COLCHESTER and East Essex's fine run of form came to an end when they lost by six wickets to leaders Chelmsford, at Castle Park.

A below-par batting display proved the hosts' downfall, in their Hamro Foundation Essex League premier division match.

After being put into bat, Colchester's batsmen struggled for runs from the start.

Prolific opener Joe MacGregor was out for run to leave the hosts two for one.

And although Feroze Ahmed (4) and Dan Wolf (7) did steady the ship somewhat with a second-wicket partnership of 16, wickets fell at regular intervals after that.

Colchester found themselves wobbling on 20 for four before a fifth-wicket partnership worth 30 between Charlie Fernandes (8) and Jack Hobbs (58) gave them some hope.

But once Fernandes had departed wickets again began to tumble and Colchester were eventually bowled out for 105, in 40.2 overs.

Hobbs top scored with 58 and was the only Colchester player in the innings to reach double figures.

Liam Keaney (3-10), Andy Styan (3-29) and James Liddiard (3-14) all claimed three wickets apiece for Chelmsford.

Chelmsford made a solid start in their pursuit of their modest target, with their openers Jack Sterland (43) and Ben Clifford (17) putting on 46 runs for the opening wicket.

The runs kept coming for the visitors despite two wickets apiece for Charlie Watts (2-27) and Vikas Agarwal (2-36).

Robert Catchpole (15 not out) and Jack Cook (13 not out) were unbeaten at the end, as Chelmsford wrapped up victory inside 23 overs.

Colchester, who remain sixth in the table, will attempt to get back to winning ways this weekend when they visit Brentwood.

Colchester's second XI suffered a narrow nine-run defeat at Frenford, in their latest Second XI division one match.

After being put into bat, Frenford posted a total of 156, in 42.1 overs.

Kieran Savill claimed 3-29 while Dan Thacker (2-38), Jacob Drew (2-19) and George Offord (2-9) all took two wickets apiece.

Colchester lost opener Tim Debenham for a duck but Jamie McCarroll hit 38 off 66 balls to keep the visitors on track.

Dan Thacker (45) and Sebastian Wheeler (28 not out) helped to get Colchester to the brink of victory.

But they were just unable to see it over the line as they were bowled out for 147, in 47 overs.