Lancashire will be spending next summer in Division Two of the Specsavers County Championship after their relegation was confirmed at Hampshire.
The Red Rose needed to reach a minimum of 300 and beat Hampshire, while elsewhere requiring Nottinghamshire to fall short of 200 – which they did – and lose to Somerset.
But Lancashire failed to secure a third batting point as Hampshire dismissed them for 273 at the Ageas Bowl.
Former West Indies quickie Fidel Edwards sealed Lancashire’s fate as he blasted through the tail to finish with figures of four for 72 and pass the 50-wicket mark for the season.
They are out for 273 and thus unable to get the bonus points required to stay up pic.twitter.com/xNMoheN3oW
— County Championship (@CountyChamp) September 25, 2018
Next season will be the first time since 2015 that Lancashire will be playing championship cricket in the second division.
At least Lancs could end the season with a win after restricting Hampshire to 178 for eight in their second innings – a lead of just 92 – with Josh Bohannon and Richard Gleeson taking three wickets each.
Tom Abell took a hat-trick as Somerset secured second spot behind champions Surrey.
The Somerset captain removed Nottinghamshire trio Luke Fletcher, Matt Carter and Harry Gurney to slip catches as the hosts were bowled out for 133 on the stroke of tea at Trent Bridge.
Craig Overton (four for 27), Abell (three for one) and Lewis Gregory (three for 36) helped Somerset to a commanding first-innings lead of 330.
Nottinghamshire followed on and were 115 for three at the close, still 215 behind, with Ben Slater unbeaten on 45.
Surrey were facing their first defeat of the season as centuries from Tom Westley (134) and Simon Harmer (102 not out) put Essex in complete command at the Kia Oval.
The pair established a new seventh-wicket record for Essex against Surrey, their 167-run partnership helping the visitors to 477 for eight.
Surrey, who were bowled out for just 67 in their first innings, reached 88 for one by the close of the second day – still 322 behind.
Gary Ballance’s superb century got Yorkshire out of trouble and turned the game in their favour against already-relegated Worcestershire.
Ballance has played a significant role in ensuring Yorkshire’s Division One survival and he held the Tykes’ innings together after Worcestershire had been bowled out for 340.
Yorkshire reached 417 for nine after Ballance had made an unbeaten 189 from 213 balls.
In Division Two, centuries from Dominic Sibley (119) and Will Rhodes (110) left Warwickshire in a strong position in their title showdown with Kent at Edgbaston.
Both openers struck their fourth championship centuries of the season as Warwickshire made 380, securing a first-innings lead of 213.
Kent then reached the close with 38 for one in a match they now need to win to take the Division Two honours.
Having taken more bonus points than Kent from the game, Warwickshire – whose former England batsman Jonathan Trott had a guard of honour from the opposition as he reached the middle in his farewell game – will finish top if the match is drawn.
Northamptonshire completed a six-wicket victory over Sussex inside two days at Wantage Road.
Set 170 to win after Ben Cotton’s maiden five-wicket haul helped bowl Sussex out for 222 in their second-innings, Northants slipped from 53 for one to 82 for four.
But Ben Curran’s unbeaten 83 and 51 not out from Adam Rossington confirmed Sussex’s third-consecutive defeat.
Middlesex fought back after Gareth Harte’s 112 gave Durham a first-innings lead of 189.
Having been dismissed for only 121 in their first innings, Middlesex made a better fist of it second time around as Stevie Eskinazi (96) and Nick Gubbins (90 not out) led them to 255 for two and a lead of 66.
Derbyshire all-rounder Luis Reece delivered a career-best performance with the ball as 17 wickets fell on day two of their game against Gloucestershire at Derby.
Reece bagged seven for 20 to bowl the visitors out for 163, but Derbyshire collapsed to 157 with Ryan Higgins taking three for 17 and Craig Miles three for 46 in his last match as a Gloucestershire player.
Alex Hughes dug in for 50 overs to make an unbeaten 55 to leave Gloucestershire with a tricky target of 179, and New Zealand fast bowler Lockie Ferguson struck twice as they closed on 29 for two.
Bottom-placed Glamorgan are in sight of a rare win after bowling out Leicestershire for 132 and extending their lead to 333 after skipper Michael Hogan decided against enforcing the follow-on.