COLCHESTER and East Essex Director of Cricket Julian Russell admits they were second best at Upminster after slumping to a comprehensive defeat.

The Castle Park side were knocked off top spot in Shepherd Neame Essex League division one after losing by 178 runs, at Upminster Park.

The home side racked up a big final total of 322 for eight in their 50 overs and Colchester struggled in reply, eventually finishing on 144 for nine inside 31 overs to slide to their third league defeat of the season.

Russell said: “We got turned over – we didn’t even come second, we came third.

“Upminster have been down in the relegation zone but we didn’t expect them to be down there and we certainly weren’t taking them lightly.

“They played very well in their home conditions and they performed well on their home pitch.

“We stuck to our task in the field and we knew that we had to do well to get close to their score.

“But we never really got going in our innings and they stuck to their task well.

“We’d have liked to have batted first but it wasn’t a wicket that changed too much during the day.

“It was one that rewarded good batting and when it was our turn, we didn’t bat to our potential.”

Shahbaz Butt proved the main thorn in Colchester’s side, hitting 125 off 109 balls and putting on a 163-run partnership with Terry Wyatt (89) that effectively took the game away from Darren Eckford’s team.

Russell said: “Shahbaz Butt is a good player and he played to his strengths.

“He didn’t go too hard and it was a very fast outfield.

“He played some very good shots but it was the partnership between him and Terry Wyatt that gave their innings a big boost and ultimately took it away from us.”

The pick of Colchester's bowlers was in-form Denson Narayan, who claimed 5-50 in his ten overs.

“Denson bowled well again,” said Russell.

“He really showing himself as one of the best all-rounders in the competition and we’re delighted with what he’s doing.”

Colchester’s chances of victory were dealt a blow when Jack Hobbs was prevented from batting after injuring a hand in the field.

Their opening four batsmen failed to make it into double figures and despite wicket-keeper Simon Fernandes scoring an unbeaten 47, the visitors were comprehensively beaten.

Colchester’s second team (342-6) beat Belhus (116) by 226 runs, in Second XI division one.

Opener Caspar Everett hit a superb 142 at Castle Park, while Tan Shahid claimed 4-28.