Essex won the Bob Willis Trophy after a five-day draw against Somerset ended in their favour thanks to their superior first-inning run total at Lord's.
Reigning county champions Essex extended their red-ball dominance after edging the first in what could be a new tradition of first-class season deciders for English counties.
Somerset declared early on the final day on 272-7 to leave Essex a target of 237 while giving themselves 80 overs to claim all 10 wickets.
But neither side could clinch an outright win as Essex finished on 179-6 after a 27-over stand between Ryan Ten Doeschate and Adam Wheater frustrated Somerset.
Essex knew they held an ace up their sleeve with their 36-run lead from the first half of the game that effectively acted as a tie-breaker.
The key performance belonged to former England Test captain Alastair Cook, whose 172 on day three allowed Essex to reach 337-8 and overhaul Somerset's first innings total of 301.
While there was no long-awaited maiden red-ball county title for Somerset, they could take heart from Tom Lammonby and Eddie Byrom making fine centuries, while bowler Lewis Gregory finished with a match haul of 8-124.
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