BENFLEET'S hopes of grabbing the second promotion spot in Division Three were given a shot in the arm by a four-run win over Old Southendian & Southchurch.

The Woodside Park club trail their local rivals by 25 points with four matches remaining after their victory at Southchurch Park.

Benfleet batted first on a good batting track and were bowled out for 199 in 44.3 overs.

Phil Wright anchored the innings with 96 while Andy Scott added 28 runs and Paul Tremain 20.

Mike Gridley claimed 4-24 for the Old Boys and Kieran Jordan took 3-67 while Dave Slaughter had a brace of wickets.

Old Southendian got off to a good start and were 40-4 before wickets started falling regularly.

They needed five or six runs to win with one wicket left in the final over.

But that fell to a runout as the hosts were bowled out for 195 in 54.4 overs as Jess Hancock (5-44) and Steve Scott (2-43) did the most damage. Jordan top scored for the Old Boys with 64.

"It's a terrific result for us," said Benfleet skipper Andy Prophet. "We had to win the game to realistically have an outside chance of catching the Old Boys.

"We have closed the gap on the Old Boys and now it's important to keep winning.

"Every game is an important game and both clubs are feeling the pressure as we get closer, but we have less room to make mistakes than them.

"Both sides tried to win it on Saturday and it was nice that the Old Boys went for it when they could have shut up shop and gone for the draw."

Old Southendian skipper Chris Bunce said: "We should have won but we blew it.

"The key to it was needing 72 with the last 20 overs ad six wickets in hand, but we played two or three silly shots and that cost us.

"It was just unfortunate because we bowled and fielded well but out batting let us down.

"We should have won and I always felt that we would win. The last wicket was a stupid run out.

"Benfleet did very well but we are disappointed not to have won because we would have been away from them - but it makes it interesting going into the final few matches."