Leicestershire 280 and 55 for 0 require a further 108 runs to beat Essex 166 and 276 (Westley 97, ten Doeschate 77, Shreck 5-71)
Leicestershire established themselves as firm favourites to claim their first Championship victory in 38 attempts after being left a modest target of 163 in their Division Two clash with Essex at Chelmsford.
They go into the final day on 55 without loss after Charlie Shreck had claimed his best figures for the county. He picked up 5 for 71 in 26.2 overs as Essex were bowled out in their second innings for 276, three of his wickets coming with the new ball as the home side lost their last five wickets in the space of nine overs for 20 runs.
Shreck's hostility and accuracy proved far too much for all but Tom Westley and Ryan ten Doeschate. The fifth wicket pair displayed a determination and technique that appeared beyond their colleagues after coming together at 92 for 4 and with their side still 22 short of wiping off a first innings deficit of 114.
With ten Doeschate providing the main aggression, they gathered 128 in 32 overs and they looked in such little trouble that it seemed the visitors would be left with a more formidable victory challenge. But all that changed when Shreck found the edge to have ten Doeschate caught in the slip cordon for 77, a contribution that included nine fours in an innings spanning 101 balls.
His departure came with the total on 220 and 36 runs later, Westley's valiant effort was brought to an end by Ben Raine. The paceman, who picked up career-best figures of 48 in the first innings trapped him leg before wicket with the batsman just three runs short of his first century of the summer.
Westley's watchful resistance spanned just over five and a quarter hours and brought him a dozen boundaries. His removal led to a rapid decline in the innings as Shreck got to work and of the last five batsmen, only James Foster with 22, managed to reach double figures.
Raine finished with 3 for 59 while Clint McKay picked up 2 for 57 as the pair provided Shreck with fine support. The trio were then able to put their feet up and watch Angus Robson and Matt Boyce launch their side's victory bid on a firm foundation against bowling that lacked the incisive edge to cause the openers problems.
Robson, who anchored Leicestershire's first innings with a superb century, reached the close on 34 whilst Boyce will resume in the morning with 20 and his side requiring just a further 108 runs to celebrate a long-overdue triumph.
Essex vs Leics
LV= County Championship Division Two
England Domestic Season