County Championship: Essex thump Worcestershire by an innings
|Specsavers County Championship Division Two, Chelmsford, day three|
|Worcestershire 230 & 210: Rhodes 41; Napier 5-59|
|Essex 601-5 dec: Westley 254, Ten Doeschate 109*, Bopara 99|
|Essex (24 pts) beat Worcestershire (2 pts) by an innings and 161 runs|
Essex maintained their Division Two promotion push with a thumping innings and 161 run win over Worcestershire inside three days at Chelmsford.
Tom Westley added 16 to his overnight 238, before the Essex batsman was run out by Brett D'Oliveira for 254.
However, skipper Ryan ten Doeschate (109 not out) brought up his century prompting a declaration on 601-5.
Facing a first-innings deficit of 371, Worcestershire collapsed to 210 all out, Graham Napier claiming 5-59.
Essex, who were briefly replaced at the top of the table by Kent after their victory over Sussex, move 24 points clear with two games remaining.
Westley missed the opportunity to overtake Northants' Ben Duckett's 282 not out, the highest score of the season, when he was sent back to the pavilion by D'Oliveira's direct hit.
But that was the only slight downside of another day of dominance, capped by Napier's 17th career five-wicket haul in his penultimate match at Chelmsford before retirement.
And home captain ten Doeschate, who has now hit 615 runs in his last eight innings, passed 1,000 Championship runs for the season.
While Worcestershire's promotion hopes are now ended, Essex face Glamorgan at home next week before finishing with what could be a pivotal match against Kent at Canterbury.
Essex captain Ryan ten Doeschate told BBC Radio Essex:
"We don't want to get ahead of ourselves, but obviously we've got a great chance against Glamorgan next week to wrap things up.
"If you don't concentrate too much on the league table, and just play your best cricket, hopefully that takes care of itself."
"The last three weeks have been very rewarding. Winning three matches in a row by an innings is a pretty special accomplishment.
"Disassociating myself from the captaincy when I'm batting has been important. Maybe for the first few weeks I was a little bit caught up in worrying too much about the team rather than my own batting."
Worcestershire director of cricket Steve Rhodes told BBC Hereford & Worcester:
"Let's be honest, Essex have totally outplayed us. These are the moments you need to never forget. But let's give some credit to Essex. If they play to their potential and their career statistics they have got a good outfit worthy of where they are in the table.
"From David Masters' bowling to the batting of Tom Westley, Alastair Cook, Ravi Bopara and Ryan ten Doeschate, they have played very well. It is difficult if they turn up and play their best game, which they more or less have these three days.
"Ben Cox and George [Rhodes], at five and seven, were trying to do rescue jobs and do possibly what the top-order players should have done. But Ben has been Mr Reliable this season whether with the gloves or the bat and someone we can call upon in a crisis.
"We understand the top order must do better. When you win the toss and bat, you've got to a firm foundation - and sadly it didn't happen. They are young and they make mistakes. But crikey, we all make mistakes. I made mistakes well into my late thirties! But as long as they learn."