Premier Division

Wanstead and Snaresbrook suffered an eight-wicket defeat at Brentwood on Saturday which could prove terminal for their title chances.

Brentwood, in second, lead third-placed Wanstead by 27 points. League-leaders Chelmsford hold a 31-point advantage over Wanstead, though.

The visitors were some way from their best with the bat and after winning the toss decided to make first use of the wicket.

That decision quickly backfired as opener Saurav Prabhakar (4) was dismissed to leave Wanstead on 16 for one.

Arfan Akram (33) was next to go and his departure, with Wanstead on 69 for two, preceded a flurry of wickets which saw Feroze Khushi (32) and Kishen Velani (0) removed with only 18 runs added to the away side’s total.

Wickets continued to fall with Hassan Chowdhury (36) and Misem Ali Syed (4) bookending a streak which saw Wanstead go from 153 for five to 169 all out.

Brentwood then proved they had too much in the tank with the bat as Tom Oakley (48), Guy Balmford (66) and Tom Phillippe (42) steered the hosts to 171 for two to win.

The relegation zone came sharply into focus for Loughton on Saturday as they slumped to a 163-run trouncing at home to Chelmsford.

Currently fourth bottom and just five points clear of South Woodford in the first of two relegation sports, rapid improvement will be required for Loughton.

Fielding first, the home side had no answer to Chelmsford’s irresistible batting display and a knock of 103 from Ben Clifford – from just 90 deliveries – was the highlight of a mesmerising innings which saw the away side declare on 329 for seven.

Bilal Butt was the only Loughton bowler to enjoy any measure of success with the ball but his four wickets came at a cost of 114 runs off 20 overs.

Chasing an imposing target, Loughton were always in salvation mode but the loss of Mahmad Ali Khail (5) left the hosts at six for one.

Daniel Gymer (0) followed three runs later and Loughton were accounted for in 45.5 overs having made just 166 in reply.

Buckhurst Hill made a big statement in the battle against the drop, beating direct relegation rivals South Woodford by eight wickets to move out of immediate danger.

Hill had been second bottom prior to the start of play but after sealing a home win they leapfrog South Woodford and put up a four-point buffer between themselves and the relegation zone.

The away side never recovered from a stuttering start which saw three of the top order removed for single figures; Shahid Maan (three for 20) and Mohib Shah (three for 51) the protagonists.

Dane Watson (4), Harry Neicho (4) and Michael Browne (9) could not get going and their dismissals left South Woodford on 19 for three.

Max Shirt (48) and Joe Craddock (30) went some way to steadying the innings before Harry Shirt (33) and Louis Cant (44 not out) helped nudge South Woodford up to 216 for eight.

In reply, Ricky Reynolds took 159 deliveries to make an unbeaten 114 which inspired Buckhurst Hill to reach the necessary 217 for two. Alexander Maskell chipped in with 63 from just 65 balls as Hill picked up a potentially pivotal win.

Resolute batting ensured Chingford took something from their home clash with Colchester and East Essex, hanging in for a draw.

Visitors Colchester won the toss and decided to make first use of the wicket. That decision was vindicated as they closed on 275 for nine before declaring in the 64th over.

Ollie Lovejoy (10) was bowled by Nadir Noori (one for 32) with just 14 runs on the board but that proved a false down and Colchester’s top order supplied the runs for a good total.

The Chingford reply was less than fluent with Jay Edmonds (27) and Ben MacGregor (14) both sent back to the pavilion swiftly.

Jack Preddy, batting at three, offered some resistance to make 71 but his contribution was the exception rather than the rule and the home side soon turned their attentions to preservation.

A draw was secured with Mitan Patel (36 not out) batting out the final overs alongside Richard MacGregor (0 not out) to finish on 198 for nine.

Division One

Woodford Wells will be increasingly anxious after an eight-wicket home loss against Hutton.

Three places clear of the drop, Wells are only 11 points ahead of Hutton who occupy the first relegation place with three to play.

Inserted, Wells made a poor start through Joe Johnson (16) and Ed Buxton (17). Fifty for two became 70 for five in an alarming sequence as only Brenton Thompson (74 not out) provided any kind of solidity, going through seven partners at the crease in all.

A late knock of 59 from Rory Ellison, from just 70 deliveries, helped enhance the Wells total and the home side closed on 203 for eight (declared).

Hutton scarcely broke sweat in bettering that score, with Daniel Hagger making an unbeaten 103 to steer the visitors to a comfortable win, hitting 206 for two after 40.5 overs.

Division Two

Fives and Heronians saw their lead at the summit cut to 12 points after a draw at Wickford.

However, the leaders are still in the all-important top two by 59 points and look set to clinch promotion in the next two weeks.

Fives toiled in the field with the first wicket finally coming after 105 runs had been put on the board. Sarfaraz Ahmed (five for 84) and Greg Summers (four for 53) had the most joy with the ball for Fives but Wickford still put on 295 before being halted.

The away side could not offer the same resilience with the bat and despite handy knocks from Gary Edwards (39) and Gary Norris (36), failed to fire en-route to 219 for nine as securing a draw became the order of the day.

Thirty-eight not out from Jonny Kay at the tail saw Fives secure eight points, finishing on 219 for nine.

Division Three

A 99-run loss at Old Southendian and Southchurch has done Epping no favours in their relegation battle but the two sides beneath them did not play.

Third-from-bottom Epping are 46 points clear of second-bottom side West Essex and 66 in front of Brentwood, the team propping up the table. Neither, though, played at the weekend.

Old Southendian won the toss and elected to bat first, taking full advantage to compile a good score of 255 for five before declaring.

Tanvir Hasan (two for 44) and Sachin Bawa (two for 52) both had some joy with the ball but never truly unsettled the hosts.

The Epping reply began in disastrous fashion as Ramiz Miah (11) and Rakesh Bagga (13) were bowled by Matthew Austin to leave the visitors on 34 for two. It was soon 39 for four as Kunal Solanki (5) and Bawa (1) followed.

Tapan Patel (44) and Manish Patel (37) were the only Epping batsmen to stick around for any length of time but they could only delay the inevitable and the away side were all out for 156, comfortably shy of their target.

Mid-table Woodford Green could only muster a draw at home to Walthamstow, despite Mohammad Hassan’s six-for.

Hassan (six for 103) helped restrict the away side to 255 for nine before they declared.

Woodford Green made an uninspiring start but through Jagdeep Singh Chagger (44), Jack Cossey (33), Anthony Palmer (40) and Mashood Qazi (89) they dug deep to hold out for a draw with 237 for seven.

Oakfield Parkonians remain second and on-course for promotion despite an 18-run loss at Westcliff-On-Sea.

Chasing 170 all out, Parks were dismissed on 152 after 37.2 overs.