Halstead 202-8 lost to
Witham 268-4 by 66 runs
Halstead were beaten by 66 runs against title-chasers Witham in a high scoring affair in Division One at Star Stile on Saturday.
A century from Jake Wakelin set up a big victory for the visitors, with the Witham opener and Sam Cooper settling into their roles after Josh Wells had bowled the dangerous Kaan Hawes (2) with an inswinging delivery.
The pair looked untroubled as they ticked the score past 50 and 100, before spin bowler David Elsbury helped slow down the run rate.
Debutant Wajahat Bukhari, Sam Walter and Charlie Douglas-Hughes also offered spin options, with the next breakthrough coming when Dylan Verreyne was introduced.
The South African claimed the scalps of both Wakelin (101) and Cooper (66), before Bukhari picked up the wicket of Richard Green for 11.
However Leroy Facey (49 not out) and Michael Glynn (11 no) batted out the remainder of the innings to see Witham end on an imposing 268-4.
Halstead suffered early set-backs to the run chase when Ollie Grayson (3) was caught by Hawes, which followed the departure of Gary Dicker who went to hospital with a broken finger at the end of the Witham innings.
Douglas-Hughes offered some resistance with a watchful 57 which included seven boundaries.
At the other end captain Wells made 47 runs from 40 balls, including two sixes before being dismissed.
Bukhari (15) and Mark Johnson (20) made contributions, but no one kicked on to reach the big score required.
Elsbury (22 no) and Freddie Statham (10 no) finished the innings, with the former hitting a maximum off of the lost ball to secure full batting points, but the hosts ended the run chase short.
n Elsewhere, Division Four leaders Halstead II got back to winning ways with a 78-run victory at Witham II.
Ian Pont (73), Simon Steel (60) and Justin Rose (56) all made half centuries as Halstead racked up 252-7.
Pont (3-14), Rose (2-25) and Chris Roper (2-38) then helped reduce Witham to 174.
n Halstead III maintained their promotion push in Division Eight South with a 61-run victory at Witham III.
A century from Mark Surridge (100) and a half-century from Simon Rippingale (66) helped the visitors post a score of 213-6 from 45 overs.
George Cook (3-16) was superb with the ball to reduce Witham to 45-5, before Andrew Jones (1-36), Callum Hansey (1-24) and Ben Roper (3-18) took wickets to secure the full 20 points.
n Halstead (108) won their annual friendly against Symantec (89) by 19 runs.