ESSEX’s LV Championship nDivision Two promotion hopes were dented by a comprehensive defeat at the hands of Gloucestershire at Southend.
The Eagles went into the final day with a decent chance of forcing a draw but, resuming on 75 for three and needing 123 to make Gloucestershire bat again, they faded badly.
They lost Tom Westley (32) early and though Graham Napier, Mark Pettini and Ryan ten Doeschate all got starts Essex were dismissed for 236 and Gloucestershire openers Rob Woodman and Kadeer Ali knocked off the 38 runs required inside 11 overs.
Napier, who made 50 in the first innings, reflected on a disappointing match, saying: “Any loss is pretty hard to take, and at a home festival it makes it tougher.
"We lacked runs at the beginning of the innings. The middle order has been consistent but we need some runs from the top."
Essex had made 300 in the first innings, with Pettini top scoring on 91 and David Masters making 55 but they were overshadowed by Gloucester’s James Franklin and Steve Adshead who got 100 and and a career best 156not out respectively as the visitors made 498.