Essex make County Championship history as they clinch Division Two title

Essex have won the County Championship Division Two title after completing a dominant win over Northamptonshire by an innings and 44 runs.

Northamptonshire were bowled out for just 81 on day one and Essex made 170 in response.

Essex then bowled Northamptonshire out for just 45 on day two, wrapping up the victory inside four sessions and breaking a record in the process.

Northamptonshire's second innings lasted just 18.2 overs and the match is the shortest completed four-day County Championship game in history.

The match lasted a total of 96.3 overs, meaning it was 13.2 overs shorter than the previous record holder which saw Kent beat Northamptonshire in just 109.5 overs back in 1999.

Sam Cook was the star of the show for Essex, picking up figures of 10-41 in the match, while Shane Snater took 4-7 in a remarkable three over spell in Northamptonshire's second innings.

The win means Essex have now claimed their fifth first-class trophy in the last six years and ensured that club legend Ryan ten Doeschate ends his career on a high.

Speaking to BBC Essex, the county's stand-in skipper Dan Lawrence said: "We didn't feel great taking a photo next to the Division Two winners board.

"It's not something we're going to celebrate. We're a club that wants to be winning Division One. We've lost two games this season and yet we're finishing seventh.

"We feel we're in the top three teams in the country but that's fine – the boys need to stay hungry and understand we're disappointed even though we've finished nicely."

The game was also David Ripley's final one in charge of Northamptonshire, having taken over as head coach in 2012.

Ripley led Northamptonshire to two memorable T20 Blast triumphs during his tenure and he will be replaced by assistant coach John Sadler.

Speaking after their defeat to Essex, Sadler said: "It is a shame that Rips' last game ended like that.

"He's Mr Northamptonshire, isn't he? He'll be remembered for what he's done over 40 years for this club, rather than this past week.

"He's an absolute diamond of a man, and we wanted to put a fight up for him and give him a better send-off than we did. As coaching staff and players, we were disappointed in that regard."

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