Wanstead & Snaresbrook’s title hopes are over after they suffered the terminal setback of a seven-wicket defeat to newly crowned Essex League champions Hornchurch.

Sitting in second and trailing the table-toppers by 14 points heading into the game, Wanstead are now 31 points adrift heading into the final day of the season on Saturday.

The Snares simply could not contain former England spinner Monty Panesar, who was irrepressible on his way to season-best figures of 7-54.

Hornchurch captain Billy Gordon played his part with the ball, too, claiming 3-42 as Wanstead were bowled out for 159.

Only 37 from Aron Nijjar and 27 from skipper Joe Ellis-Grewal offered much in the way of resistance as insatiable Hornchurch eyed another victory.

In reply, a quick-fire 25 from Ronnie Saunders got the ball rolling, before match-winning contributions from wicket-keeper Michael Bones (61) and an unbeaten 50 from opener Jamie Sorrell sealed the win for the home side.

Fourth-placed Chingford returned to winning ways with a six-wicket victory at home to Billericay.

An impressive five-fer from Matthew Quinn (5-63) led the way for the hosts as their Essex visitors proved incapable of building on a series of promising starts.

Nick Van Lint (31), David Houghton (30) and Nathan Khelawon (27) all settled before finding themselves back in the pavilion without really registering a telling contribution as Billericay were all out for 182.

The foundations for victory in reply were firmly laid by the openers as Alex Agedah’s 71 headlined the innings and opening partner Aryan Gupta added 35.

Three wickets from Mihir Mehrotra (3-44) gave Billericay some hope but 26 not out from Andrew MacGregor and Alfie Taylor’s unbeaten 17 saw Chingford home.

Ilford face a nervy relegation-threatened final day themselves after they slipped to a six-wicket defeat at the hands of Chelmsford.

The defeat means the east Londoners sit one place and 13 points above second-bottom Shenfield in the battle to avoid the drop.

Batting first, Ilford’s card was decimated by the collective efforts of Ben Waring (4-29) and 3-25 from Matthew Dixon as only two players – Saf Imtiaz (29) and Mohammad Ahktar (20) – made it past 20.

With a score of just 98 on the board, defending a small total always looked a tall order against mid-table Chelmsford but there was no shortage of fight from the Ilford players.

Indeed they struck three times to remove both Robert Hayto and Chelmsford captain Jack Sterland for nine, and James Gruijters for four, as Shane Snater (2-44) and Theeban Tavarasa (2-27) both struck to leave them 32-3.

However unbeaten contributions from Nick Prowting (35) and Sean Sullivan (23) led Chelmsford to their victory target inside 33 overs.

Buckhurst Hill moved to the brink of the Division One title after thrashing relegation-threatened Hainault & Clayhall by 119 runs.

The win keeps Hill top, 17 points clear of second-placed Hutton and 18 points ahead of third-place Belhus with the promotion race set to go to the wire on the season’s final day.

The table-toppers made 241-6 thanks to an excellent century from Ryan Karunakaran (105) and contributions of 51 from Russell Beckett and 34 from Ricky Reynolds.

Disciplined bowling in reply meant Hainault never threatened the win once their opening pair of captain Irfan Shah (20) and Zoheb Sharif (41) had departed.

Three wickets apiece for Rohan Bhome (3-17) and Irfan Sahar (3-18) spearheaded an impressive collective bowling performance to skittle lowly Hainault out for just 122.

Woodford Wells’ relegation jitters will extend to the final day of the campaign as a narrow 10-run loss at home to Upminster left them perilously close to the drop zone following a second-straight loss.

That result means they will be one of three sides sweating over their futures in Division One ahead of the final round of fixtures on Saturday, despite Wells moving above Hainault and into eighth.

Mid-table Upminster batted first and posted 214-8 thanks to useful knocks from Shafiq Rahman (43), wicket-keeper Farid Butt (38) and Nabeel Aziz (35), as Christopher Hall (5-50) starred with the ball for Wells.

In response, Joe Johnson (63) passed his half-century and Robert Marshall made 41, but Wells had no answer for the damage inflicted to their middle order by Aziz (6-33) as they fell agonisingly short.

Loughton secured their promotion from Division Two with a five-wicket win at home to Wickford.

Batting first, Wickford were bowled out for 134 by a Loughton side who looked in no mood to pass up the opportunity to seal their place in Division One.

The wickets were shared as 3-26 from Vishak Surendra, and two wickets apiece for Andrew Bridges (2-14), Bilal Butt (2-22) and Abdul Nasir (2-25) tore away at the Wickford card.

Butt then turned provider with the bat to make an unbeaten 58, while Vibhor Yadav hit 36, to take Loughton to their victory target with five wickets to spare.

South Woodford also tasted victory with a 128-run thrashing of Horndon on the Hill to remain in the hunt for third.

Batting first, hosts South Woodford were aided by a captain’s innings from Joe Craddock (75), only for Jeff West to post impressive figures of 6-49 as they made 206.

In reply, Horndon could only muster 78 – of which 28 came from the bat of Stephen Edwards – as Bradley Copper (4-11) and Saihaj Jaspal (3-19) did the damage.

Walthamstow are firmly in the hunt for the second and final promotion place heading into the final day of the Division Three season after beating promotion rivals Benfleet by eight wickets.

Asif Bala (3-38) led the way for the Buck Walk club as Callum Wheeler top-scored with 38 for Benfleet who made 184.

In reply, a fine 111-run partnership between captain Rory Knox (62) and fellow opener Richard Baughen (61) proved sufficient to secure the win that takes Walthamstow to within three points of Benfleet in the standings.

Woodford Green played out a pulsating draw with Epping, a result that ended their outside chance of gate-crashing the top two.

Green now sit 27 points off both Walthamstow and Benfleet heading into the final day of the campaign.

They declared on 247-6 at Lower Bury Lane thanks to 85 from Anthony Palmer, though their innings was blighted by no less than four run outs.

In reply, Ramiz Miah produced a backs-to-the-wall salvaging act as he made 91 of Epping’s 139 runs, but crucially he was the eighth wicket to fall, allowing his teammates to secure a dogged draw with two wickets to spare.

Winless West Essex, meanwhile, endured another dispiriting afternoon after losing by seven wickets at the hands of Stanford-le-Hope.

Junair Dar (24) top-scored for Essex who batted first, but they could only make 84 as Matthew Higgins (4-37) led the way for the visitors to dismiss them inside 20 overs.

Stanford, meanwhile, needed just 10.3 overs to knock off the 85 required for victory, thanks in large part to an unbeaten 35 off 34 balls from opener Alex Ellis.