Surrey virtually assured themselves of safety in Division One of the LV County Championship by crushing Warwickshire by nine wickets at Edgbaston yesterday.
The visitors' highest first wicket stand of the season, 149 between Scott Newman (87) and Jon Batty (68 not out) sealed victory with more than 52 overs to spare, and increased Warwickshire's own relegation worries. Surrey could be mathematically safe by the end of the week if Warwickshire fail to take maximum points from their last game against title-chasing Lancashire at Old Trafford.
Warwickshire have now won only one of their last 18 games in all competitions, and may be dependent upon Kent losing their last two matches to avoid a second relegation this season having already been demoted in the NatWest Pro40 League.
Their gritty resistance on Saturday appeared to have left Surrey with a tricky target of 177, but any suggestions that it might be a tense final day were quickly shattered by Newman. The Surrey opener struck eight fours and also swept Botha for another six in his 50. He pushed on to his highest score since the opening Championship game of the season before he was caught behind to give seamer Chris Woakes his first Championship wicket. But it was too little, too late to affect the outcome.
Nottinghamshire closed in on a return to the top tier of the Championship by completing a thumping victory over struggling Derbyshire by an innings and six runs at Chesterfield on Saturday.
A maximum points victory was wrapped up 55 minutes after lunch on the third day when Andre Adams took the last two wickets with consecutive balls as Derbyshire were bowled out for 337.
But the home side had put up a much better fight second time round with night watchman Jake Needham defying the bowlers for 95 minutes in the morning. A six-point return from their final game at Division Two champions Somerset the week after next will be enough for Nottinghamshire to book a return to the First Division.
Worcestershire are on the brink of salvaging the Nat West Pro40 title from what has been an otherwise dire season. Relegated from the Championship First Division and unable to play at New Road as a result of this summer's floods, Worcestershire are now one win from taking the title after yesterday's thumping 151-run triumph over Northamptonshire in front of a full house at Kidderminster.
Victory over Gloucestershire at Bristol on Thursday night will clinch the Pro40, although if Kent beat Hampshire, who defeated Gloucestershire by 14 runs yesterday, then the title will be their's even earlier.
Moeen Ali's sparkling 100 off only 49 balls, with 14 fours and six sixes, was backbone of their daunting 281 for 7, with Steven Davies making 74
In reply, Nadeem Malik took four wickets as Northants subsided to a paltry 130 all out.Reuse content