Four County Championship games finished with positive results in the lower divisions as Leicestershire finally wrapped up victory over Sussex to match the day’s other winners Gloucestershire, Kent and Middlesex.
Sussex collapsed from 117-3 to 128 inside 12 overs as paceman Ben Mike and spinner Callum Parkinson ploughed through Sussex’s inexperienced young Martlets to record an unlikely win in Division Three.
Captain Parkinson took the final wicket, the last of his four scalps, while Mike also took four as the Foxes handed Sussex a third successive defeat.
But, while there were four victories to relish, as Gloucestershire hammered Glamorgan in Division Two and Division Three top-two Kent and Middlesex both won, there were also two successful rearguard actions.
Hashim Amla helped Surrey bat out a draw with Essex to end the reigning County Champions’ winning run, while Northants last pair Simon Kerrigan and Jack White saw out the final 5.5 overs to deny Durham victory.
After resuming on 107-7 in reply to the Essex first innings 439, Amla went on to make 84 and was ninth out in the Surrey first innings 161.
The South Africa star then ground out 34 off 72 balls in his side’s second-innings 113-2 to ensure that hands were shaken early on the draw.
Surrey fast bowler James Taylor lasted 40 overs with Amla in the first innings, in an eighth-wicket stand of 44.
“It was a bit of a dream for me to bat for that long with Hashim,” he told BBC Radio London.
“I really enjoy my batting and I’ve worked very hard at it over the past year.
“It was nice to get the opportunity today to show what I can do and not to let the team down when they needed me – to stick with Hashim for as long as I could. He gives you so much confidence with his advice and his presence.”
Essex head coach Anthony McGrath added: “We were in a very strong position at the end of the second day, with around 200 overs left in the match.
“But then the good old English weather interrupted the game. We were left knowing we had a tough task today to take 13 wickets and credit to Surrey for battling hard.”
Durham just fell short in their bid for an innings victory, denied by stubborn Northants resistance led by James Sales, Kerrigan and Ben Sanderson.
Sales and Kerrigan put on 68 for the eighth wicket to help their side close out the game on 231-9.
Gloucestershire took a mere 78 minutes to polish off Glamorgan on the final day for a 10-wicket victory at Sophia Gardens.
The One-Day Cup winners resumed on 57-6, still 43 runs behind the visitors and intent on not falling to a third successive innings defeat.
But Pakistan spinner Zafar Gohar Khan took three of the four wickets to end with 6-43 to supplement Ryan Higgins’ 50th Championship wicket of the summer.
Middlesex made it four consecutive wins in a County Championship season for the first time since 1995 as they finished off Worcestershire at Lord’s to triumph by 101 runs.
Ethan Bamber’s four wickets led the charge as he passed 50 first-class wickets for the season.
Despite a battling 42 not out from Gareth Roderick, who matched his Pears best score from the first innings, Worcestershire fell well short in their quest to make 221 to win, being bowled out for 119.
Charlie Morris earlier took a season’s best 6-52 as Middlesex were bowled out for 247.
After going winless in 10 games in the first section of the season, Kent completed a hat-trick of Championship victories as they beat Derbyshire by 130 runs.
After Kent declared on 211-2 to set Derbyshire an unlikely 341 for victory, the home side were bowled out for 210.
Nathan Gilchrist took 4-30 after Grant Stewart claimed the first two wickets to prompt a Derbyshire collapse.
Only an eighth wicket stand of 70 between Anuj Dal – who finished 58 not out – and Ben Aitchison got Derbyshire anywhere near the target as they suffered a seventh defeat of the summer.
Leicestershire pulled off an extraordinary win by an innings and five runs, in a game that had looked destined to end in a tame draw at Grace Road.
After Hassan Azad (152) and Lewis Hill (145) had turned their hundreds into career-best scores, there was also a maiden half-century for Louis Kimber as the Foxes declared on 492-4.
With leading wicket-taker Chris Wright absent through injury, bowling Sussex out in the 48 overs that remained looked a long shot, even with Fynn Hudson-Prentice unable to bat after breaking a hand in the first innings.
But a Sussex side containing five teenagers lost their last six wickets for 11 runs to be defeated with 16 balls left.
Final day scoreboards
Cardiff: Glamorgan 309 (Byrom 78, Lloyd 73, Rutherford 62) and 124 (Zafar Gohar Khan 6-43), Gloucestershire 419 (Dent 75, T Price 71, Van Buuren 65, Charlesworth 44, Worth 40; Hogan 3-49) and 15-0. Gloucestershire won by 10 wickets.
Wantage Road: Northants 183 (Procter 76; Potts 4-42, Rushworth 3-50) & 231-9 (Sales 53, Procter 44; Sales 4-68), Durham 400 (Potts 81, Trevaskis 77*, Borthwick 73; Sanderson 4-41). Match Drawn.
The Oval: Essex 439 (A Cook 165, Lawrence 78) Surrey 161 (Amla 84; Porter 3-27, Harmer 3-49) & 113-2. Match Drawn.
Derby: Kent 285 (Leaning 82*, Bell-Drummond 69, Crawley 53; Aitchison 4-83) & 211-2 dec (Cox 81, Crawley 68, Bell-Drummond 51*), Derbyshire 156 (Stewart 5-23) and 210 (Dal 58*, Gilchrist 4-30). Kent won by 130 runs.
Leicester: Sussex 359 (Brown 133*, Haines 71; Wright 6-94) & 128 (Parkinson 4-18, Mike 4-34), Leicestershire 492-4 dec (Azad 152, Hill 145, Swindells 69*, Kimber 59*). Leicestershire won by an innings and five runs.
Lord’s: Middlesex 144 (Holden 52; Barnard 4-43) & 247 (Simpson 59, Holden 46, Hollman 46, Andersson 45; Morris 6-52), Worcestershire 171 (Baker 61*, Roderick 42; Murtagh 5-64) and 119 (Roderick 42*, Bamber 4-28, Andersson 3-22). Middlesex won by 101 runs.