Nottinghamshire, the Championship favourites, maintained their momentum by dismissing Essex for 154 at Chelmsford but found batting almost as difficult, stuttering to 72 for 5 in reply before the experience of Ally Brown and captain Chris Read combined to steer them towards parity.
Read held six catches behind the stumps as Nottingham showed the depth of their bowling reserves. There was no Ryan Sidebottom or Darren Pattinson but in their absence Charlie Shreck and Paul Franks claimed three wickets each, the former showing glimpses of his best in an inconsistent season to dismiss Jaik Mickleburgh, James Foster and Mark Pettini.
Essex were grateful for some productive counter-attack from Tim Phillips, who hit seven fours in his unbeaten 46. Nottingham lost Bilal Shafayat and Alex Hales in Maurice Chambers's opening spell and after Mark Wagh and Samit Patel failed to build on good starts, Brown and Read added 54, so far, for the sixth wicket with their side 26 behind.
Former England pace bowler Dominic Cork took 5 for 50 as Hampshire dismissed Kent for 251 at the Rose Bowl. David Sales hit 127 and Nicky Boje 98 as Northamptonshire reached 355 for 5 against Glamorgan at Wantage Road.Reuse content