COLCHESTER and East Essex Cricket Club chairman Andrew Kennedy says he wants their players to enjoy their cricket again following an eventful winter of comings and goings.

It has been a busy off season at the Castle Park club, with a host of first XI players leaving and new arrivals boosting the Shepherd Neame Essex League outfit.

Colchester will have a new captain for their forthcoming division one campaign, with Kiwi seamer Darren Eckford taking over as skipper from Jake Foley.

Club stalwart Julian Russell has been named as the club’s new Director of Cricket, while Jonny Bassett-Graham has been drafted in from New Zealand as player-coach.

However, Colchester have lost a number of their first XI from last season, with Ollie Bocking, Josh Rymell and Jack Hebron all joining Foley out of the exit door at Castle Park.

Kennedy said: “Because we’ve had such a big change in terms of personnel, we’re of the opinion that we just want to enjoy our cricket this season – that’s our number one aim.

“If we can get that aspect right, that should be reflected in our performances.

“We did well last year but players in both the first and second XI teams didn’t enjoy their cricket so much.

“We’ll go out and try and win every game and if that ends in us winning promotion, then great.

“But we’ve gone through a lot of change and we want everyone to enjoy their cricket.

“We’re going through a bit of a change at the club - we’ve lost quite a few players.

“They’re moving to get Premier League cricket, which we can’t offer them at the moment.

“It’s a shame to lose them but we can’t hold them back and they’re at a point in their career where they want to play at that level.

“Hopefully in the future, we may well see them come back to the club.”

Joe MacGregor scored an unbeaten century off 52 balls as Colchester won their first competitive game of the new season.

They beat Wivenhoe Town by seven wickets at Rectory Road, in their North Essex Cricket League division one opener.

The two sides meet again this Sunday in the return fixture, at Castle Park.

Colchester begin their Essex League campaign with a home match against Loughton, on May 11.

Colchester host their annual six-a-side cricket charity competition at Castle Park, on Saturday.

The hosts will be one of a dozen teams including Essex University, Colchester Royal Grammar School and Chelmsford will compete at the competition, held in aid of the Rob George Foundation.

There will also be a bar and barbeque at the event, which starts at 10am.