County Championship: Essex and Warwickshire draw after rain ruins final day

Just 17 balls were possible after lunch on the final day at Chelmsford
LV= County Championship Group One, Cloudfm County Ground, Chelmsford (day four):
Warwickshire 166 & 66-1: Briggs 37
Essex 217: A Cook 57, Ten Doeschate 56; Rhodes 3-21, Norwell 3-48
Essex (12 pts) drew with Warwickshire (11 pts)

Essex and Warwickshire played out a rain-affected draw with only 23 overs possible on day four at Chelmsford.

The Bears resumed trailing by 51, but Danny Briggs (37) and Will Rhodes (22 not out) ticked off the deficit without loss before rain brought an early lunch at 63-0.

Briggs cracked Sam Cook to Dan Lawrence at cover four balls after the restart to give Essex the breakthrough.

But the rain returned two overs later and stumps were called at 16:30 BST.

A third draw of the season, allied to two wins, temporarily took Essex top of Group One, but Nottinghamshire replaced them following their victory over Worcestershire by an innings and 170 runs, while Warwickshire sit fourth in a tightly-packed top five.

After eking out a 51-run first-innings lead on day three, Essex's attack needed quick wickets to force an unlikely result.

However, they were unable to break through in the 20 overs possible before lunch as Briggs and Rhodes put the Bears 12 runs ahead, effectively sealing a draw before the returning rain confirmed it.

Essex fast bowling coach Andre Nel:

"There are still plenty of positives to take out the game and some bonus points. Guys are beating each in this group that you don't expect to be beating each other.

"It is going to be close on this group but that was a point gained on Warwickshire. All we can do is control what we can control.

"That is the best we've bowled as a unit this season so far which is the real positive to take forward. We just need a bit of luck and we can go on a roll like we can."

Warwickshire head coach Mark Robinson told BBC CWR:

"A win and a draw against Essex is a good return. They are a good team. We would have taken that at the start of the season.

"We knew that we couldn't have won the game. That was out of the window. To only be 50 runs behind in the first innings if we had gone well in the second innings we could have put a lot of pressure on Essex on a wearing wicket but the game never had a chance to fully unfold.

"I'm pleased for Briggsy and the captain got a red inker but there isn't much more you can say on a day like this."

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