LV County Championship - Division Two
Edgbaston - Day Four
Warwickshire 154 (Danish Kaneria 6-48) & 68-2 dec v Essex 216 (G R Napier 76, W B Rankin 4-80)
Warwickshire (7pts) drew with Essex (8pts)
Graham Napier smashed 76 from 62 balls to earn an extra point for Essex in their rain-ruined draw with Warwickshire at Edgbaston.
It was the hard-hitting all-rounder's first Championship half-century in 13 months, as Essex reached 216 and then gave the home side an early scare before they cleared a deficit of 62 by making 68 for two.
The stalemate in Birmingham was good news for promotion favourites Worcestershire, now 10 points ahead of Warwickshire and 23 clear of Northamptonshire.
The top three have played 12 matches and Essex have a game in hand as they trail the Division Two leaders by 40 points.
There was never much hope of a result with the first innings a long way from being completed when Essex began the final day on 38 for two. But Warwickshire's seamers quickly caused problems and Essex were 13 short of a batting point having lost their ninth wicket.
With Mark Pettini not expected to make an appearance following a visit to an eye specialist, the players were about to turn back to the pavilion when the Essex captain made a last-minute decision to bat.
Napier had already made a move with two sixes off Salisbury and he followed up with two more boundary clearances off the seamers. An entertaining innings had also included 10 fours by the time he skied a simple return chance to seamer Boyd Rankin.
Danish Kaneria helped himself to six wickets as Essex dismantled Warwickshire's batting line-up as their top-of-the-table match finally got under way at Edgbaston.
After two days lost to rain, Kaneria collected figures of 6-48 as the Bears were bowled out for just 154.
Twelve wickets fell in all on the third day, as Essex reached 38-2 in their reply.
Darren Maddy (47) and Ian Westwood (40) put on 74 for Warwickshire's second wicket, but once Chris Wright removed Westwood to break up their partnership the home side were always in trouble.
They lost their last seven wickets for just 33 runs, with Wright claiming a further two to finish with 3-21.
Will Rankin and Chris Woakes then picked up a wicket apiece as Essex struggled for runs in the evening session.
Essex and Warwickshire's LV County Championship promotion clash at Edgbaston was a washout on Wednesday for the second day on the trot.
Umpires John Holder and Martin Bodenham had abandoned the opening day of the contest at lunchtime on Tuesday.
And they did the same again at 2.30pm 24 hours later after an overnight storm and steady rain meant ground conditions had barely improved.
The abandonment was a blow to both Division Two promotion rivals, who were bidding to close the gap on leaders Worcestershire at the top.
It was also not the ideal preparation for Essex - who had also sat out last week's round of four-day matches - as they get set to take on Kent in the showpiece Friends Provident Trophy final at Lord's on Saturday.
Their coach Paul Grayson is looking for a big push on two fronts in the closing weeks of the season.
Promotion is the priority for the club which has two games in hand on leaders Worcestershire, but Saturday's 50-over final represents the chance to win some early silverware.
It also provides Essex with the opportunity of gaining revenge after their defeat at the hands of Kent in the Twenty20 Cup semi-final.
Warwickshire's promotion charge was halted by the rain after the first day of their LV County Championship match against Essex at Edgbaston was called off without a ball being bowled.
It is the second four-day match in succession which has fallen foul to the weather - last week's home clash with Northamptonshire was ruined by a washout on the third day.
Warwickshire currently trail leaders Worcestershires by 17 points at the top of Division Two but the Royals are not playing this week and the meeting with Essex is an opportunity for the Bears to close the gap.
Results have been hard enough to come by Edgbaston without rain delays. All five home matches this season have been drawn and Warwickshire have not won at home in the Championship since beating Sussex in April last year.
Play never looked likely at Edgbaston following heaving rain in he early hours of the morning but a brighter interlude raised hopes of getting some play in the afternoon.
However two more storms swamped the ground and umpires John Holder and Martin Bodenham made the call-off decision after lunch.