County Championship Division Two, Chelmsford, day three: Somerset 312 & 184-4 beat Essex 144 & 349 by six wickets
Points: Somerset 20, Essex 2.5
Somerset clinched the Division Two title as they wrapped up a six-wicket win over Essex with more than five sessions to spare at Chelmsford.
South African Neil McKenzie hit the winning boundary to reach 33 not out as the visitors finished on 184-4.
It took them just 21.5 overs after starting day three on 50-1, despite Andy Bichel taking 3-65 for Essex.
Peter Trego hit 44 off 30 balls and Neil Edwards (35) and James Hildreth (32 not out) helped complete the job.
"The fact that we have won nine matches has been very satisfying. It shows that we have adopted a positive approach.
"I believe we are capable of challenging for the first division title next season," said Somerset captain Justin Langer.
Somerset were in no mood to hang around when play got under way with Trego taking 22 off one over from Danish Kaneria as he shared a 76-run partnership with Edwards.
Bichel eventually had Trego leg-before and three balls later accounted for Edwards, with the help of a magnificent diving catch by Tim Phillips at first slip.
Langer weighed in with 28 before chancing his arm against leg-spinner Kaneria and being stumped by James Foster.
But that proved to be the last success for Essex, who were later docked half a point for a slow over rate, as McKenzie and Hildreth calmly knocked off the remaining runs in an unbroken stand of 54.
Langer afterwards hailed Hildreth as one of the two best young batsmen in England, along with Essex's Ravi Bopara.
But he also singled out veteran seam bowler Andy Caddick, who has so far contributed 70 wickets to Somerset's Championship campaign at a cost of only 24 runs each.
"He's been absolutely fantastic and a joy to play with - Andy has been the catalyst for our success. I cannot understand why he has not been a regular in the England Test side for the last 10 years," Langer said.