Lancashire pass Surrey on way up
Lancashire will replace Surrey in Division One next season after the two sides suffered contrasting fortunes on a day of ups and downs in the LV=County Championship.
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Surrey became the first side this season to be relegated following a six-wicket defeat at Warwickshire while Lancs returned to the top flight at the first time of asking with a draw at Gloucestershire.
Despite world-class batsmen Graeme Smith, Ricky Ponting and Hashim Amla playing for them at certain points this year, the London side have won just once in 15 four-day matches in a season of underachievement.
They were no match for last year's champions, with Ateeq Javid and Chris Woakes putting on an unbeaten 155 to take Warwickshire to their modest victory target of 281 with 25.2 overs to spare.
Having scored a maiden championship century against Somerset last month, Javid played a match-winning innings for the first time, making 119 not out in five and a half hours to strengthen Warwickshire's hopes of top four prize-money.
Lancashire were surprisingly relegated last season after claiming the title in 2011 but bounced back in some fashion, claiming the Division Two crown with a game to spare.
England and Wales Cricket Board chairman David Collier was on hand to present the trophy to captain Glen Chapple at the end of a rain-affected game.
Gloucestershire had begun the final day on 90 for three in their first innings, replying to 310 for eight declared, and were bowled out for 209, Tom Smith taking four for 49 and Oliver Newby four for 71.
Lancashire were 195 for two in their second innings when the players shook hands at 4.20pm. Luis Reece fell three short of a maiden Championship century, while Paul Horton marked his 31st birthday by scoring 55.
Yorkshire sealed second place in Division One as they claimed an 80-run win over Middlesex at Headingley.
The Tykes came into this week's games still with a chance of claiming the title but Durham's win against Nottinghamshire meant the trophy headed to Chester-le-Street and Yorkshire had to make do with runners-up honours in their 150th anniversary year.
Only Australia opener Chris Rogers offered any real resistance as Middlesex chased a 277 target in a minimum of 75 overs but once he had departed for 65 a home win appeared inevitable and the visitors were all out for 196 in 49.5 overs.
Essex's hopes of winning promotion virtually came to an end when they could only draw their Division Two match with Glamorgan at Chelmsford.
They go into their final match against Hampshire next week 20 points adrift of Northamptonshire, who now need just five points from their battle against Worcestershire to ensure that they will join Lancashire in the top flight.
Despite Owais Shah's first century of the season and a belligerent 89 from only 67 balls by Ravi Bopara, which helped Essex to a lunch time declaration of 424 for six, the Welsh county had no difficulty denying the home side the victory they were desperately seeking.
Going in a second time and trailing by 102, they had reached 181 for two when the teams shook hands at the start of the final hour.
Northants' rain-affected match against Kent at Northampton ended in a inevitable draw as the captains shook hands with the home side reaching 431 for five, and gaining maximum batting points, in response to Kent's 418.
David Sales moved past 14,000 first class runs as he made a superb 110 from 192 balls, while all-rounder James Middlebrook also hit a century.
Leicestershire crashed to a 180-run defeat against Hampshire at Grace Road as the curtain came down on their miserable campaign - and Matthew Hoggard's illustrious career.
Set to chase 365 for victory, Leicestershire were bowled out for 184 which means they have gone through a season without winning a Championship match for the first time in their history.