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Colchester and East Essex not giving up, insists Stephens
Colchester and East Essex bowler Ben Stephens believes they must win all of their remaining games to stay in the Shepherd Neame premier division.
The Castle Park side head to Wanstead and Snaresbrook this weekend, knowing time is running out to preserve their top-flight status.
Colchester remain deep in relegation trouble, following their 50-run defeat at the hands of Brentwood, last weekend.
They are second from bottom in the table and Stephens, pictured left, knows they must turn things around quickly if they are to have any hope of staying up.
Stephens said: “I think it’s probably fair to say that we need to win every game now between now and the end of the season.
“We’re not giving up just yet and we should have a strong team for all three of our remaining games.
“It’s tough because when you lose a game, you get into that losing cycle, much like you do when you get into a winning cycle.
“We obviously have to try and get out of that sequence as quickly as possible.
“It’s a case of pulling everyone together and trying to win, which will in turn spark off more wins.”
Colchester captain Joe Barnett elected to field after winning the toss and they had Brentwood on the rack early on, reducing them to two for two.
However, Brentwood recovered after that and posted a total of 239 for seven off their 50 overs.
Henry Foster (4-39) was the pick of the Colchester bowlers, while Stephens (2-31) was also impressive.
Colchester made a good start to their run chase, with openers Omar Ahmed (54) and Andrew Kennedy (18) putting on 54 for the first wicket.
Tom Blundell (13) and Cameron Rule (15) kept the scoreboard ticking over but Colchester struggled in their run chase after that.
Sam Weller (32 not out) was left unbeaten at the end but Colchester were bowled out for 189, to slide to defeat.
There was better news for Colchester II, who beat their Brentwood counterparts by five wickets at Castle Park, in the second XI premier division.
Brentwood declared on 214 for five, with Nick Gibbs (3-65) the pick of the Colchester bowlers.
Colchester openers Glenn Wheeler (52) and Chamath Jayasooriya (41) gave Colchester a great platform to build on.
And key contributions from Fred Clark (58 no) and Stephen McEvoy (38) helped secure the hosts victory.
Colchester III (201 for five) were also five-wicket winners over Brentwood IV (199), in third XI division two.
Danielle Lavender (7-21) starred with the ball for Colchester, while Donald Mlambo (81) and Ashvin Prabaker (66) were in fine form with the bat.
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