COLCHESTER and East Essex player-coach Jonny Bassett-Graham admits it was good to get their Shepherd Neame Essex League division one promotion chase back on track.

The Castle Park side ran out five-wicket winners at bottom club Loughton, to consolidate second place in the division.

It was a good response by Colchester following their disappointing 178-run defeat at Upminster, with a superb unbeaten 122-run partnership between Simon Fernandes (63 not out) and Oliver Allison (51 not out) guiding them home to victory.

Bassett-Graham said: “It was good to get back to winning ways – I was proud of the boys.

“It was a tough game and a difficult wicket to play on but we felt confident throughout.

“Loughton were on their own ground and they knew what they needed to do.

“Their score of 206 looked like it could have been a challenging one on that surface.

“But I felt we did what we did well and it was an unbelievable partnership between Simon Fernandes and Oliver Allison.

“Ollie is 100 per cent on his game at the moment and I was incredibly proud of him.

“He has confidence and belief in himself and the way that he played his innings shows that he knows what he needs to do.

“He dealt so well with the situational pressure being put on him by the fielders and bowlers and didn’t seem fazed at all by being in that situation.

“He’s in a pretty rich vein of form.

“He’s had a couple of pretty awesome knocks for the second team and for the under-15s and I was absolutely thrilled for him, as I was for Simon.

“He’s been a bit of short of opportunities with the bat but when he has come in, he’s looked immensely assured.”

After winning the toss, hosts Loughton were dismissed for 206 inside 49 overs.

Kieran Savill (3-45) claimed three wickets for Colchester, while there were two apiece for Bassett-Graham (2-26) and skipper Darren Eckford (2-39).

In reply, the visitors were wobbling on 21-2 and then 85-5, before the crucial six-wicket partnership between Fernandes and Allison saw them safely home.

Colchester II (177-8) were also victorious against their Loughton counterparts (151), winning by 26 runs in their Second XI division one encounter.

Club chairman Andrew Kennedy (48) top scored with the bat, while George Offord (3-28) and Dan Thacker (3-46) claimed three wickets apiece.