PART-TIME seamer Jesse Ryder claimed his second five-wicket haul of the match but the Essex attack could not break Kent down as their County Championship Division Two clash at Canterbury ended in a draw.
Kent came into the final day trailing by 18 runs but with all their second-innings wickets intact and the visitors knew they would have to power through the line-up quickly if they were to have any chance of forcing a result.
Ryder did his bit, taking five for 56 to add to his five for 54 in the first innings but a second half-century of the match from Daniel Bell-Drummond and 47 from first-innings centurion Darren Stevens meant Kent were never in real danger.
In truth, the likelihood of the home side capitulating on a pitch which had produced first-innings totals of 387 and 440 was always unlikely and when the captains shook hands with Kent 255 for eight, they had 11 points to Essex’s 13.
Kent had moved into credit before captain Rob Key fell for 37 with Ryder uprooting his middle stump and the going was slow as David Masters produced three consecutive maidens.
Two wickets in quick succession then gave Essex some hope as first Ryder got Sam Northeast (one) to edge to Tom Westley and then Brendan Nash departed without troubling the scorers as the same bowler got him to nick behind.
A partnership of 47 between Bell-Drummond and Ben Harmison (22) steadied the ship before the latter found Ryder at first slip off Masters.
Another healthy partnership of 86 in 24 overs effectively ended the chances of a result and Stevens fell three runs short of his half-century, caught at cover by Nick Browne off Tymal Mills.
Sam Billings followed for 11 when he was stumped off the bowling of Monty Panesar before Ryder trapped Bell-Drummond in front for 92.
Ryder then claimed his 10th wicket of the match when Westley caught Mitch Claydon (10) and the captains called it a day at the end of the over.