Click to watch the Essex cricket celebrations with Donovan Blake in Chelmsford
Essex have won their first County Championship title since 1992.
Ryan ten Doeschate's team put themselves on the brink of glory when theytrounced Warwickshire by an innings inside three days at Edgbaston.
But after their eighth victory of a remarkable season, Essex had to wait forsecond-placed Lancashire's failure to win away to Somerset to be confirmed before they could start celebrating the silverware.
Lancashire duly lost by seven wickets at Taunton on Friday morning, and Essex have therefore completed their task with two matches to spare - in their first season back in the top flight following promotion from Specsavers Division Two last summer.
Confirmation of Lancashire's defeat came just after noon, while Essex were on their team coach back to Chelmsford - having celebrated their win overWarwickshire if not yet the title in Birmingham the previous evening.
After word came through on the M40, though, Essex and their players were quick to mark the occasion via their social media accounts.
Essex chief executive Derek Bowden, waiting for the players and coaching staff to arrive in Chelmsford, spoke of his admiration for what they have achieved.
It is the seventh title for Essex, all their previous successes coming between 1979 and their last one in 1992 when they retained the championship during the all-conquering years of England stars such as Graham Gooch, Nasser Hussain and Derek Pringle.
The glory days have returned under Ten Doeschate and coach Chris Silverwood, the former England bowler who was promoted to his position for the start of the 2016 season and has immediately delivered back-to-back championship seasons in Division Two and then Division One.
Former England and Essex cricketer Keith Fletcher was the coach of the last Essex side to win the County Championship and captained the side to their first ever title in 1979