Peter Siddle and Simon Harmer combine to secure innings victory
With a method that took them to the title last year, Essex earned a win in three days that lifts them out of relegation danger
Essex 435 (Lawrence 124, Chopra 61, ten Doeschate 55, Wheater 52, Abbott 5-90) beat Hampshire 172 and 211 (Alsop 51, Siddle 5-48, Harmer 4-64 by an innings and 52 runs
Peter Siddle took 5 for 48 with some typically accurate bowling as Essex claimed their fourth Specsavers County Championship of the season with Hampshire's defeat by an innings and 52 runs confirmed with 14 and a half overs left on the fourth day.
It was Siddle's third five-wicket haul in six Championship appearances for Essex. He plays the last game of his stint against champions-elect Surrey, starting on Tuesday at Chelmsford, before returning to Australia.
He was well supported by Simon Harmer, who alternated between his traditional haunt at the Hayes Close End and the River End, and finished with 4 for 64. He has 43 wickets this summer to follow up his 72 last year.
Hampshire, losing for the fourth time this season, moved deeper into troubled waters in the lower reaches of Division One.
Tom Alsop and Sam Northeast kept Essex in the field longer than they would have liked into the early evening. Northeast steadied the ship during the morning with Kyle Abbott, finally departing after 101 balls for 41. The left-handed Alsop was even more the immovable object, his innings spanning all three sessions while eking out 51 runs from 141 balls.
After losing the whole of the first day to damp spots where the wicketkeepers stand, Essex managed to pull off their victory inside three days. It was reminiscent of many of the wins in last season's title success, piling up runs in the first innings and bowling teams out twice. This was the first time this season they had managed to do so. They also took a maximum 24 points for the first time this year.
Needing to take eight wickets at the start of the final day, it looked as if Essex would wrap the game in double-quick time, especially when Siddle carried on from his devastating bowling of the previous evening. He had left Hampshire 17 for 2 overnight, and reduced them further to 24 for 4 in his second over of the morning.
With the second ball of the over he had Ian Holland playing on and followed four balls later when Hampshire captain James Vince was undine by a beauty, an off-cutter that sent his off-stump flying.
A fifth-wicket stand of 39 ended in discord when Abbott called Northeast for a sharp single to substitute fielder Paul Walter at cover. Except Northeast didn't move. Abbott was halfway down the wicket and applying the brakes by the time substitute wicketkeeper Michael Pepper had gathered Walter's throw and removed the bails.
Harmer kept changing ends to keep the pressure on the batsmen. He was on at the Hayes Close End to end Northeast's stay soon after lunch. Harmer turned one away and caught the edge of the batsman's forward prod with Varun Chopra holding on at slip.
Bowling from the River End, Rilee Rossouw executed a reverse-sweep, rather out of synch with the match positon, but Harmer hit back when the South African drove into Nick Browne's hands at short cover.
Siddle had his fifth wicket when Liam Dawson got an inside edge that Pepper took one-handed going low down to his left.
Alsop, who hit 99 against Nottinghamshire last week, reached his fifty with his eighth boundary off 135 balls. His three-hour vigil ended when Harmer extracted some extra bounce and Pepper juggled with the ball before finally claiming the catch in front of the wicket.
Berg showed some late aggression when he put Harmer over long leg for six but Berg became Harmer's fourth wicket when he was lbw.