Lancashire 131 (Harmer 5-41) and 73 (Snater 6-10) beat Essex 107 (Cook 40, Bailey 5-36) and 59 (Balderson 5-14, Williams 4-24) by 38 runs
Only two Essex batters reached double figures against the telling and incisive bowling of the Lancashire duo, who helped their side to 19 points while Essex were left with a paltry three after a dramatic Championship clash.
The demons of the previous day, when 26 wickets fell, continued to manifest themselves. Lancashire resumed their second innings on 25 for 6 and lost their seventh 20 balls into the morning’s play.
The two Toms, Bailey and Hartley, both hit successive boundaries in an uncharacteristically wayward over from Sam Cook that cost 17 runs. Bailey then threw the bat at the first ball of the next over, only to pick out Dan Lawrence on the long-leg boundary and hand Snater his sixth wicket and incredible figures of 6 for 10.
Cook gained a measure of personal satisfaction when Hartley attempted an upper-cut to a short ball and only succeeded in edging behind. It was Cook’s 200th first-class wicket for Essex.
Simon Harmer had the last word when he struck Matt Parkinson full on the front pad to end the visitors’ second innings inside 24 overs for a paltry 73. All-rounder Snater, Essex’s player of the year, was rewarded for a breakthrough season with his county cap during the lunch interval.
With the floodlights on throughout the day, Alastair Cook and Nick Browne made a comparatively serene start to Essex’s chase, and had 24 on the board in seven overs to ease the nerves of the home camp before Browne was trapped lbw by Bailey.
But the introduction of Balderson sent panic waves through the home camp. With his second delivery he had Cook beaten all ends up by one that ducked in and dislodged his leg bail.
His next ball had Dan Lawrence chipping carelessly to Williams at midwicket before the bowler breached Matt Critchley’s defences to claim his hat-trick.
Lunch arrived soon afterwards with Balderson feasting on figures of 2-2-0-3, while Essex tottered on 34 for 4.
The next wicket to fall on a wicket denounced as ‘unplayable’ by Lancashire head coach Glen Chapple was that of Feroze Khushi, bowled by Williams for a single as Essex tottered further to 35 for 5.
Adam Rossington opted for aggression and collected two boundaries before Balderson wiped him out and, with the score on 55, Essex lost their seventh and eighth wicket, both to Williams.
During all the carnage, skipper Tom Westley had stood firm but he finally succumbed for 13, having survived 41 balls before being caught to become a fifth wicket for Balderson.
Williams rounded off proceedings when he bowled Sam Cook to leave Lancashire celebrating victory in a match in which the four innings had produced just 370 runs from 750 balls, the shortest first-class match since 2006.