Despite a narrow defeat to Surrey at the Kia Oval, Wayne Madsen's men refused to back down and had one more hurrah in the crucial match versus Somerset.
The squad traveled to Taunton for their first visit since 2007 knowing only a win would keep alive hopes of avoiding the drop.
What followed was four nail-biting days of cricket.
Derbyshire, however, couldn’t have dreamt for a better start, especially after losing the toss, as Marcus Trescothick’s side were dismissed for just 103 during an extraordinary opening day.
Groenewald, again, was the pick of the bowlers finishing with figures of 5 for 33 from his 13 overs - and he was adequately supported by the returning workhorse Tony Palladino (4-34), featuring in his first LV= County Championship fixture since mid-June owing to injury.
But despite a commanding 195-run advantage, 95 from Nick Compton and 81 from James Hildreth helped Somerset post 438 and set Derbyshire a tricky 243 to win.
It was, fittingly, left to Shivnarine Chanderpaul to do what overseas batsman are there to do.
The world number two Test batsman remained defiant against the spin duo of Piyush Chawla and Jack Leach on a surface offering considerable turn at both ends.
As Chanderpaul said himself: “The whole thing in front of us was scuffed up. It wasn’t just one end, both were scuffed. Anytime you could have got out.”
But Derbyshire showed the fighting spirit that exemplified their three Division One wins.
After a timely 33 from Alex Hughes - a mature performance beyond his years - it was left to the West Indies international to see his side home.
Requiring three to win, with two wickets remaining, Chanderpaul – who ended unbeaten on 74 - gratefully flicked a wayward delivery from Lewis Gregory to the fine-leg boundary to the delight of the diminutive batsman and the visiting dressing room.
His animated celebration, rare from a player of his stature, exhibited his dedication to Derbyshire’s cause.
The mid-season resurgence moved the side out of the bottom two; however, the damage was, sadly, already done as the tenth defeat of the campaign at the hands of Warwickshire in the final fixture confirmed relegation.
It was undoubtedly a disappointing end to the summer.
But in the single summer back in the top, a young developing side got the opportunity to learn their trade at the highest standard going against the best teams around.
There’s an overriding sense that this side will come back stronger than ever and learn from experiences gained.
And with the grit and determination displayed in 2013, and the lessons learnt, many hope an immediate return to the top flight will be on the cards in 2014.
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