The game between Essex and Kent at Chelmsford started thrillingly, but was eventually drawn thanks to regular weather interruptions. Only 9.4 overs were available on the first day, but that was enough time for Kent to slump to 17-5 with Charl Willoughby taking four wickets. Only 10 balls were playable on the second day. Darren Stevens and Geraint Jones played lone hands as they scored 119 and 88 respectively. Their partnership was worth 194, but incredibly the other nine batsmen only managed 11 runs between them (with seven Extras) as Kent were bowled out for 225. Mark Davies was at his parsimonious best when Essex batted, sending down 24.4 overs and taking 4-20. Charlie Shreck and debutant Ivan Thomas also picked up five wickets between them as Essex only managed 181. However the run rate during their innings was only 2.18, meaning that there were never going to be enough overs to force a result. Kent batted out time, scoring 92-2 in the remaining overs.
No play was possible in the first two days at Southampton in the game between Hampshire and Derbyshire, resulting in an inevitable draw. Hampshire batted first and there was a century for captain Jimmy Adams and an important 93 for Bilal Shafayat as Hampshire declared on 352-8. Shafayat has never fulfilled the promise he showed when scoring 71 on debut as a 16 year-old, so it is the hope of many around the country that his talent can be expressed at Hampshire. Wes Durston and Dan Redfern scored very entertaining centuries as Derbyshire raced to 403-9, claiming their final batting point, before the game was declared a draw.
|Williamson has scored his third consecutive first-class hundred.|
In one of the few games which finished with a result in this round, Yorkshire secured a brilliant victory by four wickets over Gloucestershire at Bristol. Kane Williamson scored his third consecutive first-class century and he received good support from Chris Dent and Alex Gidman as Gloucestershire piled up 351-9. Tim Bresnan took 5-81 and Steven Patterson got 4-77. The last-wicket partnership produced 52 runs in 3.3 overs as Yorkshire used declaration bowlers in an attempt to get a result. Yorkshire forfeited their first innings and Gloucs set what seemed like an unattainable 400 in 110 overs. It proved not to be enough however, as Phil Jaques and Gary Ballance hit superb centuries and put on 203 to take Yorkshire to a win with just 2.2 overs remaining. Initially, Ballance played the anchor role and Jaques the aggressor, but when Jaques was out Ballance opened up and unveiled a terrific range of shots, finishing the game by hitting Ed Young for 4, 6 and 6.
Another close game occurred at Grace Road between Northamptonshire and Leicestershire. Leics chose to field first but were put on the back foot by Kyle Coetzer who scored 120, his first century for Northants. A quick cameo of 45* from David Willey enabled Northants to declare on 352-7. The next two innings of the match were brief as both teams sought to get a result out of the game and Leics were set 341 in 85 overs. 94 from Ramnaresh Sarwan and 59 from Josh Cobb should have meant that the game would drift towards a draw, but Lee Daggett took a few quick wickets and suddenly Leics were nine wickets down. Wayne White and Matthew Hoggard survived the last 9.2 overs to earn a draw for their team.
Yorkshire and, more suprisingly, Derbyshire are the leaders of Division 2 after this round. Glamorgan, though, remain rooted to the bottom with less than half the number of points of the team above them, Leicestershire.