A dismal draw at Edgbaston has almost certainly killed off Warwickshire's slim hopes of retaining their title and also dealt a blow to Sussex's bid to make a late run for this year's crown.
Caution appeared to overrule ambition as Sussex declined to set the champions a target and simply batted out time until the captains shook hands at 4.50pm. By then the south coast side had meandered along to 394-9, a lead of 311.
It was a pity that a keenly contested game, containing a lot of good cricket up to Jeetan Patel's 50th championship wicket of the season on the last afternoon, had to wither away.
The most meaningful passage was in the morning when Warwickshire's bowlers might have created a winning position as Sussex resumed only 65 ahead with seven wickets standing.
Nightwatchman Will Beer served his brief by batting through the first hour until trapped in front by Recordo Gordon.
This brought in Rory Hamilton-Brown to play the one innings that suggested Sussex were prepared to consider a challenging declaration.
Although not in particularly good form since his return to the county, he retains a positive instinct. Early on he picked up a couple of sixes and in the hour to lunch he made 36 from 49 balls while Joyce added only nine from 57.
Sussex did achieve some acceleration against the new ball after the interval.
Hamilton-Brown reached his first championship half-century in two months and the fifth wicket partnership eventually raised 106 before Joyce was leg-before to Keith Barker for 68.
When Warwickshire reverted to Patel, the New Zealander reached his 50-wicket milestone when Hamilton-Brown was leg-before for 75, attempting to heave the off-spinner over mid-wicket.
Matt Machan (27) chased a wide one from Gordon, edging to substitute wicketkeeper Pete McKay, but by then it was clear that the game was dead.
In what remained, Chris Jordan was caught at slip off Ateeq Javid for 27 and Ian Westwood took his first championship wicket in four years when Steve Magoffin was lbw for a duck.