Derbyshire face record chase
Derbyshire 319 and 30 for 0 v Northamptonshire 201 and 469
Derbyshire will have to rewrite the county's record books to deny promotion-chasing Northamptonshire victory at Chesterfield. Half-centuries from Rob Newton and James Middlebrook led a spirited fightback from the lower order that carried the visitors to 469, setting Derbyshire a target of 352. Derbyshire's highest fourth-innings total to win a County Championship match is 350 for 3 - coincidentally against Northants - at Derby in 1982 and by the close they were 30 without loss.
Newton made 82 and Middlebrook 84 but young pace bowler Gavin Baker also played a valuable innings on his debut, scoring 36 as the last three wickets added 167. Such a strong position had seemed unlikely early in the day, when Derbyshire looked firm favourites after overnight pair Ben Howgego and David Sales fell in consecutive overs from Steffan Jones.
Sales was first to go, eight short of his second century of the season, when he played across the line and Jones then beat Howgego's attempted drive to bowl the opener for 80. When Andrew Hall pulled Jon Clare to square leg, Northants were only 103 in front with five wickets down but Newton and Elton Chigumbura set the tone for the defiance that was to come. They added 60 in 13 overs before Chigumbura shouldered arms and was bowled by Jones on the stroke of lunch, but the rest of the day belonged to the visitors.
Derbyshire rotated their bowlers but could not polish off the tail as Newton and Middlebrook started to take the game away from the team that are propping up the championship. They shared an eighth-wicket stand of 69 in 12 overs and Newton was in sight of a century in only his second first-class game when he pulled Greg Smith's offspin into the hands of midwicket.
But there was more frustration for the bowlers to come as Middlebrook scored his first Championship fifty of the season and, with Baker, put on 74 in 27 overs. By tea, Northants were already 292 in front and another 35 runs were added before Middlebrook tried to hit Robin Peterson over the top and was caught by Clare running back at mid-on.
Baker and Lee Daggett took the lead past 350 and Derbyshire had 16 overs to negotiate but should have lost skipper Chris Rogers shortly after he completed 1,000 runs for the season. The Australian was on six when he edged Chigumbura to second slip, where Sales put down the chance. Rogers and Wayne Madsen battled through to the close to leave Derbyshire requiring a further 322 on the last day.