Hampshire continued to put pressure on leaders LV = Insurance County Championship Surrey with an impressive seven-wicket win away to Yorkshire.
The visitors had to chase 214 on the final day at Scarborough after restarting play at 9 without a loss, with rookies Felix Organ and Ian Holland breaking the back of a difficult goal by scoring 135 runs for the first wicket.
Both would lose centuries, with Organ eliminated at 72 and Holland sacked one series short before captain James Vince finished 43 off to earn a second Hampshire runner-up and eighth First Division win this season.
Surrey earned a third successive triumph to stay at the top thanks to Kemar Roach’s sensational spell that caused the collapse of Warwickshire.
Roach’s surge with six overs from four of 20 saw the Kia Oval attendees go from 270 to four and 310 in all, leaving a target of 248.
Hashim Amla led the charge with an undefeated 80 in the 100, partnering with Ollie Pope, who hit 52 after Rory Burns started the chase with a perfect 61 start to help Surrey win with six wickets in hand and 21.2 overs remaining.
Third-placed Lancashire also kept the heat going ahead of red ball cricket, which was on hiatus the following month due to the Hundred Cup and Royal London.
Tom Bailey posted a career-best 11 of 110 to help the hosts at Emirates Old Trafford pass Kent with 127 to secure a perfect 184-run win.
Rob Jones, undefeated 65, helped Lancashire claim 436 of 9 to lead to an unattainable 312 chase, and Bailey’s second of five for the match ensured the title was retained in a three-horse race.
Essex’s disappointing draw against Somerset at Chelmsford appeared to have all but ended their faint hopes of another County Championship.
Concussion stand-in Tom Banton and James Rew scored contrasting maiden red balls for the outside side to help them post 605 for six.
This left a lead of 100 and a difficult period for Essex to hit the bat, but they shrugged off a fifth ball removal for first innings double centurion Nick Brown to reach 30 on one before handshakes secured both teams 12 points.
Much more excitement was at Cheltenham where Ryan Rickelton scored an exhilarating 68 out of 47 and Northamptonshire successfully knocked down a 202 goal with two wickets to spare.
The defeat left a nasty aftertaste for Gloucestershire captain Graeme Van Buren, who knocked out 127 and claimed 363 to nine to create a positive chance.
Zafar Gohar tried in vain to lead the hosts to a win with five for 62, but Rickelton broke three highs and got an effective backing from Will Young (43) before Northamptonshire suffered a mini-collapse at death and succeeded with 20 spare balls.
Nottinghamshire, who set the pace in the Second Division, solidified their stranglehold in the league with a decisive victory over Sussex in 256 runs with over a day left.
After losing by 301 to lead the away team to a 399 win at Trent Bridge, Dane Paterson and James Pattinson took three wickets as the leaders dismissed the opposition with 142.
Title rivals Middlesex could only tie at Durham, but home favorite Chris Rushworth was able to celebrate his 600th first-class wicket.
Rushworth’s important scalp helped the visiting team to a 455 run, but the home team soon cleared a 34-point deficit before reaching 142 for three when the expected tie was finally confirmed.
Anuj Dal hit three wickets for seven balls en route to a best five-for-40 record to help beat Worcestershire by 190 in the 289 chase to secure a 98-run Derbyshire win at New Road.