Sam Conners and Luis Reece each claimed two wickets apiece on their return to red ball cricket, before Middlesex recovered to 218-5 on Day One at Lord’s.
Robbie White struck his maiden first-class century to rescue Middlesex from a disastrous start, after they stumbled to 14-3 – all lbw – after opting to bat at Lord’s as Derbyshire seamers Conners and Reece made the most of the early movement in overcast conditions.
But White, who had previously passed 50 six times without registering a ton – including 99 against Kent last year – finally achieved that landmark as he led Middlesex’s fightback, hitting an unbeaten 101 to lift them to 218-5.
The 25-year-old shared a century stand with Martin Andersson, whose 53 was his highest score of the season, while John Simpson was undefeated on 29 when bad light brought play to a premature close.
Middlesex’s decision to bat looked questionable when Mark Stoneman, making his debut after moving across the river from Surrey, lasted only three balls before Conners’ inswinger trapped him in front for a duck.
Sam Robson followed later in the same over, the victim of one that stayed low, while Stephen Eskinazi had little chance against a Reece delivery that swung viciously to leave Middlesex reeling at three down.
Despite a couple of edges that flew through the slips, White soon settled down to oversee a rebuilding job and weathered the onslaught alongside Max Holden in a partnership of 38.
Reece collected his second lbw scalp before lunch, with Holden unlucky to be given out to a ball that looked too high, but Andersson announced his arrival at the crease with a series of sweetly-struck cover boundaries.
The fifth-wicket pair made good progress during the afternoon session, with White leg-glancing Reece for four to bring up his half-century and Andersson quickly followed suit, reaching that milestone from 93 balls.
With Derbyshire deploying both spinners in tandem, it was Alex Thomson who achieved the breakthrough with his maiden first-class wicket for the county, tempting Andersson forward to nudge to slip.
However, Simpson maintained Middlesex’s momentum while White advanced steadily to his hundred, carving Conners over point for four and then taking advantage of a wide ball to punch another off-side boundary that brought him to three figures.
That proved timely for White as, with the light deteriorating, umpires Muhammad Syed and Peter Hartley took the teams off just two overs later.