BEN Cox’s unbeaten knock of 60 from 148 balls guided his side to an unlikely draw on a gripping final day of the LV=Insurance County Championship match against Derbyshire at Derby.

Cox batted for 31 overs with Ed Barnard and 14 with Joe Leach to steer Worcestershire to 193 for 8 at the close.

Derbyshire appeared to be heading for victory when Matt Critchley struck twice in two overs to leave Worcestershire on 176 for 8 but Cox and Leach stood firm.

Ben Aitchison took three for eight in 23 balls but in the end, Derbyshire were left to rue their decision to bat on for nearly 40 minutes in the morning before declaring on 312 for 5.

It left Worcestershire to score 398, or more realistically, to bat out 86 overs to save the match and Daryl Mitchell and Jake Libby encountered few problems until Critchley was brought on in the 11th over.

Libby edged his third delivery straight to Billy Godleman at slip who dropped it but two balls later, he plunged forward to take a smart catch to remove Mitchell.

It was a big wicket and the hosts had another before lunch when Libby limply hung out his bat and played on to Hudson-Prentice.

Worcestershire continued to give wickets away cheaply with Tom Fell pulling a short ball from Fynn Hudson-Prentice into the hands of Aitchison at deep midwicket.

Fell stood head bowed before trudging off and Derbyshire were soon celebrating another success when Brett D’Oliveira turned Aitchison to Hudson-Prentice at backward short leg.

It was the start of an inspired spell by the 21-year-old right-arm quick who removed Riki Wessels and Gareth Roderick in the space of three overs.

Wessels was lbw playing back and when Roderick went the same way moving across the crease, Worcestershire appeared to be fading fast.

But Cox and Barnard played resolutely until a Critchley googly had Barnard lbw for 35 and in his next over he trapped Alzarri Joseph in front.

That looked to have opened the door for Derbyshire but Cox was not to be moved and he played out the final over from Critchley to secure a deserved draw.