Middlebrook ton but Derbyshire delay Northants victory
|LV County Championship Division Two, Chesterfield|
|Close of play, day three: Northants 267 & 416-9dec, Derbyshire 190 & 289-8|
|Derbyshire 3pts, Northants 3pts|
Derbyshire delayed Northants' hopes of victory in three days at Chesterfield despite James Middlebrook's third Championship century of the summer.
Resuming on 285-6, Middlebrook made an unbeaten 101 as Northants declared on 416-9, setting the visitors an unlikely 494 to win.
With Derbyshire on 221-7, it looked as if it would not go to a final day.
But, despite Northants claiming the extra half hour, the Derbyshire tail wagged to reach 289-8 at the close.
On the day it was announced that he is leaivng at the end of the season for Worcester, Northants' best performer was left-arm paceman David Lucas, who took 3-60.
Northants should take another big stride towards promotion by wrapping up victory on Saturday morning. But they had only themselves to blame for not earning a day off.
Tim Groenewald was dropped twice in the slips before being caught off bat pad at silly point, and skipper Andrew Hall saw another slip catch go down off his bowling as Jon Clare and Tony Palladino held on to take the match into the fourth morning.
Derbyshire had been set the task of scoring the highest fourth-innings total in their history, but they have so far fallen well short despite decent efforts from Simon Redfern (58) and Martin Guptill (46).