Rain ends Derbyshire hopes of first championship win for two years
Derbyshire were left cursing their luck as their Specsavers County Championship match against Nottinghamshire ended in a draw.
As they closed in on a first victory for almost two years, bad light and rain forced the players from the Trent Bridge pitch.
Having bossed most of the contest against their local rivals, Derbyshire were just 26 runs away from inflicting defeat on the Division Two leaders.
Set to score 216 from a minimum of 49 overs, they had reached 190 for five when the conditions deteriorated for the final time. Wayne Madsen had led the charge towards an historic win, making 61 from 57 balls, and Gary Wilson was unbeaten on 31.
Earlier, Nottinghamshire’s second innings was wrapped up quickly for 349, with Tom Taylor and Jeevan Mendis taking the final four wickets to fall.
Taylor ended with figures of four for 67, with the Sri Lankan leg spinner grabbing four for 96.
After the entire morning session had been wiped out, play eventually got underway at 1.45pm with Notts resuming on 313 for six, leading by 179.
Derbyshire’s attack struck quickly, with Brett Hutton being bowled by Taylor for 11 but Chris Read advanced to his second 50 of the summer in the next over, getting there from 60 balls, with five fours and a six.
Taylor enjoyed an inspired spell to pick up two further wickets in quick succession, having Luke Wood caught at long leg without scoring, before pinning Luke Fletcher lbw for one.
A ‘phoney war’ was played out over several overs as Read turned down several singles to keep Harry Gurney from the strike.
Read found a flurry of boundaries, and another six, to reach 74 and was left undefeated as Gurney hit Mendis to point.
Luis Reece was dismissed in the seventh over of the chase, hitting Fletcher to mid off for 14. Billy Godleman, who made 121 in the first innings, was clearly key to the prospects of both sides but he fell at the start of the final session.
After hitting Wood for consecutive fours, the Derbyshire captain nibbled at his next delivery and flicked it firmly through to wicketkeeper Read for 22.
Shiv Thakor and Wayne Madsen added 67 for the third wicket before Gurney had the former caught behind for 25.
Madsen reached his half-century with a six off the same bowler but then gifted Nottinghamshire his wicket. Dancing down the track towards Samit Patel he sliced the ball out to Hutton at deep backward point for 61, made from only 57 balls.
The final hour brought another stoppage, lopping five overs off the day. When they returned Fletcher, who took two for 46, pinned Hughes lbw for 24 but there wasn’t time for any further progress by either side as the gloom gave way to heavy rain.
Notts take nine bonus points from the drawn contest, leaving them still clear at the top of the Second Division table, although chasers Worcestershire and Kent remain within range with games in hand.
Their next contest, starting on Friday, is away at Bristol against Gloucestershire.
Derbyshire remain without a championship win since July 2015 but they will take heart from their performance over the first two days when they established an advantage of 134 runs, the first time since 1999 that they had taken a first innings lead at Nottingham.
They take 12 points from the contest and move up to eighth spot in the table, with a trip to Northampton coming up later this week.