CHELMSFORD got back to winning ways on Saturday when they travelled to Colchester to play the first of the timed games at a very windy but dry Castle Park.
Chelmsford chose to bat despite a pitch that would be more helpful to the bowlers. After the early loss of Paul Jones, Dan Hagen and Nick Prowting saw off the opening attack while scoring steadily along the way. Prowting (54) then accelerated his innings, punishing some wayward bowling from the Colchester change bowlers. At the other end Hagen (100) anchored the innings with patience and selective but powerful stroke play and continued his good form from the week before.
Hagen's classy innings allowed Matt Thurston (33) and Jack Sterland (35 not out) to play aggressively in the final overs and take Chelmsford to a competitive total of 238-5, a score that had been held back by a good fielding performance from Colchester.
The Colchester opening pair of Julian Russell (26) and Ben Foakes (61) started well despite some controlled bowling from the Chelmsford opening attack, with Russell falling to Mark Drain (1-37) late on in his spell.
Neil Fergus (0-64) bowled a long 18 over spell into the strong wind, and his control over line and length contributed to the wickets that were to fall at the other end. Tom Craddock replaced Drain to instantly put Colchester on the back foot with his variation foxing most of the batting line up. One Colchester batsman who did play him well was Essex teammate Foakes who showed a class of innings above his team mates before falling to Craddock for 61 attempting to up the pace.
Craddock proceeded to work his way through the Colchester batting line up, bowling with both control and variety to finish the game with match winning figures of 7-53.
Ollie Devenish (2-4), making his 1st XI debut, provided good support and helped to reduce Colchester to their final score of 161 all out, a score that gave Chelmsford the victory and the full 25 points from the game.
Chelmsford host unbeaten Buckhurst Hill at Chelmer Park on Saturday, they will be a tough side to beat after a winning draw at Brentwood this week.