Essex 569 (Bopara 94, ten Doeschate 91, Westley 88, Lawrence 82, Rabada 4-118) and 9 for 0 (Browne 8*, Cook 1*) beat Kent 207 (Blake 89*, Porter 3-51) and 370 (Northeast 166*, Tredwell 124, Quinn 4-60) by ten wickets
Matt Quinn finally broke a monumental record eighth-wicket stand of 222 between Sam Northeast and James Tredwell to set up Essex for their third Championship win of the season and a return to the top of the Specsavers County Championship.
The Kent pair had come together seven overs before tea on the third day and were finally separated 80 overs and just over five hours later in mid-afternoon on the final day.
Once Tredwell had gone for a career-best 124, Essex had an extra spring in their step and they wrapped up the Kent second innings in four more overs before knocking off the nine runs required for victory in 10 balls to claim a maximum 24 points. That took them back above Kent at the top of Division Two by 18 points.
Northeast, with his third century of the season, and second in four innings, remained 166 not out and had the pleasure of rocking on to the back foot to hit Graham Napier for the four that meant Essex had to bat again. He faced 320 balls and hit 23 fours.
Northeast said: "I think we can look back at it now with a sense of pride. It still doesn't make me feel any better at the moment. We nearly dared to believe that we were going to do it. We just kept ticking it over, and it's a shame it had to end like that in a collapse.
"But it was great character from Tredders. It sums him up as a person really. In those tricky situations he comes out fighting. It is huge credit to him.
"As a batting unit we would admit we should have got more runs in the first innings, and even in the second here on a pitch that got flatter as it went on. We have put some great totals on the board this year and hopefully Tredders, too, can kick on from this."
Kent had been asked to score 362 to avoid an innings defeat and took up 122 overs, and three-and-a-half sessions, in doing so. After being 138 for 7 when Tredwell joined his captain, and after nearly five sessions in the field when Essex amassed 569 runs, it was a truly Herculean effort.
A weary Tredwell finally went on 124 - one better than the unbeaten 123 he scored against the New Zealanders in 2008. He pulled Quinn to mid-on where Ryan ten Doeschate pouched the catch. He had batted for 269 balls and hit 20 fours.
The last two wickets offered little support for Northeast. Kagiso Rabada had already shown a tendency to try and hook every ball. So when Quinn dropped one short he skied almost vertically and James Foster moved round in front of the stumps to take.
Mitch Claydon then gave Quinn his deserved fourth wicket when he lofted to Ravi Bopara at deep square leg.
Essex spent a frustrating day in the field. Not even the introduction of the new ball in the third over of the morning brought about any change in the obdurate, but serene batting of the Kent eighth-wicket pair.
Tredwell survived a loud and long appeal for lbw to the first ball of the day from Tom Westley, but in truth his front leg was thrust well forward. Quinn then produced a peach of a ball that Northeast just,managed to avoid.
Indeed, Quinn was the pick of the Essex bowlers. He almost had Tredwell twice in one over, first when he slashed, but slashed hard at a ball that cleared the slip cordon, and when the batsman got an inside-edge that just missed off stump and raced away to fine leg for another four.
Otherwise it was plain sailing on a sunny pre-lunch session. The only interruptions to a fine example in concentration came when batting records when announced. The first was when they beat the 157 of Alan Hilder and Charlie Wright for Kent versus Essex, which dated back to a match at Gravesend in 1924.
When Tredwell cut Bopara for his 19th four to backward point to reach his century, it also set a Kent eighth-wicket stand against all-comers. They went on to eclipse the 177 that stood to Geraint Jones and Yasir Arafat since 2007 when they thrashed Warwickshire all around Canterbury.
Northeast, who was dropped on 30 on the third night, survived another chance 115 runs later. Quinn was the unfortunate bowler on the first occasion, and straight after lunch he had the Kent captain hitting firmly but uppishly to midwicket where Dan Lawrence dived to his left but spilled the catch.
Northeast scored only 29 runs in the morning session, but he came alive with a powerful square-cut off Quinn that brought up his 150 off 299 balls, with 20 fours.
As records continued to fall, Tredwell went past his highest Championship score of 116 not out nine years ago against Yorkshire - and then beat his career best.