Wanstead & Snaresbrook’s hopes of being crowned Essex Premier Division champions were dealt a crushing blow after they were comfortably beaten by five wickets by Brentwood away from home.

That defeat coupled with Hornchurch’s comprehensive victory extended the latter’s advantage at the top of the table to 11 points with just three games of the season remaining.

Skipper Joe Ellis-Grewal enjoyed a decent day with the bat, but his score of 84 not out wasn’t enough for Wanstead.

The National Cup champions’ innings started promisingly with Arfan Akram (35) and Bilal Patel (25) enjoying an opening partnership of 61.

After Patel exited the crease at 61-1, Akram swiftly followed and the duo were then joined by Feroze Khushi to leave Wanstead teetering on the brink at 65-3.

The side’s innings looked destined for failure when Robin Das was dismissed for a duck but Wanstead captain Ellis-Grewal came to the side’s rescue, with his 84 from 101 balls getting the team back on track.

However, he lacked supported from Wanstead’s lower order, who were dismissed for just 16 runs between them, meaning the away side posted a score of 218-9.

Brentwood’s response was pretty comprehensive, with opener Rishi Patel getting the wheels in motion by hitting 39.

Following Guy Balmford’s dismissal for 48 at 132-2, Will Buttleman went onto post 86 to put Brentwood in the driving seat.

Buttleman’s efforts were supported by Aaron West and Joe Buttleman, who both notched 17 as Brentwood surpassed Wanstead’s target with five wickets to spare.

Elsewhere, nothing could separate Chingford and Ilford, who shared the spoils after their match ended in a draw.

Alex Agedah was the start of the show for Chingford as following captain Alfie Taylor’s exit for 21, he stepped up and hit an unbeaten 153 not out, which was influential in helping the side post 275-7 inside 64 overs.

Ilford’s reply started slowly, with Chingford bowler Matt Smith enjoying early success with the ball, taking four wickets in quick succession.

Smith went onto score an excellent 6-26 but it wasn’t enough to secure Chingford the win, as Haaris Ayub scored a half century (55), while Akhil Anil added 49 to leave Ilford at 154-8 following 56 overs, ensuring the match was drawn.

In Division One, Buckhurst Hill moved to within four points of league leaders Hutton after they thrashed Gidea Park & Romford by 174 runs.

With Hutton losing to Upminster, Buckhurst Hill knew they had an ideal opportunity to close the gap on the leaders and opener Hendro Puchert led the way by hitting a century.

After he was run out for 119, Russell Beckett entered the crease and followed Puchert’s lead, hitting 53 from 96 balls.

The duo’s scores played an integral role in helping Buckhurst Hill reach 239-7 before they declared.

Having starred with the bat, Puchert would also enjoy good fortunes with the ball, as he recorded two early wickets by dismissing opener Callum Mitcham and then Gidea Park skipper Jamal Francis.

Puchert went on to take an excellent 3-16, but he was beaten in the wicket taking honours by Irfan Sahar (4-22), as a strong bowling display saw Buckhurst Hill bowl their opponents out for just 65.

Elsewhere, Woodford Wells were held by Colchester and East Essex in a tight match at Monkhams Lane.

Colchester won the toss and elected to bat first, with opener Jake MacGregor getting their innings off to a perfect start by hitting 109 from just 101 balls.

MacGregor’s early display was supported by Julian Russell, who surpassed the half century mark.

Following Russell’s exit for 73, Woodford bowler Deven Solanki then came to fore, as he took 5-53 to restrict Colchester to 262-9 before they declared.

Woodford knew they needed a bright start to their reply and that’s exactly what they got, with opener Nabel Shaikh and Knut Wilmot forging a 101 run partnership to help the side recover from losing Joe Johnson early on.

Shaikh went on to post 62, while Wilmot was just one run away from reaching a half-century before he was bowled by Denson Narayan.

The duo’s scores were built upon by Tanveer Shah (44) and captain Jonathan Gaffney (49), but a lack of support from Woodford’s lower order saw the match end in a draw, after the home side could only reach 241-9 inside 52 overs.

Meanwhile, Loughton came out on top in the clash between the top two, as they comfortably defeated Fives and Heronians in Division Two. It proved to be a disappointing showing by Fives, who were dismissed for just 58 after only two of their batsmen were able to reach double figures.

Loughton’s Jordan Ramsden (5-28) and Abdul Nasir (5-30) took full advantage of Fives’ profligacy with the bat, as they shared the wicket taking honours to give the home side a golden opportunity to get one over their league rivals.

In the end, Loughton breezed past the target, with Bilaal Anwar posting (33) and both Osman Choudhry as well as Bilal Butt hitting nine not out, as they surpassed Fives’ score with six wickets to spare.

South Woodford couldn’t build on last week’s morale boosting win over Loughton as they were just edged out by Old Southendian and Southchurch.

Woodford’s Saihaj Jaspal, Indika Wickramaratne and Bradley Copper all enjoyed early success with the ball to leave Old Southendian teetering, but Ahmed Khawaja got their innings back on track when he posted 73.

However, Khawaja lacked supported from Old Southendian’s lower order, with Daniel Baines only able to hit 19, and Wickramaratne, who took 3-34, dismissed Andrew McGarry as well as Joe Madren late on, leaving Woodford with a target of 179 to beat.

Woodford’s innings started promisingly, but a series of early dismissals for single figures undermined their progress.

Jamie Carroll restored some hope when he hit 62, but he lacked support from Woodford’s remaining batsmen, who could only record double figures, meaning they fell 24 runs short.

In Division Three, it wasn’t a good weekend for Walthamstow as they were comfortably beaten by an Old Brentwoods side inspired by Arsalan Khan and Baber Choudhary.

Khan took an excellent 4-30, while Choudhary added 3-25 to bowl Walthamstow out for 135.

Brentwoods’ reply was convincing, as Choudhary notched 71 not out, while Nahed Patel added 38, as they breezed past Walthamstow’s target with 8 wickets to spare.

Woodford Green slipped down to third following a narrow 50 run defeat away to Ardeligh Green.

Lloyd Edwards led the way for Ardleigh Green to help them reach 174, but an innings which lacked consistency undermined Woodford, who fell 50 runs short despite Matthew Field’s late half-century (52).

Meanwhile, Epping were also condemned to defeat, after they comfortably beaten by 92 runs by Benfleet, while West Essex lost by six wickets to Basildon & Pitsea on home turf.