COLCHESTER and East Essex captain Darren Eckford believes their trip to play Shenfield tomorrow has the potential to be one of their toughest tests of the season.

The Castle Park-based side are riding high at the top of the Shepherd Neame Essex League division one table, with three games remaining.

They travel to play fourth-placed Shenfield looking to boost their promotion hopes further and defeated their opponents by five wickets, in June.

Nevertheless, skipper Eckford is not expecting an easy encounter.

He said: “Shenfield definitely have some class players and it’ll be a very tough game.

“I’d go as far as to say it’s one of our toughest games of the season because they’ll be scrapping for everything as they fight for a promotion place.

“That chasing pack are on our tail but as a unit, we don’t really talk about where we are in the table.

“We’ll continue to do what we’ve done all year which is focus on nailing our basics, because that ultimately gets you towards your goal.

“Every team that we play has the capacity to beat us – you can’t take anyone lightly because if you do, then they’ll turn you over.

“It’s about concentrating on those key moments.”

Colchester, who are 34 points clear at the top of the division one table following their five-wicket triumph over Fives and Heronians last weekend, are likely to be without several first XI regulars tomorrow.

Consistent all-rounder Denson Narayan is among the absentees but Eckford insists it is an opportunity for other players to come in and perform well.

Eckford added: “We will be missing players this weekend but throughout the season, players have come in and made significant contributions.

“We have a strong group of lads and they have shown that they can come in and do well.

“Our whole team ethos is that if it’s not your day, then make sure that it’s someone else’s.

“It’s very much a collaborative effort and we’re proud of the fact that we hunt as a unit.”

Colchester II are in action at Castle Park, this weekend.

Andrew Kennedy’s side host Frenford, in Shepherd Neame Essex League second XI division one.