Essex v Glamorgan: Home side's promotion hopes fade with draw
LV CC Division Two, Chelmsford
Essex 424-6 dec drew with Glamorgan 322 & 181-2 dec
Essex 11pts, Glamorgan 9pts
Essex's hopes of promotion suffered a major blow as they could only draw with Glamorgan in a rain-hit match.
After second-placed Northants' draw against Kent, Essex now lie 20 points behind with just one game left to play.
Owais Shah (120) hit his first ton this term on day four, and his 130-run stand with Ravi Bopara (89) helped the hosts to maximum batting bonus points before declaring 102 ahead on 424-6.
Gareth Rees (76) top scored in response, but the sides shook on 181-2.
The result means that Essex now go into the final round of fixtures needing a drastic change in circumstances to beat Northants to promotion, and their rivals could just rely on the bonus points they get at Worcestershire to go up.
Essex will rue the unfavourable weather at Chelmsford for their match against the Welsh side, which cost the fixture most of the first and third day's play.
However, there was some joy for Jaik Mickleburgh, Reece Topley and Shah when they were all awarded a county cap during the fourth day's lunch break.
VIEW FROM THE DRESSING ROOM
Essex head coach Paul Grayson:
"We've done well in four-day cricket, probably going to finish third in the competition behind Lancashire and Northants, [reached] finals day in the T20 and we finished second in the 40-over group.
"We've probably been the bridesmaids this year, but I think we've made progress and that's the most important thing, as a group and individually the guys have really stepped up this season.
"The side we've put out here the last six or seven weeks is a very good side and would do very well in Division One cricket, I believe that.
"There's a real balance to the team, a strong batting order, three excellent seam bowlers and bringing Monty Panesar to the club has given us some excellent spin bowling."