Aythorpe ease past Athletic but have to settle for second

Aythorpe Roding face the camera

Aythorpe Roding face the camera - Credit: Archant

Aythorpe Roding had to settle for the runners-up spot in Mid-Essex League Division One despite beating Hornchurch Athletic on the final day of the season.

Victory for Rainham in their last match ensured they were crowned champions, but Aythorpe were still able to celebrate securing promotion to the Premier Division for 2018.

Athletic were soon in trouble at Round Bush Green, slumping to 20-4 as Jack Stevens and Neil Culleton combined with the new ball.

And only four visiting batsmen made it into double figures as they were eventually dismissed for a paltry 75 in the 33rd over.

Graham Milbank finished as the pick of the home bowling attack with 4-23, while Stevens (2-11), Culleton (2-17) and Liam Rosewell (2-18) all nabbed braces.

Aythorpe shuffled their batting order in reply, with Rhys Jones and Tom Wharton both falling cheaply.

Luke Cubberley hit 21 and Rosewell (14 not out) helped Stevens (27 not out) clinch their five-wicket victory in the 20th over.

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*High Roding completed their Division One campaign with a heavy defeat at Rayleigh, where they included half a dozen colts.

The home side piled up 247, then dismissed Roding for just 75 to cap a disappointing relegation season.

The second team have enjoyed more success, but saw their hopes of promotion from the Herts & Essex League Division Four shattered at the final hurdle.

Facing rivals North Weald in a winner-takes-all clash, Roding were sent into the field after losing the toss.

Claire Heywood bowled a fine six-over spell at a cost of just 14 runs, picking up a wicket, but a strong batting side eventually amassed 288-6.

Tom Shrager was dismissed at the start of the Roding reply and wickets continued to fall at regular intervals, following some somewhat rash shots.

Andy Duke played a captain’s innings of 85, while Mark Gilfrin (44) and Steve Molloy also made good contributions.

Molloy needed a runner for his innings, having pulled a muscle while fielding, but played through the pain barrier to hit an unbeaten 60.

Those efforts ultimately proved in vain, though, as Roding came up short on 226-9 and had to settle for third place in the final standings.