Masters shines before Derbyshire respond

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David Masters claimed another five-wicket haul before Derbyshire's lower order fought back strongly to leave the LV= County Championship match against Essex at Derby fascinatingly poised.

The seamer finished with impressive figures of 5-51 from 30 overs but half-centuries from Ross Whiteley and Tom Poynton helped the Division Two leaders rally to reach 266, a lead of 21.

Derbyshire's last three wickets put on 146 and Essex lost Jaik Mickleburgh in the fourth over of their second innings, only for an attacking unbeaten fifty from Tom Westley to carry the visitors to 85 for one, a lead of 64, at the close of day three.

David Masters

David Masters claimed his third five-wicket haul of the season, but Division Two leaders Derbyshire showed some fight against Essex

Masters was easily the pick of the Essex attack and took his third wicket when having Wes Durston caught behind for one with only four added to the overnight total.

At 32 for four, Essex were in a strong position, but no-one else posed the same threat as Masters; Paul Borrington and Dan Redfern began the recovery in overcast conditions that favoured seam bowling.

The pair dug in for 15 overs and put on 60 before Borrington's disciplined 42 from 99 balls ended when he was struck in line pushing half forward at Masters.

Redfern played some handsome drives but it was a loose stroke just before lunch that betrayed him as he edged Graham Napier into the hands of second slip.

When David Wainwright skied a drive to mid-off to give Masters his third five-for of the season, Derbyshire were in trouble at 120 for seven. But, just as in the Essex innings, an eighth-wicket turned matters.

Whiteley flicked Maurice Chambers, who proved expensive, over square-leg for six en route to his second fifty of the summer and Derbyshire had their first batting point in the bank before Tom Craddock beat Whiteley's attempted drive.

But there was more resistance to come from the tail as Tim Groenewald joined Poynton to add another 34 runs in 10 overs.

Although Napier then beat Groenewald for pace, Mark Turner helped Poynton secure a second batting point.

The pair scored 26 to give the home side an unexpected lead of 21 and Essex had only just wiped out the deficit when Mickleburgh was caught behind driving at Groenewald.

Westley's driving was more productive as he plundered 10 fours in his 51 and, with Owais Shah unbeaten on 26, Essex will go into the last day with a chance of forcing the victory they need to keep their slim promotion hopes alive.

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