COLCHESTER and East Essex Cricket Club are hoping to go one better in the Hamro Foundation Essex Premier League this season, writes PHIL WOLSKI.

Last season's runners-up will be led this season by new skipper and wicket-keeper batter, Simon Fernandes, who last season also enjoyed personal success in the Essex second XI.

Previously under his brother Charlie Fernandes’s leadership, a solid foundation has been laid by Colchester over a number of seasons.

And the nucleus of the youthful and talented group that had earlier dominated the Essex under-19 competitions remain together in 2024.

Colchester's annual investment in local youth development has proven highly productive and new junior and adult members wanting to step onto this escalator of success are welcome at Castle Park.

Including Sunday XI teams, the club now runs four men’s and two female sides, plus numerous age-group teams.

Colchester is committed to equality, diversity and inclusivity and players of all ability are welcome, in a friendly Castle Park atmosphere.

Unfortunately, BlackCap T20 International, Adi Asok, will be absent due to long-term injury.

But dependent upon county and under-19 international commitments, Charlie Allison and Mackenzie Jones will be available, along with opener Joe MacGregor, who signalled his determined intent last week with a superb 99 when captaining Loughborough University versus Kent's first XI.

The Colchester batting line up also includes the prolific Guy Haines, the ever-reliable Joe Austin, and is boosted by the signing of former Chelmsford CC all-rounder, Adam Derham.

Derham's left-arm off spin will additionally help Colchester compensate for the absence of Ashok’s leg-spin threat.

Youngsters Dan Gladwell and Jacob Drew, along with Charlie Fernandes, Charlie Watts, Dan Thacker, Joe Austin and the duo of evergreen veterans, Darren Eckford and Vikas Agawal, complete an impressive and diverse bowling attack, with Colchester having excellent strength in depth for all disciplines.

Colchester has restored its Men’s third XI for 2024 and is actively seeking new players.

Similarly, the club's women’s and Sunday teams have a few gaps to fill.

Jez Sadler is likely to again win ‘Groundsman of the Year’ for consistently producing the best pitches in the county and the annual Cricket and Beer Festival commencing July 24 is a not to be missed event.

Spectators are always welcome (free admission) and the newly-refurbished Pavilion Bar is arguably the best place to spend a weekend summer afternoon.

Colchester's opening Premier League game is at home to Hutton on May 11.

For details of forthcoming fixtures visit

Once again, Colchester's first XI matches will again be live streamed with free viewer access via the same website, whilst broadcast advertising and sponsorship opportunities are available.