THE Shepherd Neame Essex League got underway at the weekend, with mixed results for south-Essex based sides.

In the Premier Division, Billericay started strongly with a five wicket win against Chelmsford.

Chelmsford batted first and made 189 all out with Robert Raynor taking 4-52 with the ball for Billericay and Ross Poulton 3-27.

But 97 not out from Paul Walter saw Billericay home for the loss of five wickets.

Elsewhere in the Premier Division, Hadleigh and Thundersley drew with Hornchurch.

Hadleigh made 189/5 with Oliver Smith top scoring with 73 before Hornchurch ended their innings on 179/9 with Haider Ali Syed Zaidi taking 5-79 and Misem Ali Syed Zaidi 3-27.

In Division One, Southend & EMT - who were relegated from the Premier Division last season - were beaten by six wickets at Fives & Heronians.

Southend made 156 in their innings with Usman Azhar scoring 61.

But Fives then reached the required target for the loss of just four wickets.

In Division Two, it was a disappointing opening day for Wickford who lost by six wickets at Frenford.

Wickford batted first and scored 152 all out, with Adam Deller scoring 52.

But Frenford made it home after losing just four wickets.

Elsewhere in Division Two, Benfleet beat Old Brentwoods by eight wickets.

Brentwoods batted first but made just 61 with Paul Frensham taking 6-19 with the ball and Ben Munday 4-41.

Munday then scored 36 to help Benfleet start in style.

Old Southendian & Southchurch also won in a low scoring clash after bowling Oakfield Parkonians out for just 79 with Ahmed Khawaja taking 3-9 and Matthew Austin 3-32 before Southendian lost just four wickets in reply.

In Division Three, Leigh beat Epping by eight wickets.

Epping made just 87 in their innings with Paul Humphries taking 6-11.

But Leigh reached the total for the loss of just two wickets with Jack Wagstaff top scoring with 35.

Also in Division Three, Westcliff beat Woodford Green by 77 runs.

Batting first, Westcliff made 216/7 with Matt Renvoize top scoring with 58 and Charlie Lockhart adding 53.

But, in reply, Woodford Green made 139 with David Hewitt doing most of the damage with the ball as he took five wickets for just 20 runs.