Durham's hopes of boosting their title challenge by winning at Derby were frustrated by a combination of accurate Derbyshire bowling and bad weather on the third day of the LV= County Championship match.
The Division One leaders have never won a Championship game at the County Ground and their chances of ending that run appear to be fading after they closed 41 runs behind on 257-4 when rain ended play early.
Scott Borthwick with 89 and Will Smith, 81, shared a third wicket stand of 159 in 62 overs but Derbyshire kept them in check and the game now looks to be heading for a draw.
Durham had to score quickly to get in a position where they could put Derbyshire under pressure but Borthwick and Smith found it hard to get the ball away on a slow pitch against disciplined bowling.
The leaders also had to be careful they did not lose wickets trying to force the pace and Derbyshire limited their scoring opportunities by bowling tightly throughout a hard-fought day.
With their Division One status on the line, Derbyshire needed the bowling points and they were unlucky not to pick up several wickets during a morning session in which only 88 runs were scored in 31 overs.
Both batsmen played and missed a number of times but maintained their concentration to slowly edge Durham towards Derbyshire's first innings total of 298.
When Borthwick got to 44, he became the first home-grown Durham batsman to score 1,000 first-class runs for the county since 2005 but the fact that his fifty contained only five fours showed how well Derbyshire had bowled.
Smith needed 125 balls to reach his half-century and any plans Durham had of raising the tempo after lunch were frustrated by more accurate seam and spin bowling.
Tony Palladino and David Wainwright conceded only 13 runs in 11 overs and the pressure told when Shivnarine Chanderpaul snared Borthwick with his occasional leg-spin.
Borthwick had scored 89 in four hours when he tried to dispatch a long-hop for his eighth four and was caught low down by Tim Groenewald at mid on.
With Wainwright conceding only 19 runs in 14 overs, Derbyshire delayed taking the second new ball but when they did claim it, Mark Footitt removed Smith with a rapid ball that the batsmen edged to second slip as he tried to take his bat away.
Paul Collingwood passed 13,000 first-class runs before the rain washed out the last 21 overs but barring anything dramatic on the last day, his team's chances of conjuring a win look remote.