What looked set for a good finish eventually petered out into a draw this afternoon, though not before Derbyshire's batting had done well to set a challenging total against Essex.
'Peeved Paul' below the last piece is unhappy with the declaration and the fact that we didn't get it right to ensure a close finish, but I disagree. The only result in a tight finish would have been a win for the visitors, as their closing tally, with two unbeaten centurions, suggested that there were few last day alarms in the wicket, something that seemed likely to be the case yesterday, when our innings progressed at a merry old rate.
The main reason that the game petered out was, ironically, the three early wickets that Mark Footitt took in one over that removed Westley, Bopara and Ryder. Any intention that the visitors had in making a genuine challenge disappeared at that point and although David Wainwright took an early wicket in his spell, the wicket was simply too moribund by the end for the home side to force a win. Indeed, it looked like Essex were gearing up for a final assault and with Smith and Napier still to come could have gone close, but the skippers shook hands and a draw was perhaps, in the end, a fair result.
It was a good game of cricket, but really needed the wicket to deteriorate on the final day to become the perfect cricket track. When a young number ten such as Tom Taylor can bat without concern, the batsmen on both sides should be cashing in, especially after the initial bounce of the new ball has gone.
Most of them did. Derbyshire can be pleased with a much improved level of performance throughout the side in which pretty much everyone made a contribution of some kind. Essex are a decent side and have a number of big name players, but we matched them throughout and can be proud of that, after failing to do so on too many occasions this summer.
The sun shone on Chesterfield too and there are few finer sights in cricket on a sunny day. I hope that the game realised the income that the club will have hoped for, something that should be a certainty for Sunday's game against our old rivals Yorkshire.
More on that as we approach the weekend.
For now, enjoy the rest of your evening.
Postscript - congratulations to Nick Browne for a terrific effort that resulted in an unbeaten century in each innings. Great stuff for a young player to be on the pitch for the entire game and something to be very proud of.