Simon Harmer leads Essex victory charge against Kent at Canterbury

Essex moved just two points behind Vitality County Championship Division One leaders Surrey after crushing Kent at Canterbury.

Kent were skittled for just 101 in their second innings as Simon Harmer and Shane Snater led Essex’s victory charge.

Harmer took four for 32 and Snater finished with three for 15 as Essex triumphed by an innings and 96 runs.

Kent were 197 behind going into the final day and they lost England opener Zak Crawley early when Snater trapped him lbw.

Harmer then began to inflict damage – dismissing Ben Compton and Marcus O’Riordan – and it was a steady fall of wickets after that as Kent fell away.

Hopes of an exciting climax to the final day between Lancashire and Warwickshire at Emirates Old Trafford were dashed by rain, with only 75 minutes’ play possible.

Warwickshire declared their second innings on 96 for three – a lead of 231 – and Lancashire finished on 89 for four from the 15 overs that were possible.

Nottinghamshire’s hopes of pushing for a last-day victory over Worcestershire also were wrecked by the weather as they too had to settle for a draw at New Road.

Despite two of the first three days being washed out, Nottinghamshire were strongly placed at 234 for three and leading by 154 runs, but heavy overnight rain and a steady stream of morning showers dashed any chance of play, with the visitors taking 11 points and Worcestershire nine.

In Division Two, promotion front-runners Middlesex and Sussex saw their match at Lord’s peter out into a draw.

A stalemate looked inevitable once the home side had avoided the follow-on early on the final day and they went on to post 613 for nine declared in reply to Sussex’s total of 554 for nine.

Nathan Fernandes missed out on a century by nine runs, while Jack Davies struck a career-best 68 and Henry Brookes registered his first half-century as a Middlesex player, with off-spinner Jack Carson taking four for 166.

Ricardo Vasconcelos hit an unbeaten 129 not out as he spearheaded Northamptonshire’s bid for an unlikely victory over Yorkshire, but the visitors’ bowling attack dug deep to ensure the Wantage Road clash ended in a draw.

Northamptonshire had been set a challenging target of 326 in a little over two sessions and when Vasconcelos warmed up for the T20 Blast with 17 boundaries all around the ground, a home triumph looked a possibility.

But a dramatic clatter of wickets as the Yorkshire attack – featuring Adam Lyth’s career-best figures of four for 56 – staged a late fightback to set nerves jangling in the home dressing room, meant Vasconcelos had to switch gears to ensure his side held out for the draw, eight wickets down.

Leicestershire made it seven draws from seven championship matches this season with a stalemate against visitors Glamorgan, who ended the day on 157 for four in the second innings, 201 runs ahead.

And Beau Webster completed a Gloucestershire home debut to remember against Derbyshire in another drawn encounter.

The Australian all-rounder followed up his six-wicket haul in Derbyshire’s first innings of 526 by smashing 76 off just 79 balls as Gloucestershire extended their reply from an overnight 399 for four to 530 all out, with Zak Chappell claiming five for 58.

Too much time had been lost to the weather, though, and the players shook hands when Derbyshire declared their second innings on 166 for four.