County Championship Division Two, Southampton
Essex 180 & 475 beat Hampshire 229 & 302 by 122 runs
Essex 19pts, Hampshire 4pts
Hampshire were condemned to a second season in Division Two as they slipped to a 122-run defeat by Essex at the Ageas Bowl.
The hosts began the final day on 73-3, needing an unlikely 352 more to win.
They looked well placed to challenge after Jimmy Adams and Liam Dawson (90) added 160 for the third wicket.
But, despite Adams carrying his bat for an unbeaten 139, they fell away to 302 all out, leaving Hampshire 24 points behind second-placed Yorkshire.
Reece Topley and Ryan ten Doeschate both finished with three wickets for Essex, who climbed to fifth in Division Two with only their third Championship win of the season.
Hampshire still had hope of taking their promotion bid into the final game while Adams and Dawson were at the crease.
But after Dawson was caught and bowled by Ten Doeschate to leave Hampshire 183-4, they soon slumped to 213-7.
Adams reached his century during an eighth wicket partnership of 27 with David Balcombe, and then added 62 for the last wicket with David Griffiths before Reece Topley took the final wicket.
VIEW FROM THE COMMENTARY BOX
BBC Essex's Nick Gledhill:
"Despite a superb unbeaten 139 from captain Jimmy Adams, Hampshire went down to a 122-run defeat against Essex which confirmed that they will be spending another season in Division Two.
"Liam Dawson gave him great support with 90 in a fourth wicket stand of 160, but his dismissal shortly before lunch proved the turning point.
"For Essex, Reece Topley and Ryan ten Doeschate each took three wickets. Topley's availability next season will be crucial as Essex now have the batting to sustain a promotion bid. Hampshire may need to strengthen their resources."