A soggy seventh round of the Championship, which produced seven draws in eight games, back-flipped into life in the final afternoon.
Suddenly unstoppable Nottinghamshire conjured an innings and 170-run victory over Worcestershire from a two-day broth. Luke Fletcher thundered through Worcestershire’s first innings, his seven for 37 skittling them for 80. He snatched three more wickets in the second, enjoying his first ten-fer. Only Jake Libby passed 31, his 64 making him the second-highest scorer in the Championship. After nearly three years without a Championship victory, a third win in a row zips Notts to the top of Group One.
While at The Oval, Middlesex turned expectations on its head, chasing 290 to win once Surrey declared shortly after Rory Burns reached an unbeaten hundred. From 47 for two and batting out for a draw, Nick Gubbins and Peter Handscomb put on 172 for the third wicket. Rain and bad light squalled over the ground at a crucial moment, leaving them to chase 74 in eight overs with every man on the boundary. Ultimately, the visitors could not get over the line with the match finishing as a draw. Kemar Roach claimed match figures of nine for 147 in his final game for Surrey this season.
The 21-year-old Ben Aitchison pocketed a career-best six for 28 against Durham on a rain-hit day at Derby. Cameron Bancroft made a painstaking 39, in his first innings back after he reignited Sandpapergate and, together with a sprightly 82 from Ned Eckersley, ensured that Durham avoided the follow-on against Derbyshire and a potentially tricky final afternoon.
Gloucestershire collapsed to 27 for six off 14.2 overs against Somerset at Bristol, with Craig Overton grabbing four for 16, before they were rescued by the rain; while Warwickshire just had time to soak up their first-innings deficit against Essex before the inevitable washout.
At Chelmsford, old fashioned sporting declarations by both sides and a final-day run-chase were thwarted by the weather. They called it quits early at Northampton, after just 34.3 overs were bowled over four days. Dane Vilas, the Lancashire captain, fretted about Jimmy Anderson not being able to get the overs under his belt before the first Test against New Zealand, which starts on 2 June. Anderson will start the series needing eight first-class wickets for the magic 1,000.