HADLEIGH & Thundersley suffered a narrow 27- run defeat against promotion rivals Colchester&East Essex at their John Burrows Park base on Saturday.

Second-placed Hadleigh made 139 in reply to table-topping Colchester’s 166.

But the home side’s bowler David Williams was still encouraged by the display.

“We played well, just not well enough to beat a very good side,” said Williams.

“I’d be very surprised if Colchester do not win the league but the most important thing for us now is to concentrate on the next game, at Harlow on Saturday, and getting back to winning ways.

“The league table is very tight and anyone that puts a few wins together is going to be challenging.”

Hadleigh won the toss and elected to field in a game which was reduced to 30 overs per side due to the wet weather.

Batting first, Colchester made 166-8 with Adam Dobson and Nigel Holmes both taking two wickets each for Hadleigh.

In reply, Hadleigh hit 139-9 with opener Paul Tibbenham top-scoring with 27 before being run out and Colchester’s victory moved them 15 points clear of their hosts.

But it was a far more successful afternoon for Southend & EMT as they saw of Buckhurst Hill by two wickets. Southend successfully chased down their hosts’ score of 207.

And skipper Joe Robbins was delighted to come out on top.

“It was an excellent win for us after a couple of difficult weeks,” said Robins. “When we had them at 88-7 we thought we could bowl them out for around 140 but their overseas player batted really well for 82 and got them to 207.

“We would have taken that at the start of the day and felt it was still well within our reach. “ That was how it proved as well as Phil Gray batted well against his former side, top-scoring with 66, to help Southend to come out on top.

“Phil was returning to his old side and was in determined mood,” said Robbins. “He batted brilliantly to virtually see us home and others chipped in too.

“Dale Hackney hit a six off the first ball of the last over to complete a great win for us and we have another huge game next week at home to Wickford.”

The win moved Southend up to sixth in the standings and they are now locked level on 106 points with Wickford who lost by one wicket to Hutton at the weekend.

In a match reduced to 47 overs due to rain, Wickford batted first and scored 197. Jonathan Pratt top scored with 47 before Hutton’s overseas star Hanuama Vihari Gade took centre stage hitting 112 not out to see his side reach the required total for the loss of nine wickets.