COLCHESTER and East Essex were beaten in agonising fashion after losing out by one wicket at Fives and Heronians.

Darren Eckford’s side looked like they were on course for victory in their Shepherd Neame Essex League division one encounter, after their hosts were set 206 to win at the Paddock.

But Fives and Heronians’ dogged tail-enders frustrated Colchester, putting on a defiant 21-run final-wicket partnership to scrape over the line with one ball to spare.

Colchester director of cricket Julian Russell told the Gazette: “It was a thrilling finish.

“We had the game and then we didn’t and the opposition felt the same, too.

“It was one of those classic rollercoaster games where either team could have won.

“We can look back on the half chances that came about in the last couple of overs but we had opportunities earlier on in their innings where had we taken one or two, it might well have been a different story.

“It was an exciting game for the neutral and we were disappointed to come off on the losing side.”

After being put into bat, Colchester initially found themselves struggling on 39 for four after losing early wickets.

But youngster Jack Hobbs was the star of the show for the visitors, hitting a magnificent unbeaten 113 off 111 balls to spearhead the innings superbly.

“It was quite tough to bat early on,” said Russell, who was Colchester’s second-highest scorer with 24.

“But both Jack Hobbs and Simon Fernandes put on a great partnership.

“The two youngsters gave us a chance to accelerate in the rest of the innings.

“I really like what Jack has shown for us, so far this season.

“I really think he’s a player with a bright future.

“He’s level headed – he’s only just finished school so he’s not an experienced cricketer but he’s unflappable.

“He gets himself and he’s patient – he took his time and picked the bowlers off.”

Russell (2-59) and Tan Shahid (2-30) claimed two wickets apiece but Fives and Heronians held on to claim an exciting win, in the final over.

Colchester II (253-5) were three-run winners over Hutton (250-8) at Castle Park, in Second XI division one.

Joe Austin top scored with 82 and also claimed three wickets (3-47), while Tashaq Hussain took 3-38 in his side’s win.