Somerset extended their lead at the top of Division One with a dramatic 10-wicket win over Kent on a day when inclement weather again heavily affected play around the country.
Kent lost their last eight wickets inside 46 minutes on the final day at Canterbury as a Lewis Gregory-inspired Somerset moved 26 points clear of second-placed Hampshire after picking up a fifth win in six matches.
Having already lost the first and third days to rain, the prospect of either side pushing for victory on Thursday looked to be fading as more showers wiped out a further 33 overs.
But play was finally able to resume at 1.45pm and Somerset quickly took advantage, claiming Kent’s final eight wickets for 27 runs in the space of 62 balls as the hosts were skittled for just 59.
Gregory was Kent’s tormentor-in-chief, claiming five for 21 to finish with his best-ever match figures of 11 for 53, before Somerset openers Tom Abell and Azhar Ali quickly knocked off the 30 runs required for victory.
Somerset’s hopes of a first-ever County Championship title received a further boost from Guildford, where defending champions Surrey and third-placed Yorkshire had to settle for a draw in another rain-affected clash.
Morne Morkel took three wickets in his first two overs and Jordan Clark, on his Surrey championship debut, was close to bagging a hat-trick in his own opening over of the day as Yorkshire were bowled out for 148 and asked to follow on.
But the loss to rain and bad light of a total of 49.3 overs in the day – including the match being called off 20.3 overs early at 5pm when more rain arrived – eventually allowed Yorkshire to secure the draw after reaching 30 without loss in their second innings.
The wet weather also wreaked more havoc in Division Two, where the final day’s play was completely wiped out in three matches.
That meant the fixtures between Durham and Northamptonshire at Chester-le-Street, Leicestershire and Middlesex at the County Ground – where only 11 overs were possible in the match- and leaders Lancashire against Worcestershire at New Road all finished in draws.
A draw also looks likely at Arundel, where Gloucestershire reached 146 for three at stumps on day three in response to Sussex’s 351 for eight declared.
However, Derbyshire could yet force a win against Glamorgan and will hope for favourable conditions on Friday as they take a 110-run lead into the final day at Swansea.
Responding to Glamorgan’s 394 all out, Derbyshire reached 504 for four at the close of day three with captain Billy Godleman (211 not out) and Tom Lace (143) both recording career-best scores.