|LV= County Championship Division Two, Chelmsford|
|Essex 431 beat Worcestershire 84 & 255 by an innings and 92 runs|
|Essex 22 pts, Worcestershire 3 pts|
Essex beat promoted Worcestershire by an innings and 92 runs, but it was not enough to join them in Division One next season.
Hampshire's victory against Glamorgan not only sentenced Essex to third, but earned them the Division Two title.
Worcestershire lost 6-28, including Moeen Ali for 98, before a ninth-wicket stand of 91 between Brett D'Oliveira (44) and Jack Shantry (38).
Graham Napier took 5-54 as the visitors were all out for 255 just after lunch.
Worcestershire went into their final match knowing victory would guarantee the long-time leaders the title of Division Two champions.
But defeat for Steve Rhodes' men with the best part of five sessions to spare at Chelmsford, coupled with Hampshire's three-day win at Cardiff, meant Worcestershire had to settle for second place again - as they have done for four of their five promotions in the past 12 summers.
Essex skipper James Foster:
"It's so disappointing to just miss out on promotion, especially after the scintillating manner in which we have finished the season.
"But we are already planning for next season and it's great that we already have our overseas player in place with Jesse Ryder having signed a two-year deal with us.
"This squad is getting better all the time and I'm looking forward to leading our bid for promotion next summer."
Worcestershire director of cricket Steve Rhodes:
"After that first morning, it was inevitable. You're never going to win many games from losing your 10 wickets in the first session.
"The toss was massive. The toss is more important in cricket than in any other sport, and the wicket wasn't like the ones that I used to come and play on at Chelmsford, although it calmed down quite a lot from the second session onwards.
"Moeen played extremely well for his 98 and Brett D'Oliveira batted well too, but Essex got it to reverse swing and Graham Napier is a good exponent of that."
BBC Essex's Nick Gledhill:
"No promotion then for Essex, but they could hardly have done more with six wins in the last seven Championship games.
"Essex have often finished seasons well, only to disappoint the following year. This time there's every reason to believe things will be different.
"Jesse Ryder's signing is a crucial factor. His remarkable contribution with the ball gave an extra dimension to the Essex attack. If the bowlers can maintain their fitness, the unit should be one of the strongest in Division Two next season.
"Essex have always had plenty of stroke players but they have now found a batsman in Nick Browne who can occupy the crease and score consistently. His emergence is another reason for confidence come April."