RAYLEIGH captain Jason Ox said the way his team dealt with the pressure of the final day of the season was a key factor in them staying up.

Ox and co went into the final game of the T-Rippon Mid-Essex League Premier Division campaign against already relegated Brookweald knowing victory would be enough to keep them in the league.

And they cruised to an eight wicket win, with Ox particularly pleased at the way his side were able to shut out Rettendon’s flying form against Canvey - with their victory redundant in the end as they were also relegated.

“We got the result we needed and it was lucky we did as Rettendon got an excellent result,” said Ox. “We knew Rettendon were going to be competitive but having played Canvey we didn’t think they would be that competitive.

“It got us panicked as Canvey were 80/8 at one point and we had been set a target of 210. We knew we needed a positive outcome.

“I was really pleased as we lost our opening batsman with the first ball of the innings but the senior players really stepped up.

“Brookweald are currently undergoing a merger with Chadwell Heath but they named a lot of players from Newham Cricket Club so they were stronger than their position suggested.

“We picked up early wickets but at 50/5 they had a strong partnership of 110.

“I was trying to do sums on the sideline at one stage, it was that close.”

Brookweald scored 209, Luke Sullivan taking 3-36, before Rayleigh hit back. Having lost a wicket with the first ball, Jon Cook (92 not out) and Ian Turnbull (38) guided Rayleigh home.

And Ox added that this season had been a learning curve for himself as captain and the team, adding he is confident of a better campaign next year.

“This has been a learning experience,” he said. “We have brought through four 15-year-olds and have learned the level. I have discovered a lot about my team and believe we have a solid platform to build on on all fronts.”

The 2s will be playing Division Two cricket next term after losing to lowly Writtle - with six wickets tumbling for 10 runs as the game was lost by three runs.

The 3s survived their relegation decider with Tillingham to ensure they would remain in Division Five.

Tillingham scored 206/5 but Steve Adams (57 not out) and Jess Walker (45 not out) saw Rayleigh home.

The 4s, 5s and 6s were all beaten in their final match of term.