Michael Lumb and David Hussey boosted Nottinghamshire in their efforts to stave off relegation from Division One of the LV= County Championship with centuries on day one of their clash against fellow strugglers Somerset.
Notts came into the encounter 15 points ahead of second-from-bottom Derbyshire, with Somerset only a point better off, meaning both sides ideally needed to avoid defeat at Trent Bridge.
The home side's hopes did not look promising when they fell to 76 for four after being put into bat, but Lumb and Hussey put on 214 for the fifth wicket to steady the ship before Notts closed on a promising 378 for seven.
Hussey cracked 20 fours in his 125 off 172 balls, while Lumb passed 1,000 championship runs for the season before falling for 107.
Notts need just 22 runs in 14 overs to guarantee maximum batting points which would all but guarantee their safety.
Warwickshire all-rounder Chris Woakes bounced back from his Ashes disappointment with an unbeaten century and dented Derbyshire's slim hopes of avoiding relegation.
Woakes, who was not named in England's squad to tour Down Under despite playing in the fifth Test against Australia this summer, ended the day on 102 not out in Warwickshire's 285 for eight.
Anything other than victory for Derbyshire, who won the toss, will signal a return to Division Two and they reduced Warwickshire to 120 for six but Woakes led the fightback magnificently.
James Anyon, Chris Jordan and Luke Wright put Sussex in control as they bid to claim their first championship win at Hove this season against county champions Durham.
The visitors were perhaps suffering from a celebration hangover as they were all out for 164 despite winning the toss, with Anyon and Jordan taking five and four wickets respectively.
Wright then hammered 74 not out off 60 balls as Sussex fought back from 90 for five, with Graham Onions responding to his Ashes snub by conceding 64 runs in 10 overs - despite starting with a wicket in his opening two overs.
Gary Ballance celebrated his inclusion in England's Ashes party by hitting an unbeaten 72 as Yorkshire posted 316 for six on the opening day of their Division One clash with Surrey at the Oval.
Phil Jaques had earlier held the Tykes' top-order together with a vital 88, before Ballance took centre stage and moved past 1,000 championship runs for the season.
In Division Two, Michael Carberry also excelled the day after his Ashes call-up, but there was less success for Essex spinner Monty Panesar at the Ageas Bowl.
Carberry was out for 85, while Panesar took just one wicket and conceded 91 runs as Hampshire closed on 398 for eight.
Veteran seamer Andrew Hall claimed his first five-wicket return of the season as Northamptonshire edged towards promotion to Division One by dismissing Worcestershire for 163 at New Road.
The 38-year-old South African hijacked his first county with five for 30, cleaning out the last two wickets in successive balls and helping his current team to three of the five points they need to go up with champions Lancashire.
Ashwell Prince hit an unbeaten 134 on a day of missed chances and milestones in Canterbury as Lancashire reached a respectable 269 for eight.
Seamer Michael Hogan claimed his 100th wicket of the season as Glamorgan restricted Gloucestershire to 228 for eight at Cardiff.