Colchester (final day of four): Essex 282 (R N ten Doeschate 94 no, M L Pettini 59, J S Foster 55, Kabir Ali 6-83, Imran Arif 4-84) & 322-8 dec (J S Foster 111 no) v Worcestershire 258 (B F Smith 74, G J Batty 60) & 349-4 (D K H Mitchell 102, B F Smith 82, G A Hick 78 no, S C Moore 50) Worcestershire (19pts) beat Essex (5pts) by 6 wkts
Daryl Mitchell's century provided the cornerstone for Worcestershire's comfortable six-wicket win over Essex at Colchester, to consolidate their place at the top of Division Two.
He struck 102 as the visitors made light work of scoring the 347 needed for victory, after their hosts had declared on their overnight 322 for eight.
Mitchell gathered his runs from 191 balls and hit nine fours - and looked so much in control that it came as something of a surprise when he finally edged to Jason Gallian in the slips off Ryan ten Doeschate.
By then the visitors were only 83 from their target - and they were guided to the winning post by Graeme Hick.
It was he who sealed victory with his eighth four to finish with 78 from 84 deliveries. He also hit one six.
Stephen Moore and Ben Smith also struck half-centuries against an attack that sorely missed the guile of leg-spinner Danish Kaneria, a victim of a broken finger two days ago.
Moore struck seven fours and a six in completing a half-century from 88 balls but without addition was caught at short-leg by Varun Chopra from the last ball before lunch - pushing forward against off-spinner James Middlebrook.
That wicket fell with a total on 102, and the same combination removed Vikram Solanki immediately afterwards - the Worcestershire captain bagging a pair.
But any hopes that Essex might have entertained of making further rapid inroads were to be dashed by Mitchell and Smith.
Smith led the way with several punishing strokes either side of the wicket, in a partnership of 126.
He was dismissed when he pulled left-arm spinner Grant Flower to deep square-leg, where Chris Wright dived forward to pull off a fine catch.
Smith's 82 from 123 deliveries contained 10 fours - and during the course of it, he completed 1,000 runs for the season.
Mitchell's resistance came to an end soon afterwards - leaving Hick, ably assisted by Steven Davies, to see Worcestershire to a triumph that earned them 19 points.
Worcestershire are now virtually assured of one of the top two places needed to reach the top flight.