Close of Day 3: Essex lead by 64 runs
By Jake Needham
Derbyshire had been reduced to 28 for 3 late on the first day and – with the second day entirely lost to the weather – they were still 217 in arrears as the third day commenced under cloudy skies at the County Ground.
Losing star all-rounder Wes Durston caught behind, off Masters in the first over of the day, certainly wasn’t in Captain Wayne Madsen’s blueprint for the start of a pivotal session.
But Dan Redfern joined Paul Borrington - recalled for his first championship start since May - and the duo played nicely in a partnership worth 60 for the fifth wicket.
Redfern got his innings off to a flyer unfurling his usual array of sweetly timed cover drives and cuts. Borrington was playing his part too, doing a fine job blunting the Essex quick bowlers, and neatly tucking away anything that strayed onto his hips.
It was that man Masters again, this time with the advantage of the wind on his back, who trapped Borrington lbw for 42, leaving the hosts 92 for 5.
Things got worse with the score on 111 when, on the stroke of lunch, Redfern was dismissed by Napier for 31 caught smartly in the slips; 111-6.
David Wainwright joined Ross Whiteley after lunch and the former Yorkshire all-rounder opted to attack.
This method saw him notch up a boundary, struck sweetly down the ground, but in trying to loft the tall seamer a second time, he only managed to scoop tamely into the hands of Graham Napier at mid-off. This brought Masters his fifth scalp of the innings - the 24th five wicket haul of his career – and Derbyshire had slumped to 120-7.
But Derbyshire under the Krikken/Madsen aegis once again demonstrated the true grit and resilience that’s characterised their season, this time exemplified by Whiteley and his fellow Academy graduate Tom Poynton.
With Poynton full of confidence after a maiden hundred last week - and Whitleley showing all his trademark power and belligerence - the two batsmen took advantage of a softening ball and a tiring attack as they resurrected the home side and achieved a first batting point (200 runs) 20 minutes before the tea interval.
The pair had advanced the score to 206 when Tom Craddock spun a vicious leg-break through Whiteley’s attempt to cover-drive; Derbyshire 206-8.
There were no further losses up to the tea interval and the score of 221 for 8 represented a spirited recovery from the Derbyshire batsman.
But, as the new ball was taken immediately after tea, Napier uprooted Tim Groenewald’s middle-stump for an invaluable 18.
Poynton and Turner ticked off the runs which took the score past 250 and notched a crucial second batting point before Craddock returned to have Turner (lbw for 13) to end the innings on 266, Poynton finishing unbeaten on 55.
Essex, for whom only a win will do to keep their hunt for promotion alive, shot out of the blocks and reached 85-1 in 19 overs by the close with Tom Westley scoring 51 not out from just 54 balls.
Owais Shah is 36 not out overnight. Jaik Mickleburgh was caught behind off Groenewald for 4.
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