Northants succumb to first defeat of campaign
Essex 183 and 331 for 9 dec beat Northamptonshire 99 and 244 by 171 runs
Northamptonshire suffered their first defeat of their Championship campaign as they went down by 171 runs to Essex in the Division Two match at Chelmsford.
The 21-year-old legspinner Tom Craddock marked his Championship debut with four wickets as the visitors were bowled out for 244, after they had started the day on 37 for 1 in pursuit of a target of 416.
It was a target they never really threatened to get near and as wickets fell at regular intervals Essex were able to claim only their second triumph of the summer.
Northamptonshire's innings was noted for its unfulfilled promise, with several of their top-order batsmen laying the foundation for a substantial contribution only to perish when seemingly well set.
Ben Howgego and Rob White confirmed the point when they resumed in the morning, carrying the total into the 80s without any real problems before being dispatched within touching distance of half-centuries.
White departed lbw to David Masters for 43, while the introduction of spin accounted for Howgego for 41 as Tim Phillips gained a similar verdict with his first delivery. Alex Wakely and Andrew Hall also failed to make the most of encouraging starts, both entering the 30s before they were removed.
Wakely became the third lbw victim of the innings, this time against off-spinner Tom Westley, a dismissal which ended a stand of 53, before Hall was bowled when attempting to swoop Craddock.
That signalled Craddock's first Championship wicket of his career. He is currently on a two-month trial after impressing against Essex while playing for the Unicorns earlier in the season.
Craddock was to stamp his mark with three further wickets as he pressed his claims for a long-term contract. Chaminda Vaas hit a catch to Ryan ten Doeschate at deep mid-on, Lee Daggett was snapped up at short leg by Jaik Mickleburgh and James Middlebrook put up an easy catch to cover.
That wicket left Craddock with figures of four wickets for 70 runs from 30 overs - and he no doubt derived even more satisfaction from the fact it was against a county for whom he had a trial last season.
Westley finished with 2 for 45 and Masters 2 for 35 as Essex emerged with 19 points. The visitors had to settle for just three.