STANFORD Le Hope are determined to take it one game at a time despite going 12 points clear at the top of Division Three.

A seven-wicket win over promotion rivals Old Southendian & Southchurch saw Lee Knight’s team make it back-to-back victories over the top teams, after beaing Harlow Town the previous week.

But Knight insists his side are not counting their promotion chickens with four matches to go.

“We are taking it one game at a time because this league can be a bit unpredictable,” said Knight, whose side were level on points at the top of the table with Old Southendian heading into the match.

“You sometimes play a team early in the season and they have four or five different players when you get to play them again, so it can an entirely different game.

“But we are very pleased with where we are and it was good to get wins over both our main promotion rivals in recent weeks.

“We started really well and kept the score rate down. They got away a bit at the end but we felt 200 was achievable.

“We did well as a team and everyone is chipping in and that’s a good thing going into the next couple of games.”

Rob Johnston (41) again anchored the Old Southendian innings at the top of the order and kept the scoreboard ticking over as Max Craddock (0), Michael Hill (13) and skipper Aaron Lucas (14) lost their wickets to leave the Old Boys on 90-3.

After Johnston was bowled by Sachin Sewgobind (1-28), Mark Hope added 46 runs before being bowled by Dylan Eginton (2-47).

Ben Dowse (15no) and Adam Hunt (1no) saw out the 50 overs as Old Southendian reached 200-6 from their 50 overs.

Kevin Smith (23) and Martin Leslie (32) put on 43 for the first wicket and Stanford made 81-2 when Greg Barr (29) lost his wicket.

Leslie went with the score on 100-3 but Knight (43no) and Michael Gray (46no) took the hosts to a winning 201-3 in 47.2 overs.

Old Boys’ skipper Lucas said: “It was a bitterly disappointing result but I cannot fault the effort from the guys as they put everything into it.

“The toss was a good one to win and we would have bowled first if we had won because the pitch was drying out and it was advantagous to bat second.

“However, we were not good enough on the day and credit to Standford. It is the second time this season that they have chased down a score against us and batted really well.”

Harlow Town moved above Old Southendian after beating Benfleet by 140 runs. The hosts opted to bat and made a good start through Patrick Yates (41) before Ramya Upadhay (73) accelerated the innings.

Paul Frensham (2-72), John Bull (2-39), Charlie Huntley (2-30) and Gareth Steed (2-32) got among the wickets as some Harlow batsmen fell cheaply.

But Neil Gladwin (25) and Daniel Farmer (25no) helped steer Harlow to 255-9 from their 50 overs.

Benfleet lost skipper James Wilkins for a single and despite resistance from his opening partner Stephen Reeve (20) and Andy Prophet (39no) at four, the rest of the reply unravelled.

Gareth Steed and John Bull were the next best with the bat, both contributing six runs, as Benfleet were bowled out for 115 in 39 overs, with Shaun Alderson (4-43) and Dan Calver (3-26) leading the attack.

“To be honest, we were beaten by the side and if they go up then they deserve it,” said Wilkins.

“Their 255 was probably 30 runs too many but there were a few big shots from their lower order batsmen.

“We bowled very well in the middle of their innings but it wasn’t so good at the beginning and the end. However, 255 doesn’t relect how well we bowled in the middle.

“Andy Prophet applied himself but apart from that we lost wickets at regular intervals. They also got the best of the wicket because it was doing all sorts.”

Basildon & Pitsea were without a game at the weekend but are back in action on Saturday when they host Woodford Green.