Wayne Parnell hit an unbeaten half century as Worcestershire went down fighting against Essex at Chelmsford as their innings and 129 run defeat confirmed relegation from Division One of the Specsavers County Championship.

The South African hit his second Championship fifty for the County who were bowled out for 251 – 45 minutes after lunch on the third day.

The 29-year-old gave another example of his all-round talent which will form an important part of the County side as they strive to bounce back to the top flight at the first attempt next summer.

He struck two sixes and six fours in his 94 ball knock.

Joe Clarke did not add to his overnight 74 before he lost his middle stump to the third ball of the day from Jamie Porter.

Keeper Ben Cox (9) came down the wicket and attempted to hit spinner Simon Harmer over the top and was bowled.

In the next over nightwatchman Josh Tongue (12) drove at Sam Cook and fell to a sharp and low catch in the gulley by Dan Lawrence.

Worcestershire were then 161-7 but Parnell and Barnard counter-attacked to good effect in adding 51 before lunch.

Without addition to the score, Barnard (22) drove at Porter and edged through to Adam Wheater in the first over after the resumption.

Ben Twohig (18) kept Parnell company company while 39 more runs were added.

Parnell had time to complete his half century before Harmer ended the game with two wickets in two balls.

Twohig pushed forward and was caught on the on side by Ryan ten Doeschate and then Dillon Pennington (0) was bowled by the next delivery.

The County were always facing an uphill battle after being bowled out for 94 by lunch on the first day.