George Balderson scored a hat-trick to dash Essex’s hopes of victory in an incredible LV=Insurance County Championship clash at Chelmsford as Lancashire won by 38 runs over two days.
Balderson finished with five for 14 from seven overs, backed by Will Williams four for 24, as Essex lost their last nine wickets for 31 chasing 98 to win.
Only two batters from Essex hit double figures against the Lancashire duo’s telltale and incisive bowling, which helped their side to 19 runs, while the hosts were left with a paltry three.
Surrey moved one step closer to winning their second title in five years after forcing Yorkshire to follow at the Oval.
The hosts’ relentless seam attack saw off Yorkshire for 179, and when the bad light stopped play the visiting side were 89 for two, 65 behind, with Adam Lyth unbeaten on 36.
Jack Leaning celebrated his second century of the season to boost Kent’s hopes of avoiding relegation as they ran Hampshire 378.
Alternate captain Leaning hit 112 as Kent tallied 269. It meant Hampshire, who had seen Mohammad Abbas claim four for 68, needed the fifth-highest chase in their history to stay in the title hunt , with Surrey very likely to pick a win and six bonus points.
Tom Price led a dramatic fightback at the end of Gloucestershire against other Warwickshire fighters.
Dismissed for 274 earlier in the day, Warwickshire took out the hosts for 255 to establish a slim 19 first-set lead – thanks in large part to a superb five-for-90 comeback from Indian non-spinner Jayant Yadav.
But Price produced a blistering spell with the new ball to take out Dom Sibley, Sam Hain, Will Rhodes and Yadav, while David Payne represented Rob Yates as the Bears fell to 58 for five in the end, a lead of just 77 .
Craig Overton scored his return to Championship cricket with four wickets as Somerset took control of their game against Northamptonshire at Taunton.
Overton finished the day with four for 25 from 13 overs as the hosts cut their opponents to 184 for six in response to 389.
Division Two leaders Nottinghamshire were forced to follow and are facing defeat, having dropped 16 wickets on the second day of their match with Worcestershire at New Road.
Dillon Pennington and Ed Barnard took the honors with four wickets apiece as Nottinghamshire were knocked out for 128 in just 34.2 overs.
It was a similar pattern when Nottinghamshire called as Ben Gibbon and loanee Matthew Waite cut them to 66-for-five. Only half a century of fighting since Haseeb Hameed has robbed Worcestershire of the prospect of a two-day victory.
Glamorgan captain David Lloyd took the all-time highest first-class score from a Welshman of 313 steps to put his side in control against Derbyshire.
They declared on a whopping 550 for five, as Derbyshire were down to 135 for five at the end, still 415 behind.
Leicestershire bottom side recovered 66-for-five to close in on promotion-seeking Middlesex’s first leg total.
Harry Swindells and Tom Scriven, with 67 and 65 respectively, led Leicestershire’s winless fightback as they hit the stumps on 273 for nine – just 24 points adrift.
Michael Jones (96), Scott Borthwick (82), Nic Maddinson (90) and Chris Benjamin (82) helped Durham earn all the runs at bat with a total of 459 for seven declared against Sussex at Chester-le-Street.
Sussex ended the day in deep trouble with six against three, still 291 points short for Durham to beat again.