BASILDON & Pitsea are hoping two wins over the weekend will herald an upturn in fortunes this season.
The men from Mopsies defeated Hadleigh & Thundersley by eight runs in their Group G Dukes T20 Cup match on Friday night.
And they followed it up with a 67-run victory over derby rivals Benfleet in the league on Saturday.
“It was just what we needed because it has kickstarted our season after the rubbish start we have had,” said Basildon skipper Michael Gray.
“They were just above us in the league and it was nice to get a derby win.
“We have not played that badly but we could not get a win. But we beat Hadleigh in the T20 on Friday and to follow it up with a derby win over Benfleet has pushed our confidence up a bit.” Basildon lost opener Paul Singleton for three but Phillip Tooke (64), Lloyd Lambert (35) and Danny Gray (27) got the innings going, before Jon Bonnett (46) and Michael Gray (23) made valuable contributions further down the order.
The visitors were eventually bowled out for 248 in 52 overs, with Paul Frensham (4-94), Gareth Steed (4-96) and John Bull (1-14) taking the wickets.
Benfleet openers Stephen Reeve (39) and Aaron Toner (25) started well and Gavin Blowes contributed 54 batting at four.
But only Steed (22) and Matthew Wright (16) got into double figures before the hosts capitulated at 181 after 50.4 overs.
Luke Daw (5-43), Lambert (4-54) and Muhammad Ali (1-16) did the damage to secure Basildon’s first win and lift them off the bottom of the table.
“To be honest, we should have won a bit more comfortably but we missed a couple of catches and stumpings,” added Gray. “But everyone chipped in with the batting and we bowled really well.
“We sneaked the last wicket with two balls left of the game.” Benfleet skipper James Wilkins sat the match out with a hamstring injury and it allowed him to see where his team’s weakness was.
“We were in with a good shout but we lost wickets at the wrong time, although Basildon did bowl well,” he said. “Our problem is that we are just not getting the runs at the moment. Our bowling is OK.
“But our two opening batsmen were not available at the weekend and I will be missing again next week.”
Old Southendian & Southchurch climbed up to second following a 100-run triumph at Oakfield Parkonians. Australian player Michael Hill was the star of the show for the Old Boys, plundering 109 runs and then taking 4-43.
And Adam Rendall marked his Southendian debut by claiming 3-24 as Parks were bowled out for 119 in reply to their visitors’ 219.
“Michael had a great game and it was also a good bowling performance from Adam on his debut,” said Southendian skipper Lucas. “It was a good win for us.
“I know from previous experience up there that the wicket is bowler-friendly, so I was looking for anything around 200. We got 220 and I knew it was going to be tough for them to get anywhere near that.
“But they made us work hard for it. They decided to try and bat out for the draw very early on and it was up to us to penetrate their defences, which we did.”
Hill was the mainstay of Southendian’s innings but Lucas (31), Sam Hodgson (18), Ben Dowse (15) and Max Craddock (11) also made telling contributions against an attack led by Shubhang Mehta (4-47) and Jibran Azam (3-57).
Anton Buntin (24) and Sachin Vara (21) offered most resistance but Hill and Rendall took seven wickets, with Matthew Austin (2-24) and Adam Hunt (1-16) claiming the other scalps.
Stanford le Hope went into their match against second-placed Harlow Town top of the table. But they slipped to third after suffering a narrow 18-run defeat which saw their hosts climb to the summit.
Harlow declared on 181-9 but Stanford’s batting let them down as they were bowled out for 163 in reply.
“We lost a few wickets in the run chase and didn’t think we were going to get there but in the end it went down to the wire,” said Stanford captain Lee Knight.
“We felt we bowled well and restricted them on a good batting surface. We had them at 90-6 and then their skipper came in and struck a couple of boundaries.
“We felt comfortable chasing 180 but we let ourselves down with the bat. Apart from Ross (Poulton), no-one took advantage of the surface.”
Poulton had a good game all round as he claimed 6-43, with overseas player Dylan Eginton taking 2-31, as before the hosts declared on 181-9.
Ramya Upadhyay (43no) and captain Ashley Alderson (43) led the resistance for the hosts, with three others getting into the 20s.
But Poulton was the only Stanford batsman to prosper as he reached 63 before being caught by Patrick Yates.
Matthew Higgins made 21 batting at 10 and Thomas Willats 16 but it was not enough as the visitors were undone by Dan Calver (3-21), Upadhyay (3-22) and Shaun Alderson (2-23).