Essex's promotion bid was frustrated by rain and bad light as they were forced to settle for a draw in their LV= County Championship match against Kent at Canterbury.
Essex had been on course for a deserved win but only 28.4 overs were possible on the final day as Kent wriggled off the hook to finish 215-7 after being asked to follow-on.
Heavy overnight rain and persistent drizzle led to an early lunch and tea before officials decided play could start at 3.30pm with a minimum 32 overs remaining in the match and with Kent resuming on 113-4 - requiring a further 56 to make Essex bat again.
The hosts suffered an early loss when their top-scorer and opening bat Sam Northeast departed to the 12th ball following the resumption; playing back and across the line to a full-length delivery from left-arm seamer Reece Topley, Northeast departed lbw without addition to his overnight score of 70.
He was replaced by Kent's acting captain Geraint Jones who cracked three rasping boundaries in a brief stay before also departing lbw to Topley for 12 off 13 balls.
Darren Stevens combined with Calum Haggett to take Kent's total past 169, ensuring Essex had to bat again whilst also taking two overs out of the shortened day for a change of innings.
Stevens then became the first Kent batsman to post 1,000 first-class runs, in front of fewer than 30 supporters, for the season when he reached 36 and would go on to make 67 before chipping a loose delivery from Monty Panesar into the hands of Owais Shah.
But, with the light fading, that would be the last wicket to fall as Kent's eighth-wicket pair of Haggett (15) and Mark Davies (10) were able to add a precious 20 runs and see Kent through to 5.12pm when the players shook hands on the draw.