ROB Zammit was full of praise for David Jarrett as the 15-year-old ensured Benfleet avoided a derby defeat at Wickford.

Division Three table-toppers Benfleet made the short trip to Wickford looking to maintain their 100 per cent winning record.

But, after Wickford had been removed for 191, Benfleet could only reach 162/9 from their 50 overs with the bat and the visitors were indebted to Jarrett, who struck an unbeaten 54.

Benfleet captain Zammit said: “Our standout player was David Jarrett.

“He is only 15, but he saved the game for us by getting 54 not out.

“David has done well and came into the team last year.

“He has got a bright future ahead of him and hopefully he will go onto produce more fantastic innings.”

However, Zammit admitted his side were not at their best.

“We did well to get a draw,” added Zammit.

“We didn’t play to the best of our ability at all and, as a team, we didn’t perform how we can.

“Everyone came off the pitch positive because, although drawing doesn’t gain us the points we wanted, you never know who will be down near the bottom of the standings come the end of the season.

“We need to stop other teams getting points and draws ensure that.

“Wickford are a good team and they knew how to take advantage of their home conditions.

“It was a pitch that suited their bowlers and it’s good for us to still be unbeaten.”

Having lost the toss, hosts Wickford were put into bat.

Gareth Wright top scored, hitting 64, while David Cole fell 10 runs short of a half-century.

Callum Wheeler took three of the Wickford wickets, while Ben Munday and Zammit claimed two scalps apiece.

Taylor Casson and Stephen Reeve were also among the wickets.

Despite heading into the encounter with a 100 per cent winning record, Benfleet lost wickets at regular intervals.

Jamie Critchell was run out early on, to leave the league leaders on 4/1, while Wheeler followed with opening batsman Samuel Coelho still to get off the mark.

Coelho went onto get 19 runs, while Sam Rowe added 20.

Casson contributed a valuable 26 but the final partnership of Jarrett and Reeve proved crucial.

The duo added 26 runs together, with Jarrett finishing with an unbeaten 54 - including 11 boundaries - off 99 balls.

Cole was Wickford’s most potent bowler as he recorded figures of 5-47.

Matthew Gilmore, Shane Bottrill and Chirag Desai also took a wicket each.