Sam Evans and Mark Footitt swept Lincolnshire to an innings and 22 runs victory inside two days over Bedfordshire at Grantham that took them to the top of the National Counties Championship Eastern Division One.
Leicestershire batsman Evans marked his National Counties debut with a century which helped Lincolnshire build a first innings lead of 114 and Footitt, the former Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire and Surrey left-arm quick then tore through Bedfordshire who were shot out for 92.
Footitt improved on his Championship best figures in the first innings by taking five for 27 to finish with match figures of ten for 93.
Lincolnshire’s win also meant Evans won his friendly duel with his Leicestershire team-mate and namesake Alex who bowled eight wicket less overs for 57 in Lincolnshire’s first innings.
Sam Evans struck 14 four and a six in his 130 from 186 balls and he shared a second wicket partnership of 143 with Jaden Fell who completed his maiden Championship century.
Evans and Ben Wright then added 96 for the fourth wicket with Wright rattling to 70 from 46 balls to take Lincolnshire to 327 for five.
Footitt and debutant Kurtis Watson then got to work, reducing Bedfordshire to 53 for eight with Watson bowling James Kettleborough for one - a rare failure by the former Northamptonshire and Glamorgan batter.
Captain George Thurstance, with 43, offered prolonged resistance but only two other batters reached double figures.
While Lincolnshire can look forward to a day off, Staffordshire and Norfolk will be hoping that they finally see some action at Leek where play was washed out for a second day running.
The match will now become a one innings contest with 12 points for the winner and four for the loser. But with no bonus points available it means that Lincolnshire will remain top after this round of matches is completed.
Berkshire closed in on victory against Oxfordshire at Finchampstead which would avenge a defeat last season that ended their hopes of a record fifth straight title.
Championship-best performances with the bat from captain Dan Lincoln and with the ball from Euan Woods took Berkshire to the brink of victory that would throw the Western Division One title race wide open.
There looked like being little between the sides on first innings when Berkshire slipped to 135 for eight, still 38 behind Oxfordshire.
But Lincoln and Tom Nugent transformed the match by adding 116 for the ninth wicket with Lincoln making his maiden Championship century and going on to 121 from 145 balls before he was last out and Berkshire had a lead of 101.
Oxfordshire’s Max Mannering finished with six for 118, also a Championship-best, but he was soon eclipsed by his fellow off-spinner Woods.
The former England Under-19 international took six for 57 and was well-supported by slow left-armer Luke Beaven (three for 37) to dismiss Oxfordshire for 185 with no batter reaching 40.
That left Berkshire with a target of 85, which they reduced by 29 without losing a wicket before the close.
Cheshire were indebted to debutant opener Ali Chughtai for keeping them in contention against Herefordshire at Brockhampton.
Cheshire, who trailed by 19 on first innings, were 99 for six in their second innings but Chughtai held firm against testing bowling from James Rudge (10-3-17-3) and ended the day uneaten on 83.
Nick Anderson joined Chughtai in taking Cheshire to 150 for six.
Earlier captain Matt Pardoe and Worcestershire Academy wicketkeeper/batter Henry Cullen made half centuries in Herefordshire’s first innings.
Warwickshire left-arm wrist spinner Jake Lintott marked his first Championship appearance for Wiltshire in three years by taking six for 67 against Wales NC at Panteg.
Jake Goodwin completed a maiden century for Wiltshire in their first innings 362 for five and thanks to Lintott they had a lead of 78 at the halfway point.
Wales’ first innings comprised a series of useful cameos but player/assistant coach Brad Wadlan (77 from 76 balls) was the only one to reach 50.
Wiltshire extended their lead past 100 in their second innings for the loss of Jack Mynott in the last over.
Former Glamorgan, Derbyshire and Warwickshire all-rounder Graham Wagg made 143, his highest Championship score, for Shropshire against Cornwall at St Austell.
Wagg’s innings allowed him to declare Shropshire’s first innings at 286 for seven and Brymbo pace bowler Ben Roberts then reduced Cornwall to 98 for seven.
Half centuries from Christian Purchase and Ben Ellis, who added 68 for the eighth wicket, limited Shropshire’s first innings lead to 61.
Shropshire lost three early wickets in their second innings before Xavier Clarke countered with 33 not out from 36 balls to take them to 63 for three at the close.
Cumbria slow left-armer Matt Siddall closed in on his sixth five wicket haul in as many innings this season against Buckinghamshire at Chesham in Eastern Division Two.
Siddall followed up his eight wickets in the first innings with four more in the second to take his season’s aggregate to 33 in three matches.
There will be an opportunity for Siddall to add to that tally on the final day and Cumbria stiull have plenty of work to do after Buckinghamshire ended the day 152 ahead with four wickets in hand.
Half centuries from Teddie Casterton and Alexei Kervezee countered Siddall, who took four 94 from 33 overs.
Cumbria owed their first innings lead to Sam Dutton, with a Championship-best 167, and Finlay Richardson, with a half century in his first innings in the competition.
They added 164 in a Cumbria record eighth wicket partnership which surpassed the 145 that Alan Wishart and Aubrey Talbot put on against Warwickshire Second XI at Edgbaston in 1965.
Cambridgeshire almost wrapped up a two-day win over Northumberland at Peterborough where Wayne White plundered 173 and Callum Guest (92) and Lee Thomason (50) also played enterprising innings that took them to 433 for eight in their 90 overs.
Northumberland made an untroubled start to their second innings with Jack Jessop (54) and Ben Robinson (41) opening with a partnership of 98 but they then lost three wickets for one ru
John Oswell held up Cambridgeshire for more than two-and-a-half hours with 72 from 142 balls before he became a third victim for White just before the close.
Northumberland will go into the final day still 25 runs in arrears with two wickets left.
National Counties Championship
Second day of three
Eastern Division One
Leek: Staffordshire v Norfolk. No play - rain.
Grantham: Bedfordshire 313 (Aaron Thomason 116 , James Kettleborough 85, Mark Footitt 5-66) & 92 (Mark Footitt 5-27),Lincolnshire 427-5 (Sam Evans 130, Jaden Fell 126, Ben Wright 70). Lincolnshire (24pts) beat Bedfordshire (5pts) by an innings and 22 runs.
Western Division One
Finchampstead: Oxfordshire 173 (Jonny Cater 77) & 185 (Euan Woods 6-57), Berkshire 274 (Dan Lincoln 121, Imran Malik 55, Max Mannering 6-118) & 29-0.
Brockhampton: Cheshire 238 (Rob Sehmi 88) & 150-6 (Ali Chughtai 83 not out), Herefordshire 257 (Matt Pardoe 61, Henry Cullen 61).
Eastern Division Two
Chesham: Buckinghamshire 237 (Alex Woodland 121, Matt Siddall 8-88) 223-6 (Teddie Casterton 55, Alexei Kervezee 50),Cumbria 308 (Sam Dutton 167, Finlay Richardson 76, Cameron Parsons 5-70).
Peterborough: Northumberland 164 (Stuart Poynter 62) & 244-8 (John Oswell 72, Jack Jessop 54), Cambridgeshire 433-8 (Wayne White 173, Callum Guest 92, Lee Thomason 50).
Western Division Two
St Austell: Shropshire 286-7 dec (Graham Wagg 143) & 63-3, Cornwall 225 (Christian Purchase 67, Ben Ellis 56).
Panteg: Wiltshire 362-5 (Ed Young 102, Jake Goodwin 100 not out) & 52-1, Wales NC 284 (Brad Wadlan 77, Jake Lintott 6-67).