Graeme Smith struck his first half century of the season for Surrey on Tuesday before Essex, who posted a target of 306 earlier in the day, took three quick wickets to seize control on day three of their Division Two clash.
Surrey captain Smith hit nine fours on his way to a convincing 88-ball 65, before a rising delivery from Essex seamer David Masters caught the shoulder of the former Proteas skipper’s bat and Jaik Mickleburgh took a simple catch at gully.
Dominic Sibley produced a solid 34 but when Tymal Mills found some extra bounce in The Oval wicket to have him caught at gully, Surrey’s response stuttered as Gary Wilson drilled Monty Panesar to mid-on before Steve Davies was caught at short leg.
Jason Roy steadied the ship for Surrey with a confident 30 not out, while an unbeaten Chris Tremlett propped up the other end with six from 35 balls as the hosts reached 217-6 at stumps.
During the morning session Essex had added just 81 to their overnight total as Surrey’s Matt Dunn took two of their final four wickets to complete his maiden first class five-wicket haul.
At the County Ground, South African Kyle Abbott claimed 4-84 as Hampshire frustrated Derbyshire's attempts to build a sizeable first innings advantage on day three.
The hosts had hoped to establish a commanding position as they resumed following a morning wash-out at 203 for two, in response to Hampshire's first innings of 328.
Abbott had other ideas, using the second new ball to excellent effect as Derbyshire slumped from 273-2 to 312 for seven, before an unorthodox 56 not out from Tim Groenewald ultimately helped the hosts to a total of 399.
Derbyshire opener Stephen Moore could add only 22 to his overnight total of 106 before being caught off the bowling of Abbott and former West Indies captain Shivnarine Chanderpaul failed to reach the century mark as he was dismissed for 82.
Hampshire openers Michael Carberry and Jimmy Adams kept their wickets intact before bad light stopped play with the visitors 20-0 heading into the final day.
Daniel Bell-Drummond, Brendan Nash and Darren Stevens all made notable contributions as Kent looked to force a result against Leicestershire at Canterbury.
After the visitors failed to add to their overnight score of 333-9 with Jigar Naik caught off the bowling of Doug Bollinger, Bell-Drummond made a patient 58 in a stand worth 94 with Nash, who fell five short of half century.
Stevens hit eight fours and a six on his way to 48 and Sam Billings offered 38 before Kent skipper Rob Key took the risk of declaring at 269-7, 64 runs behind Leicestershire’s total in a bid to manufacture a result from the match.
Kent opening bowler Bollinger took two wickets in as many balls as Leicestershire’s closed on 39-2.
First innings star Matthew Boyce was cleaned bowled for just eight before Anthony Ireland was trapped lbw the very next ball with the former Australian seamer ending with 2-19 from his four overs.
In a rain-hit third day at Sophia Gardens, Glamorgan were unable to surpass Gloucestershire’s total of 231 as conditions prevented progress in south Wales.
Resuming on 230-9, the visitors were able to score just one run before Matt Taylor was caught by Mark Wallace off opener bowling Michael Hogan.
After being bowled out for 145 in their first innings, Glamorgan could only reach 80-3 as rain interrupted the day before bad light eventually ended play prematurely.
James Fuller, the Gloucestershire opener, claimed 2-22 before Will Gidman had former South Africa international Jacques Rudolph caught behind.
Glamorgan opening batsman William Bragg weathered the storm with an unbeaten 29 from 136 balls and will resume on the final day with Murray Goodwin, who is 26 not out.