Derbyshire took another big stride towards promotion from Division Two when eighth-wicket pair Dan Redfern and Tim Groenewald steered them to a thrilling two-wicket victory over Kent at Derby.
Redfern struck the winning boundary off Mark Davies in the fourth over after lunch to complete his fifty and take them past their target of 295 following a dramatic morning in which Charlie Shreck threatened to win the match for Kent.
Derbyshire went into the fourth day as favourites needing another 127 with eight wickets standing but Shreck took four wickets to reduce them to 236 for seven.
But, Redfern, who survived a difficult chance to skipper Rob Key when he had scored only one, was well supported by first Tony Palladino and then Groenewald who made 20 out of a stand of 41 to settle a pulsating contest.
There was no hint of the drama to come when Usman Khawaja and Wes Durston calmly batted through the first 10 overs of the morning to take their third wicket partnership to 102.
But Shreck was rewarded for a tireless spell from the City End of the County Ground when he had Khawaja caught behind for 56 from 137 balls off the last delivery of the 70th over and then removed Durston with his first ball of the 72nd.
Durston had scored 55 from 123 balls but Shreck moved one back into him to trap him lbw and then Richard Johnson went for a drive and edged to second slip in Shreck's next over.
Shreck had now taken three wickets in nine balls and the momentum was shifting towards Kent when Matt Coles got one to lift sharply at David Wainwright, who was caught low down at third slip for two.
Jon Clare pulled Coles through midwicket for four but then got a leading edge off Shreck and was caught at mid-off for 12.
Derbyshire were now rocking but Palladino, who had bowled so well in the game, helped steady their nerves by adding 21 with Redfern who was striking the right balance between aggression and caution.
He cover drove Shreck for successive fours from an over that cost 13 and Groenewald edged the fast bowler to the vacant third man boundary in his next over.
Lunch was delayed by four overs to try and finish the game but Derbyshire finally sealed a 19 points victory that takes them 26 points clear at the top of Division Two when Redfern drove Mark Davies for his fifth boundary.
Tony Palladino's seven-wicket haul inspired a Derbyshire fightback on day three of their pivotal Division Two clash with Kent at Derby.
Former Essex seamer Palladino picked up 7-53 as Kent were skittled out for 161 despite skipper Rob Key's disciplined knock of 81 from 156 balls.
Left to chase 295 for victory, table-topping Derbyshire reached the close on 168-2 to put themselves in pole position to beat one of their promotion rivals.
Skipper Wayne Madsen (30) and Matt Lineker (45) gave the hosts an excellent start before Australian Usman Khawaja and Wes Durston shared an unbroken third-wicket stand of 73 in the final session.
Kent had appeared the side in control at the start of Saturday's play, holding a lead of 226 and seven wickets intact. However, Palladino's inspired burst saw them dismissed before lunch.
The paceman claimed 5-23 in the space of 12.5 overs to finish with career-best match figures of 9-118. Although rain halted proceedings early, his efforts put Derbyshire on course for a superb come-from-behind victory.
A five-wicket haul from Charlie Shreck and an unbeaten half century from Rob Key put Kent in a strong position after day two of their Division Two promotion clash at Derbyshire.
Shreck took 5-41 as Derbyshire were dismissed for 133 in reply to Kent's first innings 265 and then Key made 63 out of his side's 93-3 to give the visitors a lead of 226 at the end of day two.
Kent added another 27 runs for their last two wickets with Matt Coles driving the second ball of the day from Wes Durston for six before sweeping the fourth into the hands of deep midwicket to give Derbyshire a third bowling point.
Mark Davies and Shreck earned the visitors a second batting point by adding 21 for the last wicket before Mark Turner bowled Davies, but Kent's bowlers then took charge by reducing Derbyshire to 51-5 at lunch.
And it soon got worse after the interval, Richard Johnson was lbw to Darren Stevens with no addition to the total and after play was held up by rain, Jon Clare top edged a pull at Davies and was caught by Geraint Jones running back.
Derbyshire were in danger of falling short of the follow on target of 116 when Tony Palladino was caught behind flashing at Stevens but David Wainwright and Tim Groenewald at least avoided that indignity before Shreck returned to wrap up the innings.
Kent took a lead of 133 into their second innings but they quickly lost Sam Northeast who was lbw to Palladino in the fifth over and Ban Harmison failed again when he was pinned in front by Palladino for five.
When Mark Turner beat Brendan Nash for pace, Kent were 43-3 but Key, who was getting well forward to counter any swing, reached fifty from 78 balls and looked in command at the close of an excellent day for his side.
Division Two leaders Derbyshire were frustrated by a lower-order fightback from Kent as the visitors closed the opening day at Derby on 238-8.
Sam Northeast made his fifth consecutive half-century and Michael Powell scored 45 but the visitors at one stage slipped to 127-6 after being put in on a green pitch.
In-form opener Northeast hit nine boundaries to reach 52 before he had his off stump pegged back by Jon Clare.
When Powell lost concentration and was caught behind driving wildly at Mark Turner, Kent were 174-8 and on course to be bowled out cheaply.
However, Matt Coles - who finished the day on 51 not out - and Mark Davies dug in to take their side past 200 with an unbroken stand of 64 that frustrated the home team.
Tim Groenewald was the pick of the Derbyshire attack with 3-41 while Turner and Tony Palladino also chipped in with two wickets apiece.