Somerset’s hopes of a first Specsavers County Championship title appear remote after a wet outfield prevented any play on day three of their match against rivals Essex.
They head into the final day needing to take 20 wickets to prevent the visitors claiming their second title in three years.
Essex came into the match 12 points clear of Somerset and will win the title if the match ends in a draw.
Ollie Pope completed his second century since returning from injury in a rain-shortened day at the Oval against Nottinghamshire.
The England batsman (106) and Scott Borthwick (137) led the hosts to a declaration at 402 for six, with the visitors losing just Steven Mullaney in making 77 before stumps.
Graeme Van Buuren and Ben Charlesworth’s 151-run seventh-wicket stand against Northamptonshire pushed Gloucestershire closer to promotion from Division Two.
Teenage all-rounder Charlesworth equalled his career best with an unbeaten 77 while Van Buuren’s top score of the season (93) helped his side reach the close on 220 for seven.
Northamptonshire are all but promoted and third-placed Gloucestershire will be sure to join them if they can bank three further bonus points and claim a draw.
Lancashire were bowled out for 170 – something of a recovery from 77 for six – in 47.3 overs after rain delayed the start of day three against Leicestershire, for whom Dieter Klein and Ben Mike both took three wickets apiece.
Leicestershire reached 40 without loss at the close, a lead of just 25.
Middlesex’s Dawid Malan and Derbyshire’s Billy Godleman both passed 1,000 runs for the summer as their game at Lord’s drifted towards a draw.
Malan (72) hung around just long enough in the morning to creep into four figures as the hosts lost their last five wickets for just 47 runs, with Fynn Hudson-Prentice finishing off the tail with three dismissals in as many overs.
Godleman then sneaked past Malan to 1,008 runs after making 27 as Derbyshire closed their first innings on 199 for four, still 61 behind.
There was no play at the Division One matches between Kent and Hampshire, and in Division Two, in the games between Yorkshire and Warwickshire, Durham and Glamorgan and Sussex at home to Worcestershire