George Balderson claimed a hat-trick to wreck Essex’s hopes of victory in an incredible LV= Insurance County Championship clash at Chelmsford as Lancashire won by 38 runs inside two days.
Balderson finished with five for 14 from seven overs, supported by Will Williams’ four for 24, as Essex lost their last nine wickets for 31 runs in pursuit of 98 to win.
Only two Essex batters reached double figures against the telling and incisive bowling of the Lancashire duo, who helped their side to 19 points, while the hosts were left with a paltry three.
Surrey took a step closer to winning their second title in five years after forcing Yorkshire to follow-on at the Oval.
The hosts’ relentless seam attack bowled Yorkshire out for 179, and when 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 set Hampshire 378 to win.
Stand-in captain Leaning struck 112 as Kent totted up 269. It meant Hampshire, who had seen Mohammad Abbas claim four for 68, required the fifth-highest chase in their history to keep themselves in the title race, with Surrey highly likely to pick up a win and six bonus points.
Tom Price spearheaded a dramatic late Gloucestershire fightback against fellow strugglers Warwickshire.
Dismissed for 274 earlier in the day, Warwickshire bowled out the hosts for 255 to establish a slender first-innings lead of 19 – thanks largely to a superb return of five for 90 from Indian off-spinner Jayant Yadav.
But Price produced a blistering spell with the new ball to remove Dom Sibley, Sam Hain, Will Rhodes and Yadav, while David Payne accounted for Rob Yates as the Bears slumped to 58 for five at the close, a lead of just 77.
Craig Overton marked his return to Championship cricket with four wickets as Somerset took control of their match against Northamptonshire at Taunton.
Overton ended the day with four for 25 from 13 overs as the hosts reduced their opponents to 184 for six in reply to 389.
Division Two leaders Nottinghamshire were forced to follow-on, and are facing defeat, after losing 16 wickets on the second day of their match with Worcestershire at New Road.
Dillon Pennington and Ed Barnard took the honours with four wickets apiece as Nottinghamshire were bowled out for 128 in just 34.2 overs.
It was a similar pattern when Nottinghamshire followed-on as Ben Gibbon and on-loan Matthew Waite reduced them to 66 for five. Only a fighting half-century from Haseeb Hameed denied Worcestershire the prospect of a two-day win.
Glamorgan captain David Lloyd got the highest-ever first-class score by a Welshman of 313 not out to put his side in control against Derbyshire.
They declared on a massive 550 for five, as Derbyshire were reduced to 135 for five at the close, still 415 behind.
Bottom side Leicestershire recovered from 66 for five to close in on promotion-chasing Middlesex’s first-innings total.
Harry Swindells and Tom Scriven, with 67 and 65 respectively, led winless Leicestershire’s fightback as they reached stumps on 273 for nine – just 24 runs behind.
Michael Jones (96), Scott Borthwick (82), Nic Maddinson (90) and Chris Benjamin (82) helped Durham gain full batting points with a total of 459 for seven declared against Sussex at Chester-le-Street.
Sussex ended the day in deep trouble on six for three, still 291 runs short of making Durham bat again.
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