Billy Godleman staged a one-man road block to halt Gloucestershire’s victory charge and steer Derbyshire to a draw on the final day of the LV County championship Division Two match at Derby.
The opener dug in for 320 minutes to score an unbeaten 64 from 228 balls after Derbyshire’s hopes of chasing down a target of 302 from a minimum of 80 overs were dashed by three wickets from David Payne which reduced the home side to 63-4.
Derbyshire went into the last hour with only three wickets intact but Tony Palladino joined Godleman to survive 15 overs as the home side reached safety at 189-8.
After all of day three had been lost, it was clear some negotiations were needed if there was to be a positive result and Derbyshire’s declaration on their overnight total of 77 for 2 showed both sides were prepared to open the game up.
Gloucestershire increased a lead of 252 with Chris Dent and Will Tavare adding 49 in 14 overs before the day’s second declaration but Derbyshire were knocked back from the start by an excellent opening spell from David Payne.
Running in from the City End, Payne struck with his second ball which trapped Ben Slater lbw and Derbyshire lost Chesney Hughes five overs later when he got a leading edge to cover trying to work Craig Miles through midwicket.
When Tillakaratne Dilshan played over a full length ball from Payne, Derbyshire were 35 -3 and Gloucestershire’s hopes climbed again in the fifth over after lunch when Scott Elstone cut Payne to point.
But Thakor and acting captain Godleman played sensibly through the rest of the afternoon to take their side to 118-4 at tea which left Derbyshire to score another 184 from 33 overs.
More realistically Gloucestershire needed six more wickets and they got one of them seven overs into the final session when Thakor went back to Jack Taylor and was lbw.
It was now a question of whether Derbyshire could hold out but they lost another wicket five overs later when Harvey Hosein was bowled by a full length ball from Liam Norwell.
After Matt Critchley edged a drive into his stumps, Gloucestershire went into the last hour needing three more wickets from 16 overs but Godleman was the one they wanted and he stood resolutely in their path as he completed his fifty after four-and-a-half hours in the middle.
Palladino also played his part, batting for 55 minutes until he played on to Taylor but although Gloucestershire claimed the new ball for the last over, they could not remove Godleman who faced 194 dot balls to earn his side an eight point draw.
“To chase 300 runs in 80 overs you need at least six wickets in hand in the last 90 minutes of the day and we’d lost four just after lunch so it was always going to be a tough ask from there,” Godleman said.
Gloucestershire captain Geraint Jones added: “We took some early wickets and there was only one team pushing for the win but full credit to my boys because right to the end we gave it everything we could.”