Champions Essex stay unbeaten as they thrash Yorkshire at Chelmsford
Essex (227 & 334-7d) beat Yorkshire (111 & 74) by 376 runs
Sam Cook took five for 20 to skittle Yorkshire for 74 and round off a tumultuous season for Essex during they have remained unbeaten in the Specsavers County Championship for the first time in their history.
The Champion’s 10th victory of the 14-game campaign was followed by resounding applause and sprays of champagne post-match as they received the Championship trophy for the first time in 25 years. It was the moment they had waited for since the title was claimed a fortnight ago when they still have two games to play.
For Yorkshire, who were in the same celebratory mood just two summers, their total was their lowest since 1999 as they succumbed by a massive 376-run defeat in just 29 overs. There were still 25 overs remaining in the day when Matt Fisher was left on his back by Neil Wagner to end the season. It was as well they claimed the points required to avoid relegation on the first day otherwise their feeble effort could have been terminal.
Cook, who made his first-class debut for his home county less than two months ago, had taken a career-best five for 18 in the second innings at Southampton in the last game. The second five-fer of his embryonic career came before he returns next week to Loughborough University for the final year of his history degree course.
Cook put the skids under a Yorkshire top-order chasing an unlikely 451 to win with four wickets in 32 balls in a six-over, pre-tea burst.
Adam Lyth looked surprised to be given out caught behind to Cook’s second ball, and Kraigg Brathwaite played down the wrong line to be lbw to Porter in the next over. Alex Lees’s middle stump was sent cartwheeling by Cook and Yorkshire were already on an inexorable slide at 17 for three in the sixth over.
Cook claimed his third wicket for 11 runs when the Ashes-bound Gary Ballance fell lbw for just five. Jack Leaning was stuck in his crease playing forward and edging to James Foster to give Cook wicket No4.
Simon Harmer joined the party when Andrew Hodd became his latest lbw victim. Thirty-five for six.
Essex announced at the tea interval that Porter had signed a two-year contract extension taking him through to the end of the 2020 season. He had a double celebration first ball after the break when he had Steven Patterson caught behind to claim his 200th first-class wicket for the county.
That preceded Cook’s fifth wicket with his first ball upon his return for a second spell. Jack Brooks hung out his bat and played tamely into Varun Chopra’s hands at first slip. Thirty-seven for six at tea had become 38 for eight.
Karl Carver helped Matt Fisher put on 34 for the penultimate wicket in nine overs to give some respectability to the score before he departed lbw for nine. Fisher, who had taken three Essex second-innings wickets for 69, was the only batsman to make it into double figures. He was the last man to go for 25, caught behind for Foster’s eighth catch of the match, after Wagner had him flailing with a bouncer.