COLCHESTER and East Essex Cricket Club made it back-to-back wins in the Hamro Foundation Essex League top flight.

Darren Eckford’s side followed up their premier division victory over Billericay with an impressive three-wicket triumph over Belhus, at Castle Park.

Charlie Fernandes, who hit an unbeaten century against Billericay, followed up that performance with another excellent solo display against Belhus.

He claimed two wickets to help dismiss the visitors for 198 before top scoring with the bat for his side with 57, as Colchester claimed another victory.

Colchester skipper Eckford said: “Charlie has been a bit of a pugilist for us in T20 cricket over the years and it’s nice to see it all come together for him in the limited overs format and put that form into fruition in the slightly longer format of the game, because he’s been promising it for a while.

“We all know the talent that he has and it’s so good to see it all come together in the middle.

“He’s taken on a bit of a leadership role within the group this year and it seems to have come through in his confidence and the way he goes about the game.”

After losing the toss and being asked to field first, Colchester made an early breakthrough when opener Joe Joyce was caught for 14 by Joe MacGregor, off Eckford’s bowling.

Opener Danny Joyce (62) and Md Aminul Islam Shihan (20) put on 43 for the second wicket but once that partnership had been broken up, wickets fell at regular intervals.

Joyce and Billy Winter (23) made 55 for the sixth wicket but Belhus were dismissed in 64 overs.

Eckford finished with impressive figures of 3-27 off 18 overs, while Vikas Agarwal (4-41 off 14 overs) and Charlie Fernandes (2-72) also impressed.

In reply, Colchester made a solid start with openers MacGregor (32) and Ben Robinson (32) putting on 53 for the opening wicket.

The fourth-wicket stand between brothers Simon (37) and Charlie Fernandes (57) also proved profitable for Colchester, as they chased down their visitors’ total.

In the end, it was left to Oliver Hills (10 not out) and George Offord (0 not out) to steer the hosts home, in the 43rd over.

Colchester are next in action this weekend when they host Chingford, at Castle Park.

Colchester’s second XI suffered a narrow one-wicket defeat at the hands of Gidea Park and Romford, in Second XI division one.

After winning the toss and electing to bat, Colchester made 253 for four in their 50 overs with Adnan Hasmi (84 not out) and Rahul Viswanath (71) in fine form.

Colchester’s bowlers made inroads in the Gidea Park and Romford reply but James Pegram (80) proved a thorn in the visitors’ side.

And despite three wickets apiece from Dan Thacker (3-42) and Jordan Milburn (3-64), the home side sneaked home to a narrow win in the 44th over.

In the Beaumont Seymour Ladies T20 League, Colchester and East Essex’s Friday XI (76 for three) beat Eight Ash Green (75 for seven) by seven wickets.