Kent maintained their Division One status in the LV= Insurance County Championship after a dramatic final day of the season which saw Middlesex relegated instead.
Kent had to settle for a draw from their game with Lancashire at Canterbury and then faced an agonising 80-minute wait for news from Trent Bridge, where a Middlesex win over Nottinghamshire would have consigned Jack Leaning’s side to Division Two.
There had looked to be only one outcome as Nottinghamshire, having been set a target of 207 in a generous 58 overs by Middlesex skipper Toby Roland-Jones, progressed to 64 without loss and then 106 for one.
But on a dry, turning pitch on a sunny afternoon, spinners Jayant Yadav, Josh De Caires and Sam Robson – who finished with a career-best four for 46 with his leg spin – reduced the home side to 157 for seven and suddenly a great escape looked on.
However, Matt Montgomery (34 not out) held the tail together to drag Nottinghamshire across the line at eight down, with 16 balls to spare, and left Kent celebrating survival despite being frustrated by dogged Lancashire resistance.
Third-placed Hampshire became just the second team to beat Surrey across their back-to-back title-winning campaigns.
Only Lancashire had beaten Surrey in 2022 and 2023 in red-ball cricket, winning once in either campaign.
But Liam Dawson took his season tally to 49 wickets by claiming two of the four scalps needed to secure victory at the Ageas Bowl, with Surrey only scoring 20 of the 73 required to lose by 52 runs before 11am.
Despite the defeat, Surrey were presented with the Division One trophy by England and Wales Cricket Board chair Richard Thompson.
Warwickshire and Somerset’s rain-hit clash ended in an expected draw.
The Division One contest was officially abandoned just after lunch on the final day when, with the sun shining, the umpires ruled that areas of the field remained unsafe.
Somerset had been 90 for two in the second innings, a lead of 32. The result saw Warwickshire end the campaign in fourth with Somerset seventh.
In Division Two, Shan Masood’s brilliant 123 helped Yorkshire chase down a final-day target of 360 to beat promoted Worcestershire at Headingley and avoid finishing bottom for only the second time in their history.
Yorkshire’s fourth-highest successful run chase was achieved with relative comfort in the end, with six wickets in hand and three overs of the allotted 70 remaining.
With the game meandering ahead of day four, both sides opted to contrive a finish, with Yorkshire risking the draw which would lift them off the bottom of Division Two.
As it was, they were able to achieve that by going for broke as captain Masood hit 15 fours in 131 balls.
Sussex took just 45 minutes to complete a 339-run victory that condemned Gloucestershire to a winless season and bottom spot.
The hosts took only 9.5 overs to achieve a third victory of the campaign after Gloucestershire resumed on 113 for five, needing another 400 runs.
Durham sealed an emphatic victory over Leicestershire by an innings and 141 runs to end their title-winning campaign on a high.
The home side required 10 wickets to secure their seventh victory of the campaign at Seat Unique Riverside and took only 42.5 overs to tear through the Leicestershire batting line-up.
The Durham bowlers shared the wickets around as Vishwa Fernando and Matt Parkinson claimed three apiece, while Matthew Potts, Ben Raine and Jonathan Bushnell also struck.
The hosts took 24 points from the contest, ending the term with a mammoth total of 233.
Leus Du Plooy’s last game for Derbyshire ended in a draw despite another Luis Reece century as their side came up four wickets short after setting Glamorgan a target of 384 to win on the final day in 70 overs.
Derbyshire had eight fielders around the bat in the chase for wickets but eventually called time one over short at 5.37pm as the game petered out into a draw with Glamorgan on 135 for six. Derbyshire finished sixth in the table and Glamorgan fifth.
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