LV County Championship - Division Two
DerbyDerbyshire 247 (P S Jones 54 no, T J Murtagh 7-82) & 258-7 dec (C J L Rogers 76, W L Madsen 71) v Middlesex 226-9 dec (O A Shah 129 no, G G Wagg 5-88) & 121-1 Match Abandoned (N R D Compton 62 no)
Derbyshire (8pts) drew with Middlesex (8pts)
Middlesex remain without an LV County Championship Division Two win to their name this season following their draw at Derbyshire.
The visitors had a chance of claiming a first four-day win before rain halted their charge towards Derbyshire's target of 280 in a minimum of 68 overs.
Rain just after lunch left Middlesex with only 50 overs to get the runs but they were still on course with Owais Shah, who hit an unbeaten 129 in the first innings, again in commanding form.
The England batsman had scored 23 off 13 balls and, with Nick Compton going well on 62, Middlesex were 121-1 from 24 overs when the rain returned at 4.30pm.
With no prospect of conditions improving, the game was abandoned at 5pm with both sides taking eight points.
With both counties searching for points at differing ends of the table, play resumed on day four with Derbyshire wasting little time building on their lead of 159.
Wayne Madsen and Dan Redfearn added 61 in 15 overs before Redfearn went for 43, sweeping Shaun Udal into the hands of wide midwicket.
Madsen followed his debut century at Cheltenham last week with 71 but fell to an excellent diving catch by Shah when he tried to reverse sweep Udal.
Promising pace bowler Steven Finn picked up three quick wickets as Derbyshire pressed the accelerator in search of a declaration, which came when Tim Groenewald was caught behind with the total on 258.
That left Middlesex needing to score at just above four an over, although the asking rate climbed to more than five after a frustrating rain delay.
But Compton and Sam Robson gave their side an excellent start by scoring 64 from 16 overs before tea. Their stand was broken after a smart piece of fielding by Derbyshire skipper Chris Rogers sent Robson back for 29 when he was beaten by a direct hit from point.
Shah, keen to stake his claim for an England recall, came to the middle with the score on 86 after 20 overs and he kept Middlesex on track with some glorious strokes.
With Compton well set on 62 from 72 balls, it was Middlesex who looked likely winners, however the black clouds rolled in to send the players back to the pavilion for the last time.
The result means Derbyshire are five points behind leaders Kent and remain unbeaten at home in the championship since September 2007.
Owais Shah gave the England selectors a timely of his qualities with a superb unbeaten century to ensure that Middlesex remained in their match with Derbyshire.
Shah, who is in the mix to step in for the injured Kevin Pietersen, stroked 129 off 182 balls in a Middlesex total of 226-9 declared, with skipper Shaun Udal opting to declare in order to try and set up a result in the weather-affected contest.
Without Shah's efforts, the visitors would have been in deep trouble with no-one else able to reach 20 and only three players hitting double figures.
Graham Wagg did much of the damage for Derbyshire, finishing with figures of 5-88 with his mixture of seam-up and slow left-arm spin.
Despite the constant fall of wickets at the other end, Shah brought up his near faultless ton from 136 balls and out of a total of just 161.
He was eventually given some decent support from Steven Finn and Alan Richardson with whom he added 58 runs in 16 overs before Udal's declaration.
With a first innings lead of 21, Derbyshire had reached 138-2 by the close with skipper Chris Rogers blazing a quick-fire 76 from 82 balls.
With a lead of 159, the hosts will be looking to push on and try and force a final-day result.
Middlesex seamer Tim Murtagh claimed career-best figures as Derbyshire were bowled out for 247 on day two.
With the opening day having been completely lost to the weather, Middlesex skipper Shaun Udal opted to bowl after winning the toss.
And Murtagh bagged 7-82 to destroy the home batting line-up and fully justify Udal's decision.
Murtagh removed Chris Rogers lbw for a duck in the fifth over but Derbyshire looked to have regrouped as Wayne Madsen and Garry Park put on 77 for the second wicket.
However, Steven Finn (3-59) accounted for Madsen (43) and Park (32), and Murtagh chipped in with the scalps of Wavell Hinds (7), Dan Redfern (13), Greg Smith (6) and Graham Wagg (14) - while Jamie Pipe (7) was forced to retire hurt with a twisted left ankle - as the hosts slumped to 139-7.
Tim Groenewald (48) and Steffan Jones (54no) counter-attacked during an eighth-wicket stand of 91 that took Derbyshire beyond 200.
But Murtagh added two of the final three wickets to complete a fine personal effort in just his second match back after a hamstring injury.
Middlesex lost Sam Robson (1) on the way to stumps at 16-1 in reply, still 231 behind.
Derbyshire's promotion charge suffered a mini set-back after day one of their LV County Championship Division Two clash with Middlesex was washed out.
Steady rain across the county prevented a single delivery being bowled at the County Ground before umpires Jeff Evans and Nick Cook called it a day at 2.30pm.
Derbyshire came into the match in second place, 13 points behind leaders Kent, who are not involved in this round of games, while Middlesex are bottom without a win in seven matches.
If the weather improves over the next three days, Derbyshire will fancy their chances of preserving their unbeaten home County Championship record which dates back to September 2007.