County Championship: Ryder hits ton as Essex draw with Northants
|LV= County Championship Division Two, County Ground (day four)|
|Essex 276 and 506-9 dec: Westley 179, Ryder 124, Kleinveldt 5-138|
|Northants 444 & 115-3: Levi 53no, Newton 33|
|Northants drew with Essex|
|Essex 9 pts, Northants 13 pts|
All-rounder Jesse Ryder completed a final-day century for Essex at Wantage Road before their game against Northants petered out to a draw.
The New Zealander hit two sixes and 10 fours in his 124 before being caught at cover point off Ollie Stone.
Tom Westley added 15 to his overnight unbeaten 164 before Rory Kleinveldt (5-138) ended their 258-run stand.
Essex declared on 506-9, 339 ahead, and Northants were 115-3 when a halt was called, with Richard Levi 53 not out.
|Essex had to press physio Chris Clarke-Irons into service as a substitute fielder for David Masters in the final session - and he took to the field wearing Jamie Porter's sweater.|
The result meant that the two teams have still only won one game each this season, with Essex remaining at the bottom of the Division Two table.
They opted not to press for quick runs on a benign surface, but benefitted from three dropped catches and Ryan ten Doeschate helped himself to a 95-ball half-century to reach 76 not out when the declaration came.
Stephen Peters was unable to open for Northants because of a finger injury and the early loss of Alex Wakely and Rob Keogh gave Essex a glimmer of hope.
But Rob Newton made 33 and Levi struck four fours in one Adeel Malik over as he added a 59-ball half-century to his first-innings 168.
Northants skipper Alex Wakely:
"We wanted a pitch with a bit more life in it, a bit like the Gloucestershire game we played here early in the season (when) we played some good cricket and put ourselves in a good position and the pitch ultimately won.
"I've been saying for a while about the top five getting big hundreds and Rich Levi played outstandingly, as good as I've seen him play, people are chipping in and it's coming together.
"We're just lacking that win, and at one point in this game we thought we'd be pushing, but each innings the pitch got better and better."
Essex head coach Paul Grayson:
"It was hard work, Northants dominated those first two days and we had to show our character these last two days to save the game.
"Tom Westley played a brilliant knock, probably the best I've seen him play and Jesse equally as well, a slightly different type of innings as he had to play second fiddle.
"It's a draw after losing three on the trot and there's still areas for us to improve, particularly first innings, scoring runs, as 276 on that surface wasn't good enough but (there have been) positive signs the last two days."