Surrey have one hand on the County Championship Division One trophy, while Middlesex and Kent are locked neck-and-neck in the battle to avoid joining relegated Northamptonshire in Division Two following a pivotal round of fixtures.

Durham have secured the Division Two title, while Worcestershire are set to join them in the top tier next season.

The week began with Essex chasing Surrey at the top of Division One, Northants needing to win to keep their survival hopes alive, and with Leicestershire hoping to close the gap on Worcestershire in Division Two.

Rain affected games across the country, but at various points it looked as if each of Essex, Northants – who were playing Surrey – and Leicestershire would claim the victories they needed. Instead, the round ended with the top ends of both tables effectively sewn up, and with one relegation spot certain.

At The Oval, Northants enforced the follow on against Surrey, but an unbeaten opening stand between Rory Burns and Dom Sibley guided the home side to safety. Leicestershire claimed a sizeable lead against Yorkshire on the back of a big last-wicket stand, but Yorkshire saw out the final day for a draw. And Essex pushed Hampshire hard, declaring twice but eventually losing a three-wicket thriller that went down to the final over. Worcestershire’s high-scoring draw with Durham suited both sides, with Durham sealing the Division Two title and Worcestershire shoring up second spot.

The results mean that Surrey need just five points against Hampshire in the final week to secure their second consecutive title, while Worcestershire need three points against Yorkshire to seal promotion to Division One.

However, the relegation battle could go down to the wire. Kent were made to follow on by Somerset but held on, while Middlesex were beaten late on day four by Warwickshire, leaving Kent one point ahead of Middlesex. Kent host Lancashire in the final round, while Middlesex travel to Nottinghamshire.