Sept 26 (Reuters) - Essex won their eighth County Championship title and second in three years after a rain-hit final match with Somerset ended in a draw at Taunton on Thursday.
Somerset, who were 12 points behind leaders Essex before the final game of the season, needed to win while the visitors only needed a draw to seal the title.
Only 72 overs were possible over the first two days before the third day was completely washed out as the outfield was deemed too wet.
Somerset, who were seeking their first ever title, batted first and were bowled out for 203 with spinner Simon Harmer picking up five wickets and fast bowler Samuel Cook taking four for 26 runs.
Somerset made little headway at first as Alastair Cook’s patient 53 off 148 balls allowed Essex to prolong the inevitable before Jack Leach (5-32) and Roelof van der Merwe (4-41) sparked a collapse as they grabbed the vistors’ last nine wickets for 39 runs to bowl them out for 141.
Needing to take 10 wickets with time running out, Somerset forfeited their second innings for another crack at Essex’s batsmen, who needed 63 to win the match.
However, Cook stood strong once again with an unbeaten 30 to deny Somerset a fairytale ending. With less than 10 minutes left in the day’s play, the two teams agreed to end the match as a draw as Essex won the title by 11 points. (Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru, editing by Pritha Sarkar)