ESSEX underlined their Vitality County Championship title credentials as seamer Sam Cook spearheaded a comprehensive 254-run win over Nottinghamshire.

Cook took six for 14 to go with his first-innings hat-trick as the home side were bowled out for just 80 in their second innings. He finished with match figures of 10 for 73.

Strike partner Jamie Porter took three for 43 as Joe Clarke top-scored with a modest 19.

However, Essex face an anxious wait to see if they will suffer a points deduction after opener Feroze Khushi’s bat failed an on-field dimensions check during their second innings.

Regardless of how many of their 20 points they ultimately keep, Essex will be grateful to the Nottinghamshire groundstaff for the chance to complete a full match with bad weather around the country wreaking havoc.

Essex resumed on 329 for eight and declared after adding 45 runs in six overs for the loss of Shane Snater (47). Despite a finger injury that necessitated an emergency call-up for Michael Pepper to keep wicket, Adam Rossington still managed an unbeaten 39.

Nottinghamshire were left with 88 overs to chase 335 and when they found themselves 18 for three in the sixth over, perhaps the writing was on the wall.

England opener Ben Duckett was bowled for five by Porter and captain Haseeb Hameed started brightly with a couple of boundaries only for Cook to send his off stump cartwheeling.

Ben Slater edged to second slip in Cook’s next over and after Joe Clarke and Matt Montgomery put on 21, first-innings centurion Clarke bottom-edged Snater into his stumps just before lunch.

Montgomery was bowled shouldering arms to Cook after the interval and Jack Haynes was pinned in front by another nip-backer from Porter before Cook removed Calvin Harrison lbw and bowled Brett Hutton to complete his first five-wicket haul of the season.

Cook struck for the sixth time, Pennington edging to first slip, before Dane Paterson lost his middle stump to Porter as Essex wrapped up victory.