Northants go up as Essex crumble
Northamptonshire have been promoted to County Championship Division One after closest challengers Essex failed to claim enough bonus points.
An Essex win against Hampshire at the Ageas Bowl with maximum bonus points, coupled with a Northants loss, would have seen the teams level on points and Essex promoted by virtue of winning more games.
But when Monty Panesar was caught by Jimmy Adams off the bowling of Matt Coles to dismiss the visitors for 207 in their first innings, that became an impossibility and Northants' ascension was secured.
Hampshire looked well on course to claim victory in the match anyway as they made Essex follow on after amassing a 249-run first-innings lead, with Adam Wheater scoring 122 in their total of 456.
Tom Westley top-scored for the visitors with 40 as Coles recorded figures of six for 71.
Northamptonshire's game at Worcestershire was finely poised as the home side built a second-innings lead of 116.
The Pears had been dismissed for 163 on day one but Northamptonshire failed to take full advantage as figures of five for 70 from Alan Richardson saw them post just 202 in reply.
And Worcestershire had made 155 for three by the close, meaning the visitors will be looking for early wickets on day three if they are to celebrate their promotion with a win.
Northamptonshire won three of their first four games in the County Championship and, while their form may have tailed off a little since June, first team coach David Ripley was delighted to get over the line.
"We've played pretty consistent cricket all year round," he told Sky Sports News.
"We've stuttered a little bit at the end, we've wanted to get over the line in a bit of style and we've kind of stuttered over but we're there and it's a great effort and a great feeling.
"We've won games, it gets self-fulfilling - confidence goes up, you win more games."
He added: "We've had a pretty good four-day side. We've missed out recently by the odd point over the last four years or so, so we've kind of thought the nucleus was there in four-day cricket.
"It's just nice to be able to put the ice on the cake."
Derbyshire require a near-miracle to retain their place in Division One after Warwickshire took control of the match at the County Ground.
The home side must win to have any chance of staying up but slumped to 44 for five at the close in response to Warwickshire's 391 for nine declared.
Chris Woakes posted 152 not out for last season's champions before Keith Barker ripped through the home top-order, taking three for 21 from his 11 overs.
Shivnarine Chanderpaul was Derbyshire's best performer, as he has been so often this season, reaching an unbeaten 24.
Nottinghamshire and Somerset are the other two teams with a mathematical chance of relegation but events at Derby have essentially put those fears to rest.
Nottinghamshire posted 406 in their first innings at Trent Bridge after losing their last three wickets once play got under way after lunch.
But an unbroken third-wicket partnership of 172 between Nick Compton (62) and James Hildreth (102) saw Somerset reach 183 for two in reply.
Durham were struggling in their match against Sussex at Hove.
The champions were dismissed for 164 on day one and Sussex established a first-innings lead of the same figure as they posted 328.
Luke Wright top-scored with 87 for the home side before Durham reached two without loss in their second innings, on a day when only 36.2 overs were possible due to bad light.
In Division One's other game, relegated Surrey were responding well to a Gary Ballance-inspired Yorkshire at The Oval.
Ballance celebrated his inclusion in England's Ashes squad with 148 in Yorkshire's first-innings total of 434, but Rory Burns (82) and Dominic Sibley (81 not out) put on 171 for the first wicket in response.
Steven Patterson accounted for Burns, and just a single further run was added before the close.
Meanwhile, Essex had moved onto 44 without loss at the close at Southampton. In Division Two, Lancashire built a lead of 99 against Kent as they looked to finish their season with a win.
The champions added 15 to their overnight total before being bowled out for 284.
Rob Key then top-scored for Kent as they posted 260 in reply but Paul Horton and Luis Reece gave Lancs the edge as they guided their side to 75 without loss.
The match at Cardiff was on a knife edge as Glamorgan edged towards Gloucestershire's first-innings total.
The home side added 49 for the final two wickets and looked on course for a healthy lead as they reduced Glamorgan to 171 for seven in response to 275.
But the Welsh outfit produced a rearguard action of their own as Jim Allenby (85) led the resistance with Dean Cosker (19) and Michael Hogan (16) also putting on an unbeaten 27 for the last wicket.
Glamorgan closed on 271 for nine, a deficit of just four.