ESSEX head coach Paul Grayson was thrilled after seeing his side beat Gloucestershire by 10 wickets at Chelmsford.
The hosts had looked odds on to secure the Division Two victory going into the final day but were forced to bat for a second time after Gloucestershire took a narrow eight-run lead after their second innings.
But openers Tom Westley and Nick Browne knocked off the required runs without loss to give Essex their second win of the campaign and leave them fifth in the table.
“It was a good team performance and shows what we are capable of,” Grayson said.
“It certainly gives us a great deal of confidence going into our next Championship game with Derbyshire at Chesterfield next week.”
Delight – for Jesse Ryder of Essex as he claims the wicket of Jack Taylor. Picture: GAVIN ELLIS/TGS PHOTO
Essex skipper James Foster equalled his county’s record for the most dismissals in a match by a wicketkeeper for the second time.
It was against the West Countrymen that he joined David East (1983) and Kenneth Gibson (1911) at the top of the list when he bagged nine victims at Bristol five years ago.
On this occasion, he claimed three catches in the second innings to go with the six victims claimed on the opening day to pave the way for Essex’s first Championship victory since the opening match of the campaign.
Foster collected his ninth catch in the first over after lunch when Jack Taylor was pinned on the back foot as Jesse Ryder found the edge.
Gloucestershire resumed the day on 194 for four and requiring a further 133 to avoid an innings defeat, and needing something spectacular and substantial from the last of their recognised batsmen, Ian Cockbain and Will Gidman.
But such hopes were quickly extinguished when Ryan ten Doeschate had Cockbain caught at first slip by Jesse Ryder, while Gidman was undone by Monty Panesar as the left-arm spinner found just enough turn to beat his tentative push.
After that, it was only a matter of time before Essex were able to celebrate their first Championship success since beating Derbyshire in April.
Howzat! Tom Westley (left) and James Foster and with a big appeal for the wicket of Matt Taylor. Picture: GAVIN ELLIS/TGS PHOTO
With David Masters missing from the attack on the final day with a foot injury, Gloucester-shire’s tail enders did at least make a fight of it. Adam Rouse and Tom Smith added 40 in nine overs, a partnership that was brought to an end when Smith was bowled shouldering arms.
It was Ryder who then struck with successive deliveries in the first over after lunch. Firstly, he had Jack Taylor caught by Foster to give the Essex captain a share of the wicket-keeping record and, with his next delivery, he bowled David Payne.
That brought together Rouse and Matt Taylor to provide resistance as they added 52 runs and in doing so both registered career-best efforts.
Essex used six bowers in an attempt to break the stand but the pair, amid dogged defence, also produced a few sweetly-timed drives before Ten Doeschate at last broke through by trapping Rouse lbw when he was within one run of what would have been a deserved half-century.
Matt Taylor was left unbeaten on 32, leaving Essex with the formality of scoring nine runs to bag a maximum haul of 24 points from the match.
Tom Westley (one) and Nick Browne (nine) needed just nine deliveries to reach the winning post as the visitors were left with just two points for their efforts.