Leicestershire won the toss and chose to bat on yet another chilly day. Tony Palladino got Derbyshire off to a fine start as he took a hat-trick in only the fifth over of the match: the third of these wickets, which sent West Indies Test batsman Sarwan’s off-stump cartwheeling, was also the two-hundredth of his career.
This was the first first-class hat-trick for Derbyshire since Kevin Dean had taken three in three on the same ground twelve years earlier. Leicestershire’s next pair, Boyce and Cobb, presented with the parlous position of 7 for three, stayed together for fourteen overs and added 59 for the fourth wicket.
Jon Clare broke this stand while Tim Groenewald returned to dismiss opener Boyce soon after he had reached his fifty. There was further resistance, mainly from Kadeer Ali, who hit 48 runs, but Groenewald took five of the last six wickets to finish with the excellent economical figures of five for 29 in almost eighteen overs.
Derbyshire started their pursuit of 177 which the home side had achieved for their first innings with the new left-handed partnership of Matt Lineker and Chesney Hughes, but rain came after only three overs and there could be no further play on the first day. Derbyshire – 5 without loss.
This pair battled well on the second morning before Lineker was unlucky to be bowled off his thigh-pad with the score on 43. Hughes had played well on his first championship appearance of the season, and Wayne Madsen and Wes Durston looked to be taking their team to a good position with a stand of 66 at which point Madsen edged one to slip.
The morning’s play was rather spoilt for Derbyshire when Durston pulled a long-hop straight to mid-wicket on the stroke of lunch: at 123 for four, the game was in the balance.
There was a thirty-minute stoppage for rain soon after the interval, but, despite the loss of another wicket at 150, Dan Redfern and David Wainwright held things together with a steady unbroken stand of 41 before the arrival of a thunderstorm at 3.32pm. This ended play for the day, and the forecast for the next two days was most unpromising.
On the third morning, however, play was able to start at twelve o’clock and Redfern looked in particularly good touch yet again. Together he and Wainwright took the score to 259 for five when the predicted rain arrived to send the players to an early lunch at 1.12pm. Redfern had completed his fifty in 87 balls with seven fours while Wainwright was undefeated with 45.The rain continued for much of the afternoon and once again play was abandoned for the day.
The fourth day started with the bleakest and most unsummerlike of mornings and the umpires quickly decided that there would be no play before lunch. The weather was so poor that, by 12.15pm, the umpires abandoned the match with no further play being possible.
This abandonment was especially disappointing for Derbyshire who were in a good position and hoping to be able to add to their total of bonus points. There is now a break in their championship programme of almost six weeks, during which time Derbyshire will be able to boast the proud position at the top of the Second Division table.
Leicestershire 177 (70.4 overs) (MAG Boyce 50, K Ali 48, JJ Cobb 30; TD Groenewald 5 for 29, AP Palladino 3 for 58 incl hat-trick, JL Clare 2 for 12)
Derbyshire 259 for 5 (72.4 overs) (DJ Redfern 81*, DJ Wainwright 45*, WJ Durston 44, CF Hughes 28, WL Madsen 21; NL Buck 2 for 72)
Derbyshire (8 points) drew with Leicestershire (4)
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