Durham and Essex claim wins
Durham moved top of County Championship Division One with a thumping win over Sussex on Thursday, while Essex claimed victory in Division Two.
Durham, who went into the contest at Chester-le-Street in second place and 5.5 points behind leaders Yorkshire, brought their second innings to an end in the morning session following the removal of Phil Mustard (73) and Usman Arshad (34) by declaring on 268 for eight, setting their opponents a massive victory target of 402.
And third-placed Sussex fell well short, only posting a tally four runs better than their paltry first-innings effort of 112 as Graham Onions, Mitchell Claydon and Arshad notched three wickets apiece, taking their hauls for the match to seven, six and six respectively.
Durham are now 14.5 points clear of Yorkshire with the pair each having three games to go.
Later in the afternoon, Middlesex completed a 146-run win over second-bottom Surrey at the Kia Oval, where Ollie Rayner continued to be in inspired form.
Rayner had taken eight wickets to help restrict Surrey to 145 in their first innings.
And in their second, where they were chasing 385 to win after Middlesex declared on 235 for nine, he chipped in with a further seven as the visitors - with Hashim Amla top-scoring on 84 - were dismissed for 238. Rayner finished with match figures of 15 for 118, and took the catches for three of the remaining five wickets.
In the relegation battle at Taunton, basement boys Derbyshire closed day three on 127 for four and needing 117 for victory against third-bottom Somerset, who had staged a remarkable fightback.
The hosts, trailing after the first innings by 195, got to 438 in their second innings, with Nick Compton contributing 95.
Derbyshire started well in working towards their goal of 244 and Ben Slater made 59, but he then became one of two late victims of Piyush Chawla.
Nottinghamshire will chase 211 for victory on the final day of their encounter with champions Warwickshire at Trent Bridge.
A battling 65 from Darren Maddy helped Warwickshire reach 271 all out in their second innings, while Laurie Evans also contributed 63.
In Division Two, promotion hopefuls Essex finished off their match against Worcestershire at Chelmsford, emerging with an eight-wicket victory on day three.
After bowling out the visitors, who managed only 102 in their first innings, a second time for 299, third-placed Essex needed only 51 and cruised to 53 for the loss of only two wickets.
Paceman Reece Topley proved Worcestershire's chief destroyer as he ended up with five for 56 and match figures of 11 for 85.
The was also a conclusion on day three to the contest between Gloucestershire and rock-bottom Leicestershire at Bristol, with the away side suffering a crushing defeat by an innings and 138 runs.
Leicestershire always had a task on their hands to avoid an innings loss, with their woeful first-innings 117 having been replied to with 516 for nine declared by Gloucestershire, and they were unable to do so, being skittled second time around for 261.
All-rounder Will Gidman was unquestionably the hosts' star man, scoring 143 with the bat and ending with bowling figures of 10 for 43.
Sam Northeast and Brendan Nash helped guide Kent to a seven-wicket victory over Glamorgan at Cardiff after the home side could only add 21 runs to their overnight second-innings 237 for seven.
Northeast scored 88 and Nash 70 not out as Kent chased down the 242 runs they needed for the loss of three wickets.
At the Ageas Bowl, Hampshire captain Jimmy Adams did what second-placed Northamptonshire's Rob Keogh had done over the previous two days, grafting for a double century that seems certain to consign the match to a high-scoring draw.
Adams ended day three on 218 not out, with the hosts on 515 for nine in reply to their opponents' first-innings 438, in which Keogh had scored 221.