FLITCH United held off the challenge of Tiptree Engaine and Alresford Colne Rangers Reserves to finish top of the Essex and Suffolk Border League first division.

Although Engaine won 3-0 at Boxted Lodgers to finish second, the day belonged to United, who made sure of going up by cruising past Bures United with a five-goal first-half blitz, completing the rout by winning 6-0. Shane Pyne hit two goals while Jordon Marsh, Billy Sykes, Mathew Wickham and James Stranders completed the scoring.

The champagne is temporarily on ice subject to the ratification of the final placing.

However, if there is any justice, glasses will soon be raised in celebration.

In the premier division, Gas Recreation have opened a five-point gap, defeating Alresford Colne Rangers at Ford Lane, while second-place Tiptree lost a vital match 3-2 at Little Oakley Reserves.

The Acorns' scorers were Ross Brazitis, Rory Harman and Harry Windred.

Gas are now hot favourites with a game in hand on Tiptree and were well-served by scorers Luke Edwards, Luke Taylor and a fine hat-trick by Jamie Guy.

Gas will become champions for the 13th time if they beat Tiptree Heath on Saturday at a potentially packed Bromley Road.

Lawford Lads had a fine win at the Lorkin Daniel Field, beating West Bergholt 4-1.

It was goal machine Oliver Mann who set up the victory with a fine hat-trick, bringing his season's tally to 38, while Gregg Harrison hit the fourth. Bergholt struggled and, to make matters worse, Sam Walker received a straight red card from referee Phil Molloy.

White Notley won 4-3 down at Oak Farm over bottom side Brantham Athletic Reserves.

Their scorers were Josh Goodey, with a brace, and Patrick Wilkinson.

In the only other premier division match, Earls Colne finished their season on a high with a 3-1 victory over Wormingford Wanderers at Green Farm Meadow to complete a comparatively successful season, finishing in a creditable 11th position.

A brace from Ricky Loveridge and the third from Jack Charnock set up victory while the visitors replied through Jamie Pringle.

With the division two title wrapped up sometime ago, the race is on for second spot, currently held by FC Clacton.

The Seasiders finished their campaign with a midweek 3-1 win against Cavendish at the Rush Green Bowl, with goals from Adam Daniels, Samuel Thompson and substitute Bradley Pile.

However, there is the challenge from third-place Long Melford Reserves, who are two points behind Clacton with two games in hand and were inactive on Saturday.

The favourites for the runners-up spot are probably AFC Sudbury A, who picked up vital points with a midweek win, beating Hatfield Peverel Reserves 5-2 and by winning 3-2 at Rowhedge on Saturday.

The Suffolk side are now in fifth place, trailing FC Clacton Reserves by seven points and Long Melford Reserves by five points with five matches remaining.

In the third division, Great Bentley and Dedham will now fight out the runners-up placing.

Both sides have played 22 matches and have 47 points, but Bentley have a seven-goal advantage.

In the run-in, both sides look capable of maximum points, culminating with a potential showdown in the final game of the season when they both meet at Dedham.

Meanwhile, Great Bentley reached the Reserve Knockout Cup final by beating their rivals, Dedham Old Boys, 3-0.

Results: Reserve Knockout Cup: Great Bentley Res 3 Dedham Old Boys Res 0.

Premier division: White Notley 4 Brantham Athletic Res 3, Alresford Colne Rangers 2 Gas Recreation 5, Earls Colne 3 Wormingford Wanderers 1, Little Oakley 3 Tiptree Heath 2, West Bergholt 1 Lawford Lads 4.

Division one: Boxted Lodgers 0 Tiptree Engaine 3, Flitch United 6 Bures United 0.

Division two: Harwich Rangers 1 Cavendish 1, Rowhedge 2 AFC Sudbury A 3.

Division three: Hedinghams United Res 2 Gosfield United 0, Tavern 3 Bradfield Rovers 0, Tiptree Engaine Res 4 Elmden Rovers 2, Tiptree Heath Res 2 Harwich & Parkeston Res 7.