GLOUCESTERSHIRE were unable to pull off another great escape in the County Championship as they suffered a ten-wicket defeat against Essex at Chelmsford.

The County had recovered from perilous positions to earn draws from their last two home games against Surrey and Glamorgan, as well as in the reverse fixture against Essex earlier in the season, but were finally punished as they conceded over 500 runs in the first innings for the third game in a row.

After being reduced to 56-6 when batting first, Gloucestershire relied on the tail to help them score as many as 224, number ten David Payne top-scoring with an unbeaten 48 as Reece Topley (5-53) and David Masters (4-67) ripped through them.

The depleted bowling attack then toiled as Ravi Bopara (147) and Jesse Ryder (133) hit centuries in Essex’s total of 541 all out, the last six wickets going for just 32 runs with Jack Taylor taking 4-125 and spin partner Tom Smith 3-101.

Gloucestershire needed a big innings from someone to stave off defeat but Alex Gidman (53) was the only batsman to score a half-century in their total of 325.

A 52-run last wicket partnership between Adam Rouse (49) and Matthew Taylor (32*) ensured Essex had to bat again, taking just nine balls to reach their target of nine.

Gloucestershire have dropped to seventh in Division Two as Essex leap-frogged them and have a tough game against second-placed Hampshire at the Ageas Bowl starting next Monday.