LV= COUNTY CHAMPIONSHIP, DIVISION TWO, Chelmsford: Kent 247 & 238 beat Essex 201 & 227 by 57 runs Kent 20pts, Essex 4pts Match scorecard
Robbie Joseph took three wickets on the final morning as Kent took 43 minutes to seal victory over Essex by 57 runs.
Essex had begun the day at Chelmsford needing 87 more runs to win with four wickets intact.
But after adding 20 to their overnight 198-6 they soon crumbled once Joseph had Tim Phillips caught at third slip.
Simon Cook had David Masters caught behind when he top-edged a pull, before Joseph (4-25) claimed the final two wickets to bowl Essex out for 227.
They came in successive overs as James Foster edged an outswinger to Kent wicketkeeper Geraint Jones, before Reece Topley completed a pair on his Championship debut when he edged to James Tredwell at first slip.
Essex head coach Paul Grayson told BBC Essex:
"You're always disappointed to lose your first game of the season.
"The first day I thought we bowled pretty well, possibly could have bowled them out for 180, we maybe missed the boat there.
"And when you're 49 for six you're always struggling to get back into the game.
"It's not all doom and gloom, there were some very good individual performances."
Kent captain Rob Key told BBC Radio Kent: "It's a good start to the season but that's all it is. We've had a very good pre-season, probably one of the best pre-seasons we've had for a while and it showed in the cricket - normally we're slow starters.
"It was brilliant to see Robbie Joseph come back. He's had a lot of bad luck over the last couple of years so to come back and bowl like that [was excellent].
"Up until two weeks ago he was really struggling for form after having a long lay-off, but when it's mattered, he's really stepped up."
Kent fast bowler Robbie Joseph told BBC Radio Kent: "It felt really good - slowly but surely the rhythm got there. I'm just happy to be playing cricket and to be playing the way I'm feeling is fantastic really.
"I'm still a little bit close on the front line, but I'll work on that in time. But the main thing is I wasn't really very comfortable in the past few years of getting there and getting there in a strong position.
"Now I am and I feel I've got more control and can do exactly what I want. It feels like I can make whatever I want happen and I'm feeling really good."
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