Essex underline their title credentials with 254-run win over Nottinghamshire

Essex underlined their Vitality County Championship title credentials as seamer Sam Cook spearheaded a comprehensive 254-run win over Nottinghamshire.

Cook took six for 14 to go with his first-innings hat-trick as the home side were bowled out for just 80 in their second innings. He finished with match figures of 10 for 73.

Strike partner Jamie Porter took three for 43 as Joe Clarke top-scored with a modest 19.

However, Essex face an anxious wait to see if they will suffer a points deduction after opener Feroze Khushi’s bat failed an on-field dimensions check during their second innings.

Joe Denly and Daniel Bell-Drummond both hit centuries as Kent survived a mid-morning scare to earn a draw with Somerset at Canterbury.

Kent were in trouble on 10 for two and again at 70 for three, but a partnership of 222 for the fourth wicket took the sting out of the contest and they closed on 290 for four declared.

Warwickshire and Worcestershire drew after bad weather ruined an intriguing game at Edgbaston.

Worcestershire were frustratingly denied a chance to press for victory on their return to Division One after a wet outfield prevented play before lunch.

In the sliver of play that was possible on the final day, they took their overnight score from 237 for two to 295 for three – a lead of 322.

The match between Lancashire and Surrey ended in a draw after no play was possible on the final day at Emirates Old Trafford.

The outfield remained too wet after heavy overnight rain and a morning shower, with umpires carrying out three inspections before finally pulling the plug at 2.15pm.

Durham and Hampshire also had to settle for a draw after rain prevented any play at Chester-le-Street.

After the opening three days at Seat Unique Riverside had been washed out, there had seemed a possibility of play on day four, but captains Scott Borthwick and James Vince shook hands on a draw following a midday inspection.

In Division Two, England star Harry Brook hit a stunning final-day 100 not out in his first competitive innings since December as Yorkshire and Leicestershire had to settle for an opening-round draw at Headingley.

Brook arrived at the crease four balls into day four of this weather-ravaged fixture, overnight rain and a wet outfield once again delaying the start of play.

Brook smashed 14 fours and two sixes in 69 balls, Yorkshire declaring immediately on 264 for six just before tea in order to improve a slow over rate from the first innings.

They did this successfully as spinners Dan Moriarty and Adam Lyth raced through 7.2 overs before the rain arrived at 4pm with Leicestershire on 26 without loss in their second innings. No more play was possible, with Yorkshire taking 12 points and Leicestershire 13.

Middlesex all-rounder Ryan Higgins recorded his highest first-class score of 221 as his side’s opener against Glamorgan at Lord’s drifted to an inevitable draw.

Higgins’ epic effort, which contained 21 fours and two sixes, was his first double-hundred and featured a ninth-wicket partnership of 114 with Tom Helm, who also posted a career-best 64. A share of the spoils had always seemed virtually guaranteed on a batting-friendly pitch where only 15 wickets fell in the course of four days.

Lewis McManus’ determined resistance and bad light frustrated Sussex’s bid to pull off an unlikely victory over Northamptonshire on a gripping final day at Hove.

McManus (13 not out) batted for an hour as four partners came and went and Northants lurched to 170 for nine before umpires decided it was too gloomy even for spin with the visitors ahead by 63.

The start of the new season at Derby ended in anti-climax and frustration when the match between Derbyshire and Gloucestershire was abandoned without a ball bowled due to bad weather.

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