CALLUM Wheeler recorded his first ever five-wicket haul as Benfleet beat Oakfield Parkonians by one wicket.

The newly-promoted side went into the Division Two clash looking to keep their unbeaten start to the campaign intact.

And Benfleet captain Rob Zammit was overjoyed as Wheeler enjoyed a day to remember.

Zammit said: “It was a good win against a decent side.

“We knew they would be good and difficult to beat, but we scraped through.

“A few of the lads have been giving Callum stick for a couple of years, but he got his first five-wicket haul for the first team.

“He bowled well and Callum performs well each week.

“Callum spent some time playing cricket in Australia during the winter and he has shone with bat and ball.

“I’m expecting him to get many more wickets between now and the end of the season.

“Gavin (Blowes) also did well with the bat and he held the innings together.”

Having won the toss, Zammit elected to bowl at Woodside Park.

Oakfield Parkonians’ innings came to a close at 129/9, with Faisal Bhatti leading the way with 45 runs.

The impressive Wheeler ripped through the Oakfield Parkonians batsmen and recorded career-best bowling figures of 5-31.

Ben Munday also took two wickets, while Taylor Casson removed opening batsman Shawn Tuitt for 19.

Although just four batsmen broke into double figures with the bat, Benfleet did enough to reach their target with one wicket in hand.

Blowes struck a valuable 42 runs, but the former Benfleet skipper fell eight runs short of a half-century as he was caught by Dave Rai off the bowling of Anujan Thiru.

Alex Brady, the number 10 batsman, played a crucial role as he remained at the crease and hit an unbeaten 15 to see Benfleet over the line.

As a result of returning to winning ways - following a derby draw with Wickford - Benfleet are still the Division Two pacesetters, much to the delight of Zammit.

“It’s a bit surreal that we are top of the league,” added Zammit.

“When you have momentum, it goes a long way.

“It’s fantastic that we are on this run and I can’t believe that we are still unbeaten after only winning promotion last year.

“But we’re refusing to get ahead of ourselves and I’m only looking at it as another win towards safety.”