Derbyshire (8 points) drew with Essex (7 points)
Derbyshire played out a draw at the County Ground on a day where all three results were possible up to the completion of the game.
Essex had set the hosts 274 in 58 balls to secure victory and a 107 run partnership between Wes Durston and Dan Redfern gave Derbyshire a chance.
However a middle order collapse saw Derbyshire reduced to 163-7 before Ross Whiteley and Tony Palladino batted the home side to safety and ensure an important nine points as the LV=County Championship reaches its climax.
With Essex realistically needing a victory to remain in the promotion mix heading into the final two rounds of fixtures, the visitors looked to assert themselves in the morning, having reached 89-1 overnight.
However they lost Owais Shah early, the former England man caught at extra cover by Wayne Madsen off Tony Palladino for 26; Palladino’s 50th victim in the LV=County Championship this season.
Tom Westley and Mark Pettini then took Essex’ lead past 100 before the former was caught at the wicket off Mark Turner immediately after recording his half century.
With Essex required to take the initiative in order to force a result, Ryan ten Doeschate and James Foster then upped the tempo a little; taking their side to 243-4 at Lunch and a lead of 222 runs.
Upon resumption, there was a carbon copy of Pettini’s dismissal as ten Doeschate reached 50, only to almost immediately be dismissed in the same fashion off Turner.
Still Essex batted on, Foster reaching his half century with a straight six off David Wainwright, however the declaration soon followed with the score 294-5; Derbyshire set 274 from a minimum of 58 overs to win.
The visitors began the pursuit confidently, reaching 42 without loss before Madsen was trapped LBW to David Masters for 31.
Paul Borrington (13) and Usman Khawaja (6) then departed in quick succession, both succumbing to a Foster stumping off young leg-spinner Tom Craddock, to leave Derbyshire 51-3.
The succession of wickets was then halted as Wes Durston and Dan Redfern guided the hosts to 69-3 at Tea.
Any hopes Essex had of winning were firmly snatched away from them in the final session of the match as both Durston and Redfern batted confidently and sensibly; taking the hosts past the 100 run mark.
Durston then brought up his 50, coming from 81 balls and including four fours and a six.
An increase in the run rate ensured the pair brought up the 100 run partnership and with it, Derbyshire a slim opportunity to go for the victory.
However with 116 further runs required, Graham Napier accounted for Redfern, whose leadine edge found Owais Shah at mid-on; the left-hander gone for 46.
The dismissal of Redfern then acted as a catalyst for further wickets, with Durston playing on off Craddock for 60 before Wainwright followed suit in the same over; bowled without scoring.
When Poynton departed, edging behind off Masters for one, Derbyshire were suddenly 163-7 and needing to bat out the remaining 12 overs to secure a draw.
Whiteley (11*) and Palladino (1*) then calmed the Derbyshire nerves by batting through the next 20 minues and with six overs remaining, the umpires decided that the rain that had been falling lightly for some time had become too heavy to continue.
Shortly after, and with the 6:17pm cut off time looming, the players shook hands on a draw with Derbyshire securing eight points to Essex' seven.
© 2014 Derbyshire County Cricket Club
The 3aaa County Ground, Grandstand Road, Derby DE21 6AF. Tel: 01332 388 101
Website design by: www.thisismedia.co.uk