COLCHESTER and East Essex’s title-winning captain Darren Eckford insists their success this season is a collective effort.

The Castle Park side have landed the Shepherd Neame Essex League division one title with a game to spare and will be playing their cricket in the top flight again, next season.

Numerous players have contributed to Colchester’s success in division one this season – and captain Eckford says it is an achievement that the whole club has played its part in.

Eckford said: “It’s about the club and a squad, rather than a team achievement and so many people played their part.

“The first XI are only ever as strong as the people backing it and it’s down to the input of every individual.

“One of the most pleasing things about this season is the way in which everyone has bought into that, as well as having that sort of spirit within the group at the club.

“It was always going to be an interesting season and it couldn’t have gone better for us.

“All you can do is prepare yourself for what you can control because in cricket, there are a lot of things that are not in your control.”

Eckford has been with Colchester since 2016, when he joined them from Auckland premier cricket club Suburbs New Lynn.

But this was his first season as captain and the New Zealander says he has thoroughly enjoyed it.

“Not too many people gave us a chance this season, to force our way back into the top flight,” said Eckford.

“We wanted to create something that is progressive and sustainable.

“One of the messages throughout the whole season for us is about intent.

“If you are putting maximum effort into matches and training and you make a mistake, everyone will applaud that but if you’re a passenger and make a mistake, that won’t be the case because you’re not contributing to the team ethic.”

Colchester will be hoping to finish a memorable season on a high note tomorrow when they host Upminster, at Castle Park.

Eckford added: “We don’t want our last match of 2019 to be one where we let ourselves down.

“We’ll approach this game in the same way as we have every game, this season.”

Colchester II travel to play Belhus, knowing they need to take something from the game to make certain their Second XI division one status for next year.