Amid extraordinary scenes at the Kia Oval, Essex captain Ryan ten Doeschate's superb 53 not out from 62 balls earned his side a nerve-shredding one-wicket win as champions Surrey just failed to prevent the 2017 championship winners from chasing down a target of 132.
County champions Surrey were skittled for 67, their lowest championship total at the Kia Oval for 56 years, as Jamie Porter and Sam Cook bowled Essex into a position of first-day dominance with four wickets apiece.
Michael Pepper was playing the sixth hole at the Gog Magog golf course in Cambridge when he received a call to hurry back to The CloudFM County Ground: Adam Wheater had damaged his shoulder and Pepper was required to stand in behind the stumps.
Peter Siddle took 5-48 with some typically accurate bowling as Essex's claimed their fourth Specsavers County Championship of the season by beating Hampshire by an innings & 52 with 14.3 overs left on the final day.
While the senior Essex team have endured a summer of recurring travails, most notably in a parlous Vitality Blast campaign, the fortunes of the second eleven have been in stark contrast: they stand on the threshold of the County Championship-T20 double.