Derbyshire settle for frustrating draw
Derbyshire182 and 189 for 6 drew with Middlesex 263 and 221 for 7 dec.
An unbeaten 92 from Middlesex captain Neil Dexter frustrated Derbyshire hopes of chasing down victory on the final day of their County Championship Division Two match at the County Ground. By the time Dexter chose to declare his side's second innings at 221 for 7 half an hour after lunch, bottom-of-the-table Derbyshire were left needing an unlikely 303 to win in 53 overs. Chris Rogers led the Derbyshire charge after tea with 96 but the home side fell well short at 189 for 6 as the contest finished in a draw.
The clatter of 21 wickets on the previous day breathed life back into a match that had lost four full sessions to the weather but Derbyshire needed to quickly wrap up the Middlesex second innings on the final morning to stay in with a realistic chance of snapping a winless streak stretching back to late April.
They did break through in the sixth over of the day when Gareth Berg was caught by wicketkeeper Steve Adshead off Steffan Jones to make it 98 for 5 - but Dexter proved far tougher to shift. He did lose another partner before lunch, when Tom Smith was bowled by left-arm spinner Robin Peterson for 33, but by then the Middlesex lead overall was 258 and time was against Derbyshire.
With his primary concern to allow Derbyshire little hope of winning the game and so increase his side's chances of avoiding the wooden spoon, Dexter stretched that lead beyond 300 but resisted the temptation to push on for his own century. He left the field having struck 10 fours and a six and having made virtually sure that Middlesex would go home with at least a draw.
Derbyshire laid a solid base at 56 for nought when a shower forced an early tea, though Wayne Madsen was dropped on one by substitute fielder Dan Housego at point at the beginning of the second over.
Rogers, his side's top scorer with 75 in the first innings, was the main cause of concern for Middlesex again as Derbyshire came out after tea to chance their arm. The openers pushed their stand on to 131 before Madsen skied a sweep at the bowling of veteran spinner Shaun Udal and was caught at midwicket by Owais Shah for 41.
That was to prove the end of the Derbyshire challenge and after Rogers was caught behind reaching for a bouncer from Toby Roland-Jones at 156 for 4, two more quick wickets meant a Middlesex victory could not be ruled out. Peterson and Adshead saw out the remaining 13 overs but Middlesex finished the happier of the two counties.