|LV= County Championship Division One, Cloud County Ground, Chelmsford (day two)|
|Lancashire 131 for 73: Bell 24; Snater 6-10, S Cook 3-46|
|Essex 107 and 59: A cook 14; Balderson 5-14, Williams 4-24|
|Lancashire (19 points) beat Essex (3 points) by 38 points.|
George Balderson claimed a hat-trick to spoil Essex’s hopes of victory in a dramatic game at Chelmsford just over four sessions as Lancashire won by 38 runs.
The pace bowler finished with 5-14 from seven overs, assisted by Will Williams, who returned 4-24 as Essex lost their last nine wickets in their bid to post 98 for 35 runs.
Only two Essex batsmen reached double figures against the expressive and incisive bowling of the Lancashire pair, who helped their side to 19 points, leaving the hosts a scant three points after a terrific Championship match.
The demons of the day before, when 26 holes fell, appeared. Lancashire started the second innings at 25-6 and lost another wicket in just 20 balls of the morning.
George Bell’s debut looked settled when he moved to 24, equaling the highest score by a Lancashire player in the match.
However, his 28-ball knock ended when Shane Snater bowled him around the legs to reduce Lancashire to 34-7. Snater went 5-6 in that 4.2 over phase.
The two Toms, Bailey and Hartley, both hit successive boundaries in an uncharacteristic manner that cost Sam Cook 17 runs. Bailey then batted on the first ball of the next over picking Dan Lawrence on the long leg boundary to give Snate his sixth wicket and amazing figures of 6-10.
Cook got personal satisfaction when Hartley tried to cut the short ball high and only managed to edge it behind. It was Cook’s 200th first-class wicket for Essex.
Simon Harmer had the final say when he hit Matt Parkinson full in front to end the visitors’ second innings for just 73 inside 24 overs.
All-rounder Snater, Essex’s player of the year, was rewarded with his county cap for a breakthrough season during the lunch break.
With the lights on all day, the home side, seeking their third straight Championship win in September, set about the task of reaching a modest 98 runs to win, but on this pitch, it was a tricky task.
Sir Alastair Cook and Nick Browne started the chase relatively calmly and had 24 on the board in seven overs to ease the nerves of the home camp when Browne was caught lbw by Bailey.
But Balderson’s entry sent shockwaves through the home camp.
With his second delivery Cook won all the ends and one took him off leg bail.
His next ball Lawrence nonchalantly whistled to Williams at mid-wicket before the bowler tore past Matt Critchley’s defense to claim his hat-trick.
Lunch arrived soon after as Balderson endured figures of 2-2-0-3 as Essex were thrashed 34-4.
The latest dismissal to be denounced as unplayable by Lancashire coach Glen Chapple is Feroze Khushi, with Williams dropping a single as Essex were thrashed 35-5.
Adam Rossington went into the attack and collected two boundaries before being dismissed by Balderson and, on 55, Essex lost their seventh and eighth wickets, both to Williams.
Throughout the carnage, skipper Tom Westley stood firm but eventually succumbed for 13 after surviving 41 balls when Balderson was caught for his fifth wicket.
Williams rounded off the proceedings when Sam Cook was left to celebrate victory to leave Lancashire in a match in which they had conceded just 370 runs in four innings.
Report provided by the ECB Journalist Network.