Nottinghamshire remain favourites to win the County Championship Division One title despite losing heavily to unfancied Essex at Chelmsford on Wednesday (Notts 1.91 with betfair to win title).
Notts were looking to put some daylight between themselves and second-place Yorkshire at the top of the table but they edged just two points clear after picking up only three bonus points for their efforts at the County Ground.
Chasing 302 for victory, the Trent Bridge outfit were dismissed for just 159, having been bowled out for 180 first time around.
And it was 22-year-old Jamaican-born Maurice Chambers who did most of the damage once again, adding four wickets to the 6-68 he took in the first innings to record his maiden first class 10-wicket haul.
Wednesday’s victory was new skipper James Foster’s first four-day match in charge after he was handed the reins following Mark Pettini’s decision to step down as captain.
Essex are now up to fifth in the table but have played two more matches than the majority of their rivals, and the title race is really hotting up at more or less the halfway stage of the campaign.
Notts have 115 points, with Yorkshire on 113 and Lancashire on 105. Somerset have garnered exactly 100, while two-times defending champions Durham have 93 points and cannot be written off as title contenders despite enduring a difficult season with many of their top stars missing through injury.
Yorkshire trade as second favourites to win the title (4.0 with Betfair), while Durham can be backed at 6.0 to make it three successive titles for the North-East side.