Ryan ten Doeschate's first LV= County Championship century of the summer and a fighting 95 from skipper James Foster enabled Essex to restore some pride the final day of their drawn Division Two match against Northamptonshire at Colchester.
The duo’s efforts helped Essex post a total of 396 in response to 531 from Northants, who then responded with 54 without loss in their second innings as the match petered out.
The only chance of a positive result after the third day had been completely washed out by rain was dependent on Northants capturing the remaining Essex first-innings wickets cheaply after the home side had resumed on 187 for five in pursuit of 382 to avoid the follow-on.
But the sixth-wicket stand between ten Doeschate and Foster took that off the agenda; they put on 180 before being separated on the stroke of lunch.
During the same over in which he reached his century, ten Doeschate departed when he turned off-spinner James Middlebrook into the hands of Ben Duckett at forward short-leg.
Ten Doeschate's 103 from 144 deliveries contained nine fours and a straight-driven six against Middlebrook, and Foster looked set to claim his second century of the campaign before he fell to the same bowler.
Graham Napier weighed in with a fluent 45 from 66 balls while David Masters, who ensured the follow-on would be averted when driving Muhammad Azhar Ullah to the boundary, was left unbeaten on 37 when the Essex innings came to an end.
Essex will bedisappointed they were unable to secure the additional four runs required for maximum batting points, but their final total represented a fine recovery from 103 for five on day two.
Middlebrook, playing against his former county, had the satisfaction of emerging as Northants' most successful bowler with 3-79 from 24 overs, while Trent Copeland finished with 3-81 from 33.