Middlesex battled to a draw against fellow title chasers Durham on the final day in Chester-le-Street.
An unbeaten 73 for number three Joe Denly and 54 from captain Chris Rogers helped the Lord's-based county to save the match and take six points from a difficult week in the North East - though Sussex's thumping two-day win over Somerset means Middlesex are now second in the LV= County Championship first division.
Paul Collingwood, stung by a defeat to Yorkshire after declaring to set a target earlier in the season, erred on the side of caution on the final day, asking Middlesex to chase an unlikely 304 to win.
Scott Borthwick made his second 50 of the match, finishing unbeaten on 82 as Durham moved from their overnight 89/1 to 240/6 declared, using 43 of the final day's overs in the process.
There was hope for Durham when Sam Robson was dismissed in th second over for just seven, but Denly and Rogers' partnership of 84 took the visitors towards safety.
Mark Wood took 3/36 as Middlesex lost a string of wickets late in the day, but Durham's task always looked unlikely.