County Championship: Essex won title with 'no fear' approach - Ryan ten Doeschate
Essex skipper Ryan ten Doeschate said playing without fear was the key to their success after finally lifting the County Championship trophy.
They clinched their first title for 25 years two weeks ago, but had to wait till the end of their final game against Yorkshire for the silverware.
The champions beat Yorkshire by 376 runs to complete the season unbeaten.
"We are trying to create a selfless environment where the guys don't fear failure," Ten Doeschate told BBC Essex.
"You still need good cricket players out on the field, but I believe that space and that environment gives guys a far better chance of succeeding.
"There's a line from a Jay Z song 'don't let striking out fear you from hitting a home run' and if you can foster that environment where guys aren't scared and guys give their best, it certainly helps you be successful."
Essex have now won the title seven times and the latest triumph, which followed promotion from Division Two last summer, was based to a large extent on the contributions of home-grown players.
Jamie Porter was the Championship's leading wicket-taker with 75, while 20-year-old fellow seamer Sam Cook came in for the last four games and claimed 18 victims.
"Seeing someone like Sam Cook [performing well], that's what it's really about, and our record of bringing guys through, that's something the club's very proud of," said Ten Doeschate.
"We've been very smart in bringing other people in where we need to, but certainly the club's philosophy is that we want to bring our own guys through and there's a few in the pipeline who are home-grown and who are going to be good cricketers in the future."
Lawrence set the tone
Former England captain Alastair Cook played seven games for Essex earlier in the summer, contributing 667 runs, including three centuries.
But he said the most important innings was teenager Dan Lawrence's unbeaten 141 to secure a draw in their opening match against Lancashire.
"That was a turning point, we had the belief that we could play at this level, and it took a 19-year-old kid to do it," said Cook.
"In the first three games we probably lost 75% of the sessions, but we came out with two draws and a win. After the first three games to be where we were, and not playing anywhere near (our best), we got on a bit of a roll and it's gone from there."
Cook was not picked for the final two games, despite being made available by the England and Wales Cricket Board.
"It was a special moment sitting up there and seeing your home club win something you thought was possible, but you didn't know whether they could do it or not," he said.
"The transformation over the last couple of years from potentially being a good side to being a good side has been remarkable.
"It means a lot to have a Championship-winning medal. I didn't play all the games, but it's one from the bucket list which at one stage I didn't think I'd be able to have."
Former Essex captain James Foster contributed 48 catches and a stumping, plus 357 runs, to their title win, but is now considering his future after being offer a new one-year contract.
The 37-year-old told BBC Essex he had been hoping for a two-year deal but would have a chat with the club and "sort something out".