CANVEY Island won a thrilling T-Rippon Mid-Essex Premier League clash against Rayleigh by just three runs.

It appeared as though Rayleigh would secure a crucial win in their bid for survival as they needed just three runs for victory with three wickets in hand.

And Rayleigh captain Jason Ox said losing a match that included big scores, run-outs and a hat-trick to a wonderful catch was hard to take.

“It was a good game but we threw the victory away,” he said.

“We were pleased ahead of the batting but us being us we made it hard for ourselves and we lost two in the first over.

“I came in and steadied the ship with Ben Francis and we did well. I got 70 and he got 30 but at 110/3 it went downhill.

“That said we only needed 22 with five wickets and three runs with three wickets to spare.

“Our number 11 played a great shot but they had a fielder at mid off and he caught it with a brilliant diving catch. A yard further away and we would have won.

“I have been involved in close games and come out on the right side but not like this. I don’t think I’ll see a catch like that to win a game again.”

And Canvey’s Ross Casson said it was a game he wouldn’t forget.

“What a way to win and in a derby game too,” he said. “If I was them I would be gutted as they had won the game throughout their innings aside from at 0/2.

“It was a great fight. We played an aggressive field but towards the end I said to Casum Tiffin ‘bowl straight’ and they got three fours on the leg side and only needed four to win.

“But we just kept believing. I was really proud to captain the boys and now we are targeting a good end to the season.”

Canvey had got off to a fine start when Casson (40) and Ronnie McClughen (27) took them to 80/0.

But only Taylor Casson reached double figures after that as some superb bowling saw Canvey collapse to 165 all out - Shaun Du Plessis getting a hat-trick and Ian Bryant taking four wickets.

Ox’s 70 lead the way for Rayleigh before the late drama.

Casson also piled praise on wicket keeper Jack Avery. The wicket-keeper played his 50th consecutive match for Canvey yesterday.

“To play 50 consecutive games is a great achievement,” said Casson. “Jack is the most committed player on the team and an important member of the group.”