All eyes will be on the sky on day four of Hampshire’s Championship clash with Derbyshire as the weather threatens to have the final say.
An absorbing day three saw Derbyshire avoid the follow-on, adding to their overnight score of 166 for seven to reach 257 all out.
But Hampshire then made an attacking declaration at 214 for five to set a victory target of 346 as the visitors negotiated 14 overs to reach 31 without loss at stumps.
Although Hampshire are favourites to claim the win, Derbyshire are by no means out of it.
But hopes of an exciting final day’s play now rest on the accuracy of a miserable weather forecast that could scupper the ambitions of both sides as they chase victory.
Derbyshire’s Tony Palladino (60 not out) was the mainstay for the visitors as they added another 91 runs in the morning session, before Danny Briggs (five for 50) ended the innings thanks to Michael Bates’ stumping of the stranded Mark Footitt.
Jimmy Adams (67), James Vince (40) and Joe Gatting (39) then played solidly, before the home side stepped on the accelerator either side of the tea interval.
Sean Ervine went t20 style to hit 32 not out from just 13 balls, with four fours and two sixes, to get Hampshire a lead of 345 and gave themselves a chance of making an evening breakthrough in the second Derbyshire innings.
But Stephen Moore (22 not out) and Paul Borrington (nine not out) stood firm, even with Briggs brought on in the second over to try to force a quick wicket or two.
Derbyshire still require 315 to win – a tall order for a team who have yet to win a game this season.
But it is by no means out of reach – it just depends on the weather.
Meanwhile, it has been confirmed that Kyle Abbott has been selected for South Africa’s Test squad for their forthcoming series in Sri Lanka.
The fast bowler, who has impressed since joining the club at the start of the season, will be away for the second half of July to play a three-match Test series.