Durham moved to within one win of clinching their third County Championship in six years with an astonishing victory over Derbyshire at the County Ground, where the home side were skittled out for just 63 in their second innings.
After Graham Onions had taken five for 23 during an unbroken spell of 15 overs – all five wickets came in the space of 41 deliveries for just four runs conceded – Durham only needed 37 to win, which they knocked off for the loss of one wicket.
Yorkshire were restricted to a draw against Sussex at Hove, where bad light and then rain put paid to their hopes of chasing down a manufactured target of 300 from 64 overs, which means Durham have a lead of 27 and a half points with two matches left.
Defeat leaves Derbyshire in trouble again, after a run of three wins in four games had raised the prospect of an unlikely escape from the threat of relegation. Somerset’s win over Surrey at Taunton lifts them out of the bottom two, probably consigning Surrey to the drop at the same time.
Derbyshire had begun the final day 41 runs in front, with Durham seemingly only first-innings bonus points to aim for. They achieved a lead of just 27 runs, but with the ball moving in the air and off the pitch for Onions, Chris Rushworth and rookie Usman Arshad, Derbyshire lost their last nine wickets for 37.
Yorkshire fed Sussex runs at Hove, where Chris Nash and Rory Hamilton-Brown picked up easy hundreds before reaching a pre-arranged declaration point, but the weather closed in after only 20 overs to restrict Yorkshire to a draw.
The 11 points Second Division leaders Lancashire took from their drawn game against Leicestershire was enough to confirm their return to the top flight next year, after Essex were denied the win they needed against Kent at Canterbury.