LONG-SERVING Colchester and East Essex bowler Kieran Savill believes the current atmosphere at Castle Park is the best they have experienced for years.

Darren Eckford’s side have enjoyed a solid start to the new Shepherd Neame Essex League First XI division one season, despite falling to a first defeat of the campaign at Harold Wood.

Savill was in excellent form for Colchester last weekend, claiming impressive figures of 5-47 in his 12-over spell in his side’s 64-run loss.

And as they prepare to bounce back from that reverse against Hutton this weekend, the 29-year-old says everything feels positive at Castle Park.

“There’s a very positive vibe around the club at the moment and that will continue,” said Savill, who has been involved at Colchester since 2000.

“It’s probably the best atmosphere we’ve had for a long time and I think that’s showing on the pitch.

“We’re all in a good place both on and off the pitch.

“Johnny Bassett-Graham has come in and had a great impact both as a player and a coach and our captain Darren Eckford is a good leader.

“We all want to help the club move forward and it’s a good environment for it to happen.

“We’ve got a very good mixture of youth and experience this year and guys like Johnny and Darren have played at a high level for a long time.

“Denson Narayan has also been exceptional for us and I’ve enjoyed bowling in tandem with him and we bounce off each other very well.

“We’ve also got the younger guys like Charlie Watts and Harry McBrearty, so it’s a good mix.”

Colchester won the toss at Harold Wood and elected to field, restricting their hosts to 189 all out in 48 overs.

Along with Savill’s five-wicket haul, Narayan (2-62) chipped in with two wickets.

Colchester’s batsmen struggled in reply through and at 48 for seven, the game looked well out of their reach.

Feroze Ahmed’s contribution of 65 gave them some hope but the visitors were eventually dismissed for 125, inside 34 overs.

Savill added: “It always disappointing when you fail to win any game.

“I was pleased with my performance but I would much rather have won.

“But it was nice to contribute and it’s been a positive start to the season for us.

“It was disappointing to lose at Harold Wood but I think it’s a game that we can learn from.”

Colchester's second team won for the first time this season after beating Harold Wood II by five wickets.

Louis Morris claimed 4-29 while Ben Robinson (79 not out) and captain Andrew Kennedy (51) both hit half centuries.

Young cricketers took centre stage as Colchester's talented juniors showed off their skills at Castle Park.

The club's under-19 T20 squad, which featured a number of under-15 players, opened their account with two hard-fought wins against Brentwood and Wickford.

One of Colchester's youngest-ever teams fared well in their terrier game against Abberton, while a very young under-12 team defeated Billericay to stay unbeaten in the Brian Taylor Trophy.