Two more unflappable characters would be hard to find on the domestic cricket circuit, but Alex Gidman and Will Tavare deserved stiff drinks aplenty after sparing Gloucestershire from back-to-back home defeats.
Forced onto the back foot by ropey bowling for much of this LV= County Championship contest, the home side secured a draw thanks to a brilliant unbeaten stand of 233 between the former captain and the highly impressive rookie.
Gidman showed his capacity to be both dogged and fluent in tandem with Tavare, who continues to develop as rapidly as the ground and now has two centuries to his name in three matches.
It was no surprise that the visitors' first act of the final day was to declare on their overnight total of 305 for eight, giving them a lead of 171.
Gloucestershire could ill-afford to dwell on the horrors of the night before, when 190 runs were shipped in the space of 35 overs and Essex duo Ben Foakes and James Foster completed a record sixth-wicket stand to put their side firmly in control.
Chief County tormentor was always likely to be the wily David Masters, who claimed six for 48 in the first innings and offers a control that only Will Gidman could match in the home ranks.
The 36-year-old was quickly back into the grove, striking in the third over of the day when Chris Dent (5) fended outside off stump and succumbed to Foster's regulation catch behind the stumps.
Rapid left-armer Tymal Mills then claimed the huge wicket of Gloucestershire captain Michael Klinger (7), who played inside a ball slanted across him and was bowled.
Tavare could have departed before troubling the scorers, but Foakes put down a difficult chance at short leg to deny Masters a second scalp from the pavilion end.
A centurion on his four-day debut against Hampshire, Tavare was otherwise unruffled again and he remained unbeaten at lunch alongside Gidman as the hosts reached 77 for two – still 94 runs in arrears.
Batting looked a good deal easier in the second session, and there would have been few tears shed in the home dressing room when it was confirmed Masters was off the field undergoing treatment for a hand injury.
Yet Tavare and Gidman showed no signs of shirking their responsibilities as they banished any prospect of an innings defeat.
Monty Panesar posed very little threat when belatedly summoned into the Essex attack, while the previously lively Mills reverted to the harmlessly short fare that characterised his six-over spell in the first innings.
Gidman and Tavare were unbeaten on 95 and 87 respectively at tea with Gloucestershire now 210 for two, ahead by 39 and surely home and dry.
Now it was time for the hosts to enjoy themselves, Gidman clipping Panesar through extra cover for four to bring up his ton in the 64th over.
The spinner was then launched for the first six of the match by Gidman, who showed scant regard for the welfare of the new flats with a majestic straight hit.
Gidman was dropped on 115 by England captain Alastair Cook at slip before Tavare joined his senior partner on three figures with a scampered two off Tom Westley.