Jubilant Essex back in the top flight at last

ESSEX finally won promotion back into the County Championship First Division after a thrilling victory over Derbyshire on Saturday, writes MIKE SIMMONDS. With Northamptonshire easily defeating Leicestershire, only a win would have sufficed if Essex were t

ESSEX finally won promotion back into the County Championship First Division after a thrilling victory over Derbyshire on Saturday, writes MIKE SIMMONDS.

With Northamptonshire easily defeating Leicestershire, only a win would have sufficed if Essex were to go up.

They were set 358 to win in just 65 overs, but achieved their target thanks to a stunning 108 from just 59 balls by all-rounder Ryan ten Doeschate and are back in the top flight for the first time since 2003, pipping Northants by a single point.

Delighted skipper Mark Pettini said: "The guys have waited a long time to get up to Division One. To chase down 359 is something you're not going to do very often.

"It took an innings like that from Ryan, which was ridiculous, but fantastic at the same time!

"We never really negotiated a run-chase, I thought what would happen if me and 'Cookie' had a bowl and give them a few runs.

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"I was assuming they would want to try and win the game, and eventually they did declare, to set us what wasn't really a realistic target.

"Fair play to them for giving us a game, but we're very pleased with our performance and to win promotion."

First team coach Paul Grayson added: "The team showed some great character and we are looking forward to playing in the First Division next season. We are already making plans for the new campaign."

Meanwhile, all-rounder Graham Napier has been selected in the England squad for the Hong Kong Sixes that take place next month.

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