Rogers rescues draw

The Middlesex captain finished unbeaten on 203 out of 328 for four declared, having begun the final day on 97 at Taunton.

Rogers' heroics continued the resistance begun by Eoin Morgan and Toby Roland-Jones in the Londoners' first innings.

The Australia Test opener batted for seven-and-a-half hours, eventually passing 200 for the 11th time in his career when he struck Jack Leach for his 29th boundary from the 381st ball he faced.

Moments later, Rogers shook hands with his opposite number Marcus Trescothick - having carried his team to safety from a once highly implausible position after they had followed on 300 runs behind.

Rogers shared century stands with Dawid Malan and Joe Denly (60) as Middlesex lost only seven wickets over the final two days.

They will therefore head for next week's relegation decider at Old Trafford needing only a maximum six more points to send Lancashire down.

Will Smith was similarly rewarded for his lone-hand 140 not out for Division Two promotion hopefuls Hampshire in their penultimate match of the season at home to Kent.

Opener Smith found lasting support from only Liam Dawson, in a century stand for the second wicket, after Hampshire had to follow on 156 runs behind.

Dawson could not stick around long on the last morning after heavy rain delayed the start. But Smith, 66 overnight, would not budge even as Hampshire lost six wickets for 30 at one stage to off-spinners James Tredwell and Adam Riley - who finished with 15 between them in the match.

Smith had hit 16 fours from 304 balls and was still there when Kent captain Rob Key accepted his team could no longer erase a deficit of 92 in the time remaining - and Hampshire hung on at 248 for nine.

They will therefore begin next week's final round of matches with a 10-point cushion over Essex in the scrap to claim the second promotion spot behind leaders Worcestershire.

There was late drama too in the only other fixture to make it into the final day as Nottinghamshire's late collapse against Sussex cost them dear with a 191-run defeat.

It is an outcome which means Sussex and Durham, but no longer Notts, are the teams who can still catch Warwickshire next week for the runners-up spot behind title winners Yorkshire in Division One.

There appeared to be little chance of anything but a stalemate when Sussex set their hosts a notional 385 runs to win.

But Notts lost their last seven wickets for 62 runs in under 20 overs as seamers Steve Magoffin (four for 51), Chris Jordan (three for 54) and left-arm spinner Ashar Zaidi (three for 50) did the damage.

Earlier, Sussex captain Ed Joyce (149 not out) had added another 34 to his personal tally - hitting 17 fours and three sixes in all.

It was only after Luke Wells then struck a rapid 79, though, that Joyce declared on 406 for six - leaving enough time, it turned out, to dismiss Notts a second time.

Sussex will need only eight points away to relegated Northamptonshire in their final match to go above Notts - whose season is over.

But the Bears remain strong favourites to hold off both them and Durham, who will be the visitors at Edgbaston.

  Captain Chris Rogers' unbeaten double-century saved Middlesex at Taunton
Captain Chris Rogers' unbeaten double-century saved Middlesex at Taunton