Northamptonshire's push for victory was held up by rain at Colchester as not a ball was able to be bowled on the third day of their Division Two clash with Essex.
The hosts had been due to resume on 187-5 in their first innings, still needing a further 195 to avoid being asked to bat again by Northants skipper, and former Essex player, Stephen Peters.
However heavy showers prevented play from getting underway in the morning, leading to umpires Nick Cook and Steve Garratt bringing forward lunch to 12.45pm in the hope of starting proceedings in the afternoon.
Further rainfall put paid to those plans, though, with officials finally abandoning play for the day at 4.30pm.
Ryan ten Doeschate (47 not out) and Essex captain James Foster, who was unbeaten on 39, will hope to be back out in the middle on Friday.
Northamptonshire had reached 531 in their first innings before finally being bowled out on day two, Peters (101) and David Sales (131) both hitting centuries.