Sussex turn screw; Tykes delight
Four quick wickets in the closing overs of the third day put Sussex in a strong position to beat Somerset and virtually secure runners-up spot in Division One, after Warwickshire were crowned champions.
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Openers Marcus Trescothick and Arul Suppiah had given Somerset's own hopes of finishing second behind Warwickshire a boost with a stand of 147 after the visitors had been set 396 to win.
But Trescothick (71) was bowled off an inside edge and eight balls later Suppiah (70) was held at the second attempt by Matt Prior to give Steve Magoffin the first of three quick wickets.
Somerset reached 155 for four at stumps, still needing another 241 runs to win.
Half-centuries by Karl Brown and Gareth Cross helped relegation-threatened Lancashire to a big total on the third day of their crucial encounter against Middlesex at Lord's.
The visitors established a two-run first-innings lead on 448 all out thanks in part to the sixth-wicket duo, who added 77 runs in just 13 overs to reignite Lancashire hopes after being reduced to 270 for five with the dismissal of Ashwell Prince (71).
At stumps, Middlesex had reached 129 for two in their second innings, a lead of 127 heading into the final day.
Zander de Bruyn and Gary Wilson overcame a turning pitch to help Surrey set Nottinghamshire a victory target of 347 on the final day of their clash at the Oval.
With seven of the 10 wickets to fall on day three being shared by the spin duo of Graeme White (four for 97) and Sam Wood (three for 64), the stage would now appear to be set for Murali Kartik and Gareth Batty to spin the hosts to victory.
In Division Two, Yorkshire's final home game brought a first Championship win at Headingley this season to strengthen their position in second place.
An emphatic eight-wicket win over Glamorgan was the Tykes' fourth of the season and was secured with a full day and 17.5 overs to spare.
They now travel to Chelmsford for their final game of the season against Essex next week looking to wrap up promotion ahead of the club's 150th anniversary in 2013.
Sam Northeast smashed a season-best 165 as Kent took charge against leaders Derbyshire at Canterbury.
Brendan Nash added 62 Mike Powell 56 not out as Kent declared on 342 for eight.
Set 404 to win, Derbyshire were 30 for at stumps, skipper Wayne Madsen dismissed without scoring.
England spin bowler James Tredwell was at the centre of a dispute between the sides after Kent opted to jettison rookie spinner Adam Riley and draft in their nominated replacement player Tredwell - just hours after his appearance in the final NatWest Series one-day international at Trent Bridge.
Derbyshire's head coach Karl Krikken described the manoeuvre as 'moving the goalposts' and said: "They [the ECB] told us Tredwell could come in if he didn't play in that England game and we have an email to that effect.
"The rules were set at the start of the game, but it's like saying 'it doesn't matter, let's tear that up and he can play anyway'. It's wrong, it's totally and utterly wrong."
Liam Norwell claimed five wickets as Gloucestershire moved off the bottom of the table with a 207-run victory against Northamptonshire at Bristol.
The 20-year-old seamer followed up his three for 23 in the first innings with five for 51 in a Northamptonshire second-innings total of 224 that featured half-centuries from David Sales and Andrew Hall.
Hampshire face an uphill battle to stave off defeat against Essex on the final day.
Set a daunting 427 to win, Hampshire were struggling at 73 for three at stumps, requiring a further 354 runs to win.