|LV= County Championship Division Two, Chelmsford|
|Close, day one: Worcestershire 84, Essex 198-3|
|Essex 3 pts, Worcestershire 1 pt|
Promoted Worcestershire suffered their worst day of the summer as they were bowled out for only 84 before lunch by promotion-chasing Essex at Chelmsford.
New Zealander Jesse Ryder led the way with a county-best 5-24, backed by two wickets each for David Masters and Graham Napier and one for Jamie Porter.
It might have been worse, at 31-7, but for Joe Leach hitting 39.
Nick Browne then hit an unbeaten 106 as Essex piled up 198-3 by the close, leading by 114.
|Essex on course for another high five|
|Essex have won their last four Championship games. They last won five in a row in 2002, when they triumphed in their final five fixtures to claim the Division Two title.|
|Of their previous four promotions to Division One, Worcestershire have only once before achieved it as Division Two champions - the first time they went up under Tom Moody, with Ben Smith as captain, was in 2003.|
Browne and captain James Foster (36no) added an unbroken 92 for the fourth wicket after Ravi Bopara's departure for 31.
Having celebrated their fifth promotion in 12 seasons, Steve Rhodes' Worcestershire side started their final Championship game against Essex needing six points to guarantee being crowned champions of Division Two.
With second-placed Hampshire having claimed four out of their possible five batting points against Glamorgan, Worcestershire still need another four points to be sure of finishing top.
Essex, who could be promoted if they win and Hampshire lose or draw, are 114 runs ahead and appear in the mood to spoil Worcestershire's party.
Essex head coach Paul Grayson:
"Obviously it was a good toss to win, but our bowlers were magnificent. Ryder, in particular, put the ball in the right areas to take full advantage of the help that the pitch gave him.
"He has been magnificent for us this season and I must confess he has surprised us all with the ball.
"We signed him primarily as a batsman but he has developed into a fine all-rounder and hopefully, he will be back with us next season."
Worcestershire director of cricket Steve Rhodes:
"The toss was crucial and unfortunately we lost it. With the ball swinging all over the place, it was always possible that 10 wickets would fall in a session.
"Batting was much easier as the day wore on and obviously we now face an uphill battle."
VIEW FROM THE COMMENTARY BOX
BBC Essex's Glenn Speller:
"A complete day from Essex as they bowled, fielded and batted well. A green top of a wicket made the toss crucial and, when James Foster won it, I doubt he'll ever have said, 'We'll have a bowl' faster.
"But you have to then make use of the conditions and Essex did just that, as Jesse Ryder had the ball nipping around, ably supported by David Masters, Graham Napier and Jamie Porter.
"The test was then whether the batsmen could deal with the pitch, and the early unnecessary run-out of Tom Westley may have been a cause for concern.
"But Nick Browne is Essex's immovable, unflappable object at the top of the order. He did not even offer the sniff of a chance as he was a study of concentration in making his third century of the season."
BBC Hereford and Worcester's Trevor Owens:
"This was a tough day for Worcestershire as everyone in the ground would have known the side who won the toss were going to field first.
"But credit to Essex's bowling unit - they took full advantage with Jesse Ryder rightly taking star billing.
"Nick Browne's unbeaten hundred has given Essex a real platform.
"Worcestershire will need to take wickets early on day two if this game, and possibly the Division Two title, isn't to get away from them."