Nottinghamshire moved up one place to fourth in Division One after their LV= Insurance County Championship match with Essex ended in a draw at Trent Bridge.

Having been 144 runs behind on first innings, Essex recovered well enough to declare at tea on 362 for eight in their second innings, giving Nottinghamshire 39 overs to chase 219 to win.

In other circumstances, Nottinghamshire might have seen a required rate of 5.6 runs per over as within their compass, yet they were sufficiently respectful of the threat posed by off-spinner Simon Harmer in dry conditions on a fourth-day pitch not to risk defeat in pursuit of victory.

They were 97 for four, still 122 runs short of their theoretical target when the sides agreed to call it a day with five of the scheduled overs unbowled, with Joe Clarke 42 not out – he and fifth-wicket partner Steven Mullaney having survived 10 overs with most of the Essex fielders clustered round the bat.

Nottinghamshire take 11 points to Essex’s seven.

Earlier in the day, former England captain Sir Alastair Cook, who has never made a century on this ground, failed tantalising by one run to correct the statistical anomaly in his record, but skipper Tom Westley made 95 and Tom Lawrence 52 to put Essex in a strong position.

All-rounder Lyndon James was the pick of a Nottinghamshire attack in which Brett Hutton could not bowl due to injury, taking three for 67 including the wicket of Cook. Leg-spinner Calvin Harrison finished with three for 52 on his Championship debut.

Essex took a lead of 55 into the final day, with 38-year-old Cook needing just 13 more runs for his ton.

After surviving two difficult chances on Friday, he must have fancied making Nottinghamshire pay for their lapses and having emerged unscathed from a brief joust with former international team-mate Stuart Broad at the start of the day, he clipped a ball from James behind square for his 11th boundary, putting him just one hit away from a celebration that no one present would have begrudged him.

But a couple of overs later it was James who was celebrating, having found a gap between Cook’s bat and pad with a delivery that looked to brush a glove on its way through to wicketkeeper Joe Clarke, who took a good catch low to his right.

Spectators stood to applaud Cook regardless, having seen some moments of England’s greatest Test run scorer at his best.

Broad’s second spell of the morning was always more threatening than his first and it was with a fine ball angled into the body that he denied Westley – the leading scorer thus far in the Championship – a second hundred of the season, the right-hander successfully defending his stumps but at the cost of an edge that Clarke took comfortably at shin height.

At 258 for three at lunch, 114 ahead, Essex still looked to have the game under control but wickets in consecutive overs midway through the afternoon session offered Nottinghamshire hope that they might yet force the issue.

First Matt Critchley became a third victim for James, who brought one back sharply to bowl him off what looked like an inside edge for a dogged 20. Then Adam Rossington departed without scoring, handing leg-spinning all-rounder Harrison a maiden Championship wicket via an easy return catch.

Lawrence, who has been recalled to the England squad for the summer’s opening Test against Ireland next month, completed a 94-ball half-century but when Mullaney relieved James at the pavilion end, the Essex lead was 175 with 48 overs left to play.

Seven overs and 19 runs later, Doug Bracewell clipped tamely to short midwicket to give Harrison a second success.

Shane Snater slog-swept his first two balls for six but though Harrison took revenge by bowling the Zimbabwe-born Netherlands international for 18, it still came as a surprise that skipper Westley chose to declare at tea rather than bat Nottinghamshire out of the game.

The likelihood of Essex taking 10 wickets in the final session of the contest seemed remote, yet scoring 5.6 runs per over looked a carrot Nottinghamshire might chase.

Yet even though Haseeb Hameed dispatched the last ball of the opening over to the boundary, it quickly became clear that Nottinghamshire were sufficiently wary of Harmer’s ability to exploit last-day pitches to take an approach that was for the most part conservative.

Sam Cook produced a couple of good deliveries to have Hameed caught behind and opening partner Ben Slater bowled before Montgomery trapped on the crease by a Harmer off break.

Harmer turned one sharply to bowl James, at which point Westley brought on Critchley to bowl leg-breaks from the other end, which meant that Clarke and Mullaney spent the last 40 minutes or so with most of the Essex fielders crowded around the bat.