TEENAGER Harry McBrearty was in prolific form as Colchester and East Essex maintained their promotion challenge with victory over Hutton.

The 19-year-old registered outstanding figures of 5-21 in his seven-over spell, as his side claimed a 19-run win in their rain-affected Shepherd Neame Essex League division one game at Castle Park.

McBrearty, who has been invited to train with the Essex first-team squad on Friday, linked up with Colchester after moving to the area to study at Essex University.

The young bowler has quickly become a key player in the squad, according to team-mate Ben Stephens.

Stephens said: “Harry is a very talented cricketer and he’s quickly become a massive part of our squad.

“He’s quality when he gets his action right and listens well to the more experienced players, taking instructions on board.

“Everyone was so happy against Hutton, especially as he’s been bowling well this season but not always getting the reward he deserves.

“He came on at a crucial time, when things had gone a bit stale for us.

“He bowled their overseas players with an absolute peach and didn’t look back from there.

“He was only permitted to bowl seven overs, otherwise he would have bowled more.”

After being put into bat, Colchester found runs hard to come by on a wicket made tricky by rainfall at Castle Park.

The hosts made 138 for nine in their 41 overs, with opener Caspar Everett top-scoring with 32.

An hour was lost due to rain and Hutton were given a revised 37 overs to achieve their target of 139 runs to win.

“To defend 138 like that was brilliant," said Stephens.

“Caspar did really well for his 32 and that kind of score on that wicket was worth double.

“Hutton aren’t a bad side – they’re a very good team and they came very close to going up, last season.”

Skipper Darren Eckford (3-42) claimed Colchester’s final two wickets to wrap up Colchester’s victory.

Stephens added: “Darren played his part against Hutton.

“He read the game very well; sometimes, you see panic set in with some captains in certain situations and they don’t look at what is in front of them.

“But he’s a wise old head and he read it perfectly – it was very good to see.

“With Darren as captain, you don’t have to worry about the game in front of you so much and you can instead try and focus on what you do well.”

Colchester’s second team (153) lost at Billericay II (180) by 27 runs, in Second XI division one.

Tan Shahid took figures of 5-45 in his 13 overs for Colchester, while Charlie Fernandes (44) top-scored with the bat.