4.25pm: Have Nottinghamshire and Durham just completed the session that reveals a shift of power in championship cricket? Durham, title winners for the past two seasons, conceded 226 runs in 35 overs between lunch and tea, a statistic that sounds unreal for a county that has been hailed as possessing the finest pace attack in the land, writes David Hopps. Perhaps we have witnessed the session that insists a hat-trick of titles is beyond them.
Notts, runners up for the past two seasons, declared at tea at 559 for eight, a lead of 341. Alistair Brown hit 134 off 121 balls (17/3) and Chris Read finished on 124 not out from 181 balls (15/1). Durham were in complete disarray. Ian Blackwell's left-arm spin, brought on too late by Will Smith, conceded only 39 runs in 16 overs, but the pace bowlers took a hammering. Brown and Read put on 237 in 42 for the sixth wicket and then Paul Franks rounded things off with 64 from 45 balls.
Brown finally fell trying to steer a bouncer from Liam Plunkett over the keeper's head, a shot he had pulled off wehile meting out some heavy punishment to Ben Stokes. Steve Harmison can at least find comfort in his first championship wicket of the season, a wonderful legside catch by Phil Mustard off an inside edge to silence Franks, at which point came the Notts declaration.
4pm: For seven overs it made an interesting sight, writes Mike Averis in Bristol. Will Jefferson standing 6ft 10ins, along with his 5ft 9inch runner Matthew Boyce and James Taylor measured variously at anything from 5ft 7ins down to 5ft 5ins. The long, the short and the small combining to dig Leicester out of a hole. Or so they thought.
This could still end with a day to spare. Gloucestershire have just taken the new ball and, as the cliché goes, it looks a different game.
Earlier Paul Nixon had spent a lifetime adding 13 to his overnight half century, lasting until seven overs after lunch before the first rush of blood saw him back in the pavilion. Anthony Ireland dropped short, Nixon went for the hook, got a top edge and William Porterfield ran from backward square leg to square leg and back again, taking the swirling ball over his right shoulder.
It was quite a catch to end an innings by makeshift opener that had eaten up 205 deliveries all told and lasted 23 overs either side of the rain break into today. A duller version of the departure was played out nine overs later while Gloucester's relief bowlers were using up time waiting for the new ball.
This time Alex Gidman conned Andrew McDonald into hooking and James Franklin took the catch, barely having to move a yard at square leg - something of a bonus wicket, especially as Jefferson and Taylor were about to go in the first two overs when the front line bowlers returned. Jefferson was lbw playing across the line to Jonathon Lewis while Taylor had middle and leg rearranged by Franklin both on 205.
After last season's triumphs, this has not been a good time for Taylor, but he was starting to time his shots when, on 39, Franklin swung the ball in to the right-hander - the carbon copy of a delivery which also did for Tom New. This time the left-hander failed to get to the pitch, skewing the drive to Chris Dent at third slip.
At tea there are still 43 overs left in the day and Leicester need another 55, with four wickets left, to make Gloucestershire bat again.
3pm: Things have moved on quickly at Chelmsford, where Essex lost their last five wickets for 50 to leave Kent with a 133-run first innings lead, writes Andy Wilson.
Makhaya Ntini grabbed the first two after lunch, Simon Cook took the important wicket of Westley, then Azhar Mahmood returned to mop up the tail and complete figures of five for 63.
No such collapses at Taunton, although Compton was run out a single short of a painstaking half century. Somerset 275 for four, James Hildreth on 89. Re Hoppsy's reference to Ben Stokes, would be remiss of me not to point out at this point that when Brown was making his debut, young Stokes was growing up in Wellington. He only arrived in this country by chance because his dad, Ged, had been appointed the coach of Workington Town on the Cumbrian coast.
(There's a contrived link here to Nico Craven, the Cheltenham Festival regular to whom , as from memory he taught at St Bees College in nearby Whitehaven, and I once had a chat to him about Cumbrian rugby league, which doesn't crop up often in Gloucestershire) Ged's now working at Whitehaven having hung around following his sacking by Workington a few years back because young Ben was making such good progress with his cricket, having been spotted by Durham playing for Cockermouth.. He played for England under-19s in the World Cup in his native New Zealand last winter, and has emerged as a first team regular for the champions this season.
2.45pm: Ally Brown has completed the spriteliest of hundreds at Trent Bridge to emphasize that in county cricket there can be life beyond 40, writes David Hopps. He has just driven Ben Stokes, 21 years his junior, for a single to the cover boundary to reach three figures in 102 balls with 11 fours and two sixes. His stand with Chris Read (88 not out) is worth 190 and, at 416 for six, Notts' lead is approaching 200.
Research (a few of us flicking through Playfair) suggests that, at 40 and three months, Brown is the third oldest player in county cricket, younger only than Shaun Udal and Mark Ramprakash, neither of whom are having much of a season so far. It is Brown's second championship hundred for Notts and since he joined them he has roughly mantained his first-class career average of 43. He has already suggested that if he maintains his form he will be knocking on the door of Notts' coach Mick Newell to request another contract.
It all began for Brown, in his Surrey days, with a hundred against Notts in July 1992 when Ben Stokes was one year old and, one presumes, did not immediately consider where he might bowl to him in full flow.
Read has been just as impressive, manipulating the ball with confidence. There is still some life left in this Trent Bridge pitch. Chris Rushworth, who was unheard of outside the north-east a few weeks ago, but who now is carrying the Durham attack, has just made one spit off a length to strike Chris Read on the bottom hand. The sight of Read, their captain and wicketkeeper, in considerable pain from a hand injury is about as disturbing as it gets for a Notts supporter. But he has swigged some painkillers and is batting on. he was caught off a Stokes no ball at deep square leg on 87.
Durham took the new ball three overs before lunch but - and this is hindsight perhaps – they would have been better resting their pace attack over lunch and taking it immediately on the resumption.
Is this the match where we begin to play down downgrade Durham's championship chances?
When this partnership ends, lovers of cricketing oddities would quite like George Sharp to give the decision. Sharp has withstood many a chilly championship day in his umpiring career, but he seems to be going soft in his own age. Any Notts batsman given out lbw at his end will suffer the indignity of a raised finger hidden in a pair of black gloves. It is a good job he is not wearing mittens.
1.40pm: Afternoon sessions are just starting, writes Andy Wilson, so must be time to run through the lunch scores. (Been at the gym, which carried the unexpected bonuses of watching the Notts wickets on Sky Sports News, and being steered towards by the Daily Mail.)
Kent and Hampshire have had to make do with one wicket each. Nick Compton has batted throughout the morning session at Taunton to add 29 from 33 overs, as Somerset have reached 206 for three. Essex have been a bit more entertaining at Chelmsford, with Tom Westley reaching 125 and Ryan ten Doeschate on 66.
Don't think I'm breaching any press box confidences by revealing that the Dutch all-rounder used to be known as Dustcart by a couple of entertaining Essex journos when he first arrived, but he seems to have developed into a very handy signing.
As the Middlesex devotees have already noted down below, Derbyshire are in a right mess at 48 for five at Lord's, with Steven Finn taking three for seven from seven overs. Andrew Hall has taken four wickets for Northants, but Glamorgan are well on top at 442 for eight.
Back to Swann's tweeting, and the last few as follows: "It seem the best way to get a match winning performance out of Bres is to constantly abuse him … This makes me more excited than the day I found the bag of porn under my brothers bed."
"I was contemplating a jacuzzi on the balcony, only to discover that the pair of doves who live above have left a couple of presents … I'm hoping Bres won't notice and get in once it's darkabout"
"Oh bugger. I had to do my own washing. My cricket socks and jock strap are now bright pink"
1.35pm: Cricketainment* Trent Bridge style (*copyright Lalit Modi and an approach much admired by Stewart Regan) has seen Notts build a position of strength at lunch, writes David Hopps. They are 333-6, now 115 ahead, with carefree half-centuries from Chris Read and Ally Brown the highlight of the morning.
Chris Rushworth, a workmanlike seamer from Sunderland, took his first three championship wickets in the first hour, but since then Notts' zestful counterattack has put them in control.
There are no dancing girls, just members queuing politely over lunch for a hot, cheap snack, as if trying to take on a few calories before the cuts inevitably begin to bite.
Incidentally, the England Lions side to face Bangladesh at Derby will be announced on Friday. There are rumours that the selectors could field the entire Yorkshire side just for the fun of seeing the reaction at Headingley. And naturally to make the championship race less one sided. Anybody any opinions about any unfamiliar name who deserves to be selected? I will give you Adam Lyth and James Taylor (irrespective of his poor form) for starters.
1.05pm: Lunch and Paul Nixon is clearly taking this opening lark very seriously, writes Mike Averis in Bristol. He spent most of the morning — minus the rain break — scoring three, before a flurry of five runs off Anthony Ireland — a thick edge to the third man boundary and a nudge to leg — in the penultimate over of the session.
The rain break lasted precisely an hour, meaning 15 overs produced 28 runs and that one wicket in the morning. At lunch Leicester are 150 for one, with Nixon on 56 and James Taylor 12.
12pm: There was a bit of what passes for learned chat in the press box at Trent Bridge yesterday as Mark Wagh played with great discipline to take Notts to a commanding position of 191 for three at the close of the second day against Durham, only 27 behind. Wagh has always been a fulsome strokeplayer, but has had a reputation for soft dismissals. perhaps this was proof of a new maturity, we wondered.
Well, writes David Hopps, a new morning dawned at Trent Bridge and with it came the old Wagh. He essayed a fulsome drive at Chris Rushworth's first ball — awash with comparable confidence to a Tory MP striding into a junior ministerial role — and edged it straight to Michael Di Venuto at second slip.
Wagh's dismissal was the first of three wickets for Rushworth this morning that have dragged Durham back into the match. Di Venuto plucked another catch at second slip to dismiss Steve Mullaney – who like Wagh made a hundred against Hampshire at the Rose Bowl last week – and Samit Patel followed lbw.
At the Pavilion End, Harmison has looked threatening but is still awaiting his first championship wicket of the season. Not much has gone right for him, and brotherly love was tested to the full when Ben Harmison dropped Mullaney off his bowling at third slip. He has just been spelled with nought for 54 in 19 overs. Ally Brown is now carrying the fight for Notts who after the first hour are 257 for six, 39 ahead.
11.30am: Hats off to the met office, writes Mike Averis in Bristol. The predicted drizzle arrived five overs into the day with Leicester having lost the wicket of Matt Boyce. The opener had added the only three runs by then scored when Gemaal Hussain got lift and movement to slide the ninth ball of the day across the left-hander. The edge flew comfortably to Alex Gidman at first slip.
11.25am: Day three for the latest round of LV Championship matches, with Kent and Hampshire aiming to press home the advantages their batsmen have earned at Chelmsford and Taunton respectively, writes Andy Wilson.
Essex have resumed on 172 for four, still more than 300 behind Kent's first innings total, with Azhar Mahmood taking two wickets after sharing the new ball with Makhaya Ntini — Amjad Khan having stressed in the local press that he has been given a breather.
Hampshire should already have done enough to avoid any danger of suffering a fifth consecutive defeat at the start of the season, having amassed 512 against Somerset thanks mainly to Sean Ervine. They have also taken two Somerset wickets, including Marcus Trescothick, but what are the chances of them managing 18 more?
David Hopps will be updating soon from Trent Bridge on all matters Steve Harmison, Nottingham CAMRA, etc, and in the Second Division the three east Midlands counties are all struggling — Northants at home to Glamorgan, Derbyshire against revitalised Middlesex at Lord's, and Leicestershire in Bristol. Finally, evidence that it really might be worth keeping an eye on the university matches. Loughborough have Will Tavare opening the batting against Yorkshire at Headingley — it turns out he is Chris's nephew.
10.55am: Nevil Road isn't exactly bathed in sunshine, but it's (marginally) warmer than at the start of play yesterday, writes Mike Averis. And there is no sign of the showers promised by the local BBC weatherman. Without them Gloucestershire could be second in the second division by the close of play. It depends which Leicester turn up this morning and how the Bristol wicket plays; it's still pretty green after a couple of days.
First time around Leicester were skittled in under 35 overs, their batsmen as responsible as some decent bowling from Gloucestershire's medium pacers. Following on 274 behind, Matt Boyce and Paul Nixon then stood logic on it's head, both making undefeated half centuries as Leicester bit a 122-run chunk out of the Gloucester lead.
Of longer-term importance, Ian Saxelby, an England age-group bowler, will miss the remainder of the season after dislocating his right shoulder three times in as many months. Saxelby, nephew of the Notts Saxelby's, Kevin and Mark, is due to have surgery this week .
The initial dislocation happened in February when he was climbing out of a pool in South Africa while with the England performance squad. He damaged it again making an appeal in a warm-up game and then while fielding in a 2nd XI match against Worcester.
Gloucester offered the 20-year-old Saxelby a two-year contract after their coach, John Bracewell, then looking after the New Zealand Test team, spotted him in the nets at Trent Bridge. "We are not putting any time limit on Ian's recovery. The main thing is that the operation does the trick and, hopefully, he will be bowling for us again next season," said Bracewell.