WICKFORD gave their battle against the drop a massive boost by thrashing relegation rivals Woodford Wells.

Andy Baker’s side thumped their visitors by 179 runs and move up to eighth, one place above the drop zone.

The hosts made a strong start with former Essex player Darren Robinson (21), and Matthew Nobes (23) and Dean Etchells (28) keeping the scoreboard ticking over.

Chirag Desai (60) and Baker (54) accelerated the innings an unbeaten 22 from Daniel Pryke down the order saw the hosts to a decent 266-9 from their 50 overs.

Peter McDermott led the Woodford Wells’ attack with 4-47.

Baker had an outstanding day with the ball as he claimed 4-11 from his seven overs.

Jamie Went (2-20) and J Sloane (2-24) also got among the wickets, while Desai took 1-3 and Pryke 1-28 to end the Woodford resistance.

Jonathan Gaffney (33) and Andrew Gibbon (11) were the only Woodford batsmen into double figures as they were bowled out for 87 in 32.4 overs.

Elsewhere, there were defeats for the other two south Essex teams in the division.

Hadleigh & Thundersley fell just short in their low-scoring match with Hainault & Clayhall, while Southend on Sea & EMT lost by five wickets in a high-scoring encounter with third-placed Hutton.

Hadleigh looked set for a win after bowling out visitors Hainault for 129 in 35.2 overs.

Nigel Holmes (3-8), Tim Lowes (3-14) and Richard Revell (3-27) ripped through the visiting batsmen, with Rameez Rehman (41) offering the most resistance.

But on a day for bowlers, Hainault’s Ryan Hurst had a field day with the ball to take 5-18 from his 10 overs.

Daniel Austrie (3-32) also got among the wickets as Hadleigh crumbled to 116 all out in 30.3 overs.

Paul Tibbenham (19) and Michael Tibbenham (19) fared best for the hosts.

Southend compiled a formidable-looking 306-9 total, with Oliver Wagstaff plundering 91 from 101 deliveries.

His brother Matt Wagstaff contributed 56 runs, while Wayne Spear (38) and Ross Daynes (31) also prospered.

Danny Cocklin (3-47) fared best with the ball before Jack Potticary’s century set up Hutton’s win.

He scored 103 and smashed 12 fours and eight sixes as his ton came from 33 balls.

James Mowll added 78 and Connor Whetstone an unbeaten 56 as Hutton replied with 307-5 from 45 overs, with Joe Robbins taking 2-60.