Essex 434 for 3 dec (Mickleburgh 126, Westley 125) drew with Leicestershire 359 (Thornely 115, Boyce 76, Thakor 62*, Masters 7-60)

With rain again playing the decisive role, Essex and Leicestershire had to settle for a draw in their Division Two match at Chelmsford.

The adverse weather restricted the action to just under half-an-hour in the morning session, long enough for David Masters to claim his seventh wicket and the visitors, resuming on 336 for nine, were bowled out for 359.

This left Essex with a lead of 75 but before they were able to embark upon their second innings, rain returned to wash out further play, stumps being pulled up shortly before 2pm.

Shiv Thakor and Matthew Hoggard carried their last-wicket partnership to 56 before Masters struck to finish with a haul of seven for 60 from 26.5 overs to record his best figures of the season.

He did so by finding the edge of Hoggard's bat to Harbhajan Singh, who pouched his fourth slip catch of the innings. His success in that department was in complete contrast to his bowling where he managed just one wicket at a cost of 96 from 37 overs.

It was the 23rd time in his first-class career that Masters has claimed five or more wickets in an innings, and underlined his liking for playing against his former county. Last year at Southend, he took eight for 10 as the visitors were swept aside for only 34 in their second innings.

Hoggard's departure for 28 left 18-year-old Thakor stranded on 62, his highest score in the Championship. Neat and compact, the teenager's effort included three fours and a six but it was an ability to coax the ball into the gaps that was a feature of his knock.

Essex, who had gone into the match still had slim hopes that victory would keep alive their promotion aspirations, had to settle for 10 points while the visitors emerged with seven on a day when only 5.5 overs were sent down.

In what has proved a miserable summer, Essex have now lost a total of 1,677 overs in the County Championship due to the weather and close on 2,000 overs if the Clydesdale Bank 40 and Friends Life t20 competitions are also taken into account.