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Thumping win for Essex

Essex boosted their LV= County Championship promotion hopes by inflicting an innings-and-25 run defeat on Division Two rivals Leicestershire at Chelmsford.

The visitors capitulated to 131 all out, having begun the final day on 47 for three requiring a further 109 to make Essex bat again.

Greg Smith returned career-best figures of 5-42 as proceedings were wrapped up before lunch.

Leicestershire’s hopes of making a fight of it quickly disappeared when they lost their overnight pair with the total on 62.

Shiv Thakor put up a simple catch to Hamish Rutherford at leg slip to provide Smith with his third success of the innings, while Joe Burns became a victim of left-arm paceman Tymal Mills.

When Josh Cobb was trapped lbw by Tom Craddock in the leg-spinner's opening over, Matthew Boyce was left as the last of the recognised batsmen.

The Leicestershire skipper, who yesterday sat out most of the action after suffering back spasms, bravely resisted Essex for almost an hour in making 19.

Yet when he fell to a magnificent diving catch by James Foster to provide paceman Graham Napier with success, the tail was swept aside with ease for the second time in the match.

Ollie Freckingham did at least have the satisfaction of striking five boundaries in a belligerent 24 before holing out off Napier, but that was of little consolation to Leicestershire, who remain rooted to the foot of the table and without a championship win this summer.

Napier finished with match figures of 7-90 for Essex. They earned 21 points from their fourth four-day win of the season and second over Leicestershire.

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