BILLERICAY and Westcliff-on-Sea played out a thrilling low-scoring match at the Toby Howe Cricket Ground, with the home side scraping the win.
Billericay skipper Stewart Rutland won the toss and elected to bowl and it looked a good decision after Westcliff had been bowled out for a mere 75 runs, Peter Barnes top scoring with 45.
However, Westcliff captain Graham Cox told his players they had “nothing to lose” and started strongly, taking two home wickets for 19 runs before tea.
Things were looking even better when they had reduced the home side to 60-7 with Adam Pickering taking four wickets and Leon Sealy three.
However, two fours saw Billericay reach the target without further loss.
“I don’t know what happened,” said Cox, referring to the batting collapse.
“I just told the boys after we batted that we needed to go out there and show what we were capable of and we did well.
“It was quite humid so the ball was swinging a bit but it’s hard to explain. I thought we were going to do it at one point but a couple of streaky fours for them and the game had gone away from us.”
Leigh-on-Sea slumped to consecutive defeats after an unbeaten century put paid to their hopes of clawing their way back up the table.
Leigh took on high-flying Hornchurch at Chalkwell Park and, although they won the toss and elected to field on the slightly damp surface, they were unable to stop a terrific innings from Roy Smith, who hit 100 not out.
The rest of the Hornchurch order was skittled for a mere 51 runs from 44 overs. Sean Elliott had the best figures for Leigh with 6-63.
This left Leigh a total of 152 to win but it was all over after only 30 overs. Bill King (35) and captain Dean Waller (31) top scored for the home side.
Elsewhere Horndon on the Hill came extremely close to claiming their first win of the season in a time-reduced match at The Village Green. They took Belhus right to the wire after being put in to bat first.
Horndon reached 192 in their innings, which seemed a fairly good score on the face of it and looked as though they would reach that target after taking out nine of the visiting teams batsmen just over 150 runs.
However, with time against them, Horndon could not find that elusive last wicket and ended on 166-9, ensuring the match ended in a draw.