Premier Division

Wanstead and Snaresbrook appear determined to take the title fight to the final day after picking up a 19-run win over at Chelmsford thanks to Kishen Velani’s hat-trick.

Victory leaves Wanstead third in the league standings, trailing second-placed Chelmsford by ten points and leaders Brentwood by 22 points with two fixtures remaining.

Wanstead won the toss and elected to bat first but quickly found themselves in serious trouble at 14 for four after John Chambers (0), Saurav Prabhakar (1), Velani (5) and Ishmael Dar (2) had all been removed.

Arfan Akram (21) was a rare constant but it was not until skipper Joe Ellis-Grewal, batting at number eight, that another batsmen even made it as far as double figures. Mohammed Fayyaz Khan’s 26 added to 20 from the captain but Wanstead were all out for a dismal 93.

That should have laid the foundations for a Chelmsford victory but stunning bowling from Velani (seven for 31) and Zain Shahzad (three for 38) secured an unlikely win for Wanstead, who removed their hosts for just 74.

Nicholas Bailey (36) was one of just two home batsmen to reach double figures as the Wanstead pair tore through the hosts’ line-up; Velani taking the wickets of Ben Clifford, Jack Sterland and Chris Prowting to record a hat-trick.

Ben MacGregor also took a hat-trick to inspire Chingford to a 29-run away win at South Woodford.

Inserted, Chingford made a bright start through opener Mubasher Hassan (71) but the rest of the top order never got going.

It therefore fell to the middle order to pick up the pieces of an innings which appeared to be on the verge of collapse.

Alfie Taylor (37), Chris Baldock (24) and MacGregor (21) all got starts and helped nudge the away side up to 189 all out; Harry Shirt taking four for 37.

That total was attainable but Woodford never looked like threatening Chingford after the top order were accounted for.

James Swash (58) top scored but only three other batsman reached double figures with the contributions of Joe Craddock (33) and Harry Neicho (32) the most significant.

MacGregor finished with figures of six for 36 for Chingford, including a hat-trick, whilst Taylor snared three for 59 as the hosts were removed for 160.

Loughton will go into the final two games of the season feeling apprehensive after a three-wicket loss at Colchester and East Essex left them just two points clear of the drop zone.

Perched just ahead of South Woodford – who currently occupy the first of two relegation places – on 147 points, it promises to be a nervy run-in for Loughton.

Having won the toss the away side opted to make first use of the wicket. But almost immediately they were left to rue that decision as their top three batsmen were removed for a total of just 15 runs.

Rishi Patel (32) and Bilal Butt (28) finally got going but they were not around long enough to make a real impact and Loughton were soon dismissed for a well below-par 102.

Credit should go to Loughton’s bowling unit, though, who made sure their side at least went down with a fight after taking seven Colchester wickets before the hosts wrapped up victory.

Butt (four for 23) and Andrew Bridges (three for 31) were at the centre of a dogged display which ensured the hosts could only make sure of the points once they hit 103 for seven in the 33rd over.

Buckhurst Hill were left to rue their failure to bowl out Harold Wood as the hosts held out for an undeserved draw in a rain-affected match.

Visiting Buckhurst opened the batting after being inserted. They made a good start through Alexander Maskell (54), Willem Scholtz (53) and Ricky Reynolds (37) and looked to be on their way to a mammoth score.

The run-rate slowed further down the order with the final three batsmen all going for ducks but not before Jamie Allen chipped in with an unbeaten 38.

That gave Buckhurst a healthy total of 244 all out to defend, which they looked like doing.

Struggling on 39 for four after good bowling from Mohib shah (three for 29) and Scholtz (two for 21), Wood held firm. With rain seeing almost two hours of play lost, the home side managed to bat their way to 85 for five after 29 overs, securing eight points.

Division One

Woodford Wells were beaten by 24 runs at Southend-on-Sea & EMT, a result which has little significance given their place in mid-table.

Hosts Southend won the toss and elected to make first use of the wicket, a decision which was vindicated as they posted 247 for five before declaring.

A huge 118 from Oliver Wagstaff set the tone for the Southend innings and although Rory Ellison took four wickets, they came at the expense of 80 runs.

The Woodford reply got off to a good start as Joe Johnson (46) and Christopher Briggs (45) both fell agonizingly short of half centuries.

However, the rest of the order struggled to meet those levels and although Peter McDermott (28) and Brenton Thompson (22) both got starts, neither man could kick on for a big score.

Eventually Wells ran out of wickets having hit 223 in reply, falling short of overhauling the home side.

Division Two

Fives and Heronians have secured promotion with two games to spare after a comprehensive seven-wicket win at home to Ardleigh Green.

Put into bat after losing the toss, the visitors could only post a below-par 166 all out thanks to the bowling of Fives’ Ali Raza (three for 35).

After a wobbly start Fives breezed to the all-important win with an unbeaten 87 from Gamindu Kanishka added to by 48 not out from Jake Poulter at five.

With two to play Fives will now fight it out for the title. They are currently 12 points ahead of Billericay in second.

Division Three

Oakfield Parkonians are still in pole position to clinch promotion even after their clash at Basildon & Pitsea was abandoned after 15 overs of the second innings.

Parks put together a decent score of 220 for nine, with Faisal Bhatti (61) and Paran Kalley (43) top scoring for the away side.

But before Basildon could get too far in their reply the game was cut short by the inclement weather, having put 64 runs on the board in the first 15 overs of the second innings.

Parks remain 38 points ahead of Walthamstow in third.

West Essex are running out of chances to avoid the drop after falling to a 69-run loss at Westcliff-on-Sea.

Sajid Mehmood took three for 41 for West Essex, helping restrict Westcliff to 194 for six before they declared.

But from what appeared to be a winnable position, the away side failed to capitalise and despite Mehmood’s 53, were all out for just 125 in reply.

Epping are edging closer to safety with a draw at home to Benfleet leaving them 37 points clear of the relegation zone with two to play.

All out for 149 after winning the toss, Epping successfully defended that meagre total but could not remove their visitors, who held out obstinately with 88 for six to take four points apiece.

Mid-table Woodford Green have nothing left to play for and were well beaten at home to bottom-of-the-league Old Brentwoods, going down by 84 runs.

The visitors put up 18 all out with Sean Martin helping himself to an impressive haul of five for 71 from 14 overs.

But Woodford could not capitalise on their position and were instead reduced to 102 all out following a pitiful batting display which saw just four members of the side make it to double figures; Saad Ijaz (26) the top scorer.