Northamptonshire head coach David Ripley paid tribute to the Essex men who denied his side an LV= County Championship victory.
It had seemed like a home win was on the cards at Wantage Road when the visitors slipped to 84-3 in their second innings - still only halfway towards getting the scores level.
However, Tom Westley and Jesse Ryder combined for a match-saving stand of 258 making 179 and 124 respectively.
While Westley’s innings included 29 boundaries, Ryder’s was uncharacteristically reserved with a strike rate of just over 50.
They were innings that drew praise from Ripley.
“They blunted us,” he said.
“They didn’t offer up many chances yesterday and they shut us out.
“The wicket didn’t deteriorate as it might have promised and remained a good batting track but you have to give them credit.
“We didn’t do much wrong. It wasn’t like we were just going through the motions.
“We were trying things. We tried hard and when that didn’t work we were trying harder.
“But sometimes you have to give credit to the other side and say they played well.
“Westley batted very well and Ryder did what his team needed.
“He had to score runs and bat time and that is exactly what he did.
“And he got runs in the first innings as well so it’s been a good game for him.
“We put down two or three chances this morning which is frustrating.
“With the new ball due we had a good couple of hours to get at them.
“We caused them a few more problems but unfortunately the chances didn’t stick.”