Northamptonshire have been promoted to County Championship Division One to round off one of the most sensational seasons in their history.
After a difficult decade, Northants have come through the other side as coach David Ripley led them to both T20 glory and now a long-awaited promotion back to the top division.
Essex were the only side that could block Northants in their stride, but the Eagles were bowled out for just 207 by Hampshire at the Rose Bowl.
In order to have any chance of promotion, Essex needed maximum batting points but failed to reach their ambitious target of 400.
As if any more salt needed to be rubbed into Essex’s wounds, Hampshire opted to make them follow on after Matt Coles ripped through their batting order with figures of 6-71.
Northants, on the other hand, continue their game against Worcestershire knowing that the pressure is off.
All-rounder Andrew Hall put in a valiant display against his former county, contributing five wickets as Worcestershire were dismissed for just 163 in their first innings.
Man of the moment David Willey celebrated his call-up to the England Performance Programme, chipping in with a further two wickets, while Muhammad Azharullah, Steven Crook and James Middlebrook also claimed dismissals.
Northants may have only managed to secure a lead of 39, but that became irrelevant as news of Essex’s misery began to filter round Wantage Road.
The latest success puts the icing on the cake on a virtually flawless season that included an impressive run in the YB40 and of course, the unforgettable victory in the T20 earlier in the summer.
The club will celebrate this season’s double success with an open top bus parade through the town on Friday before presenting their T20 trophy at halftime at the rugby union match between Northampton Saints and Sale Sharks.
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