COLCHESTER and East Essex stalwart Julian Russell said securing an emphatic win on the final day of the Shepherd Neame Essex League season was the perfect way to finish their title-winning campaign.

Darren Eckford’s side had already been crowned division one champions, prior to their last game of the season at home to lowly Upminster.

But they did not take their foot off the pedal, recording a resounding ten-wicket triumph to finish a successful season in style.

Russell hit a magnificent unbeaten 129 with Joe MacGregor also undefeated on 118 at the end, in a superb opening-wicket partnership of 253 for the hosts.

Russell, who is also director of cricket at Colchester, said: “It was just about the perfect end to what has been a really good season.

“We did not want the season to fizzle out on the final day and it was important to make a statement about the type of cricket that we’ve produced consistently, throughout the year.

“Upminster came to us needing the points as they were not sure of staying up, so they were certainly not taking their foot off the gas until perhaps the very end, when it turned out that they would be safe.”

After being put into bat, Upminster declared on 251 for seven in their 50 overs with Eckford (2-39) and Ben Stephens (3-53) in the wickets for Colchester.

With Russell and MacGregor in superb form, the hosts had no trouble chalking off the required runs, reaching their target in 37 overs.

Colchester finished 27 points clear of runners-up Harold Wood in winning division one, tasting defeat only three times all season.

There was also good news for Colchester’s second team, who confirmed their Second XI division one status for another year thanks to a four-wicket triumph over Belhus.

Belhus declared on 243 for four after 43.5 overs, with George Offord claiming 3-71.

Charlie Fernandes (90) and club chairman Andrew Kennedy (82) were in excellent form with the bat for Colchester, playing a big part in their victory and ensuring a sixth-place finish in Second XI division one.