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Northamptonshire were saved from a likely Specsavers Championship defeat against Essex by the weather, which allowed only six overs to be bowled on the final day at Wantage Road.

The County closed on 75 for five in their second innings, still 121 runs adrift.

But the 12 points Essex took from the draw did extend their lead at the top of Division Two. Northants, after a fourth-straight draw at home this season and sixth stalemate in seven matches, took 11 points.

The final day began on time under leaden skies and a howling wind with Northamptonshire resuming on 56 for 4, trailing by 140. They lost nightwatchman Ben Sanderson in the fifth over of the morning - giving Ravi Bopara a seventh wicket in the match, one scalp short of a first-class best match haul.

But only one more over was possible before heavy rain arrived and conditions did not improve throughout the afternoon.

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