Comeback victories, epic run-chases, stunning bowling analyses and defiant lower-order rear guards. The final day of the latest round of the County Championship had a bit of everything.
There were match-winning runs and wickets for England contenders while some older and wiser heads also came to the fore to guide their respective sides to impressive wins.
Essex, Warwickshire, Hampshire, Yorkshire, Lancashire, Gloucestershire and Sussex all recorded last-day victories.
Even after just two rounds of the revamped format, some leading contenders are emerging with two sides recording back-to-back wins.
Defending champions Essex showed why they have been the team to beat in recent seasons as they pulled off a thrilling win against Durham.
Bowled out for just 96 on the first day before fighting back in their second innings to set Durham 168 to win, Essex needed seven wickets on the final morning and their opponents needed 108 more runs.
Jack Burnham and captain Scott Borthwick looked untroubled until Burnham’s loose shot at 83-3 off Simon Harmer sparked a collapse. The last seven Durham wickets fell for just 40 runs to give Essex the win by 44 runs.
Harmer finished with match figures of 10-136.
Warwickshire secured victory against Nottinghamshire as Tim Bresnan’s 68 not out got them to a target of 333 with three wickets in hand.
The Bears were winless in the Bob Willis Trophy last season while Notts are still searching for their first four-day win since June 2018.
It looked like that wait was going to end when Warwickshire were pegged back to 184-6 shortly after lunch. But Bresnan and Olly Stone (43) shared a crucial 113-run partnership for the seventh wicket to take them within 36 runs of victory.
Former England all-rounder Bresnan struck the winning runs after surviving being dropped on 56 despite Stuart Broad’s best efforts with 2-54.
Derbyshire and Worcestershire finished as a draw but only after Ben Cox and Ed Barnard’s defiant seventh-wicket partnership kept the hosts at bay.
Having given themselves 84 overs to try to bowl out the Pears, Derbyshire looked on course to do so when they had their opponents on 83-6.
But just two more wickets fell in the evening session as Cox (60 not out), Barnard (35) and captain Joe Leach (nine not out) shut out the Derbyshire bowlers.
Hampshire made it two wins from two completing their victory against Middlesex by taking the last six wickets they needed in the visitors’ second innings before lunch.
Middlesex were bowled out for 281 to fall to their second defeat from two games.
Mohammad Abbas took 3-28 to follow his pivotal 6-11 in the first innings while Kyle Abbott and Ian Holland took three wickets each to seal Hampshire’s 249-run win.
Also making it two wins from two were Gloucestershire who claimed a West Country derby victory, beating Somerset by eight wickets.
The visitors resumed on 28-1 in their pursuit of 153. Despite their imposing seam bowling attack, Somerset could only claim the wicket of West Indies Test captain Kraigg Brathwaite on the last morning.
James Bracey followed up his first-innings century with an unbeaten 83 to steer them over the line just before lunch for their first win at Taunton in 28 years.
They and Hampshire meet in the next round, starting on Thursday at the Ageas Bowl.
Surrey and Leicestershire continued to find wickets hard to come by on a flat track at The Oval as they shook hands on a draw before the last hour.
Leicestershire started the last day still 277 runs shy of making Surrey bat again on 21-0.
They ended on 295-3 as Hassan Azad batted through for an unbeaten career-best 144 from 280 balls while Lewis Hill followed up his first-innings 70 with 69 not out.
England hopeful Ollie Robinson was the architect of Sussex’s eight-wicket win at Glamorgan.
Glamorgan had resumed 62 runs ahead with five second-innings wickets remaining, but Kiran Carlson could only add another three runs to his overnight 129.
Right-armer Robinson took all five of the remaining Glamorgan wickets as they were dismissed for 349, finishing with 9-78 in the innings and a match analysis of 13-128.
That left Sussex needing 154 to win and an unbroken third-wicket partnership of 112 between Aaron Thomason (78 not out) and Tom Clark (54 not out) saw them home.
Yorkshire had to work hard into the evening session before completing a 200-run win against Kent.
The hosts resumed on 33-2 at Canterbury with 445 the nominal target. But survival was their main aim, which looked unlikely when they were 119-5 at lunch.
Nightwatchman Matt Milnes dug in and hung around for more than four and a half hours for 78 with Darren Stevens (47) for company to reach 193-6 at tea.
However David Willey removed both with the new ball after the interval before bagging his first first-class five-wicket haul for the county with the final wicket of Miguel Cummins and figures of 5-61.
Lancashire were also made to wait until the final session to beat Northamptonshire by 206 runs.
Northants had it all to do on 59-3 on the final morning and were reduced to 107-6 at lunch.
But former Red Rose left-hander Luke Procter kept the Lancashire attack at bay for more than six hours until his resistance was finally ended by Matt Parkinson on 93 inside the last hour’s play.
Leg-spinner Parkinson took 3-39 to finish with 6-88 in the match. Former Northants loanee Luke Wood also took 3-31, including two in two balls in the decisive evening session.