Nottinghamshire established themselves as the early leaders in the County Championship, completing a second victory in as many matches as both Surrey and Somerset fell short in their attempts to do likewise.
At both Lord's and Edgbaston, where Middlesex and Warwickshire were the winners, batting collapses provided the drama, one of them fatal, the other survived.
Surrey, victorious against Sussex in their first match back in the First Division, began the final day needing only 46 with six wickets standing to see off the rival they had beaten to the Second Division title and win at Lord's for the first time in 15 years. Yet, confronted with a Middlesex seam attack enjoying generous help from the pitch, they lost three wickets for three runs in 20 balls to be 104 for 7, still needing 37.
Even so, with Rory Hamilton-Brown on 57 not out, Surrey appeared still to be in the driving seat, especially after he and Jon Lewis added 22 without further alarms. But Toby Roland-Jones had Hamilton-Brown caught behind for 63 and struck again when Tim Linley edged him to slip.
Middlesex needed the last wicket before Surrey could add 11 more runs and got it with three to spare when Jade Dernbach, having driven Tim Murtagh through mid-off for four, attempted a similar shot against the same bowler and was caught at short cover.
For Warwickshire, beating Somerset looked no less a formality as they resumed on 123 for 2, chasing 259, and remained so despite the loss of Ian Westwood when they reached 190 for 3, with Will Porterfield building on his overnight half-century.
But then Peter Trego, the tricky medium-pacer, took three wickets in seven balls, including that of Porterfield, to induce an attack of the jitters that saw two more casualties as Warwickshire stumbled to 207 for 8.
With defeat looming, Warwickshire were rescued by a counter-attack from their New Zealand all-rounder Jeetan Patel, whose 43 off only 36 balls included sixes of both Trego and Vernon Philander and ended with a spectacular assault on the young Irish-born left-arm spinner George Dockrell, who had been Somerset's match-winner against Middlesex last week.
With only 16 wanted but with the new ball looming, Patel took the 19-year-old's recall to the attack as all-or-nothing opportunity and drove his first three balls for a six and two fours before taking a single that allowed Jim Troughton to strike the winning boundary past point, the last five balls of the match yielding 19 runs.
Nottinghamshire finally beat Durham at Chester-le-Street, taking 10.2 overs to remove last man Mitch Claydon for a career-best 55, giving the 2010 champions victory by 114 runs.