 234 at Grace Road.
Opener Greg Smith added 30 to yesterday's 47 and Shiv Thakor made 68 not out as fewer than 39 overs were possible.
Centuries from Marcus Trescothick and Nick Compton put Somerset on course to claim second place in Division One.
Eight points behind Middlesex, who have completed their programme, at the start of the final round of fixtures and one ahead of Sussex, the Taunton outfit progressed to 451 for seven and a lead of 239 over relegated Worcestershire.
Trescothick struck 146 at the top of the order, having shared 153 with Arul Suppiah, while Compton - the leading run-scorer in first-class cricket this summer - ended the second day unbeaten on 114.
Sussex were indebted to Luke Wells’ unbeaten 51 as they attempted to set Durham a competitive target at the Emirates Durham ICG.
Monty Panesar finished with 3-45 to Steve Magoffin’s 3-47 as Durham, 131 for six overnight, were dismissed for 227.
Trailing by 16 on first innings, Sussex started poorly with the bat before Wells shared an unbroken partnership of 43 with Ben Brown to take the visitors through to stumps on 112 for five.
Rain intervened at Trent Bridge, with Nottinghamshire having wiped out their first-innings deficit against champions Warwickshire without losing a wicket.
Warwickshire added 65 to their overnight 139 for six this morning, before openers Sam Kelsall and Neil Edwards carried Notts to 49 without loss in their second dig.
The inclement weather once again prevented any play in the match between Lancashire and Surrey at Aigburth.