Halstead (171) lost to
by one wicket
There was heartbreak for Halstead as they lost off the last delivery, by one wicket to local rivals Witham.
Peter Austin hit the unfortunate Joe Morris for a four from the final ball of a rain-shortened 40-over game at Witham.
The visitors batted first under gloomy skies, threatening a game-ending deluge — such as the IIs and IIs experienced — that never came.
Halstead did not get off to a good start as they lost Chris Huntington (15), Mark Johnson (5) and Sam Chapman (1) inside the first 10 overs, reaching 31-3 with Ben McKendry, Carl Bragg and Jake Wakelin taking the wickets.
Debutant Josh King (16) joined fellow Old Felstedian Josh Wells at the crease, the pair putting on 23 before King became McKendry’s second victim, caught by Ollie Cooke.
Wells was in a run-scoring mood as he picked up boundaries alongside Chris Rayner (8), who was run out by Austin to leave Halstead at 74-5 at the halfway stage.
Ed Clark (12) came in to play the supporting role, with Wells moving through the gears to bring up the 100 and his 50 in the 27th over.
The captain hit five fours and five sixes until he was trapped lbw by Wakelin for a near run-a-ball 77 with the scores at 139-6.
Harry Pritchard (5), Joe Morris (16), Sam Walter (4) and David Elsbury (2 not out) helped Halstead climb to 171 all out from their 40 overs.
Wakelin took a third wicket to finish with 3-29, while two run-outs and a caught-and -bowled for Jack Sambrook accounted for the Halstead tail.
Witham got off to a similarly poor start with Wakelin (12) and Bragg (1) falling to Huntington and Wells respectively to drop to 29-2 from 9.
Michael Godwin (19) soon followed as he was bowled by Elsbury, but James Suett (49) and Michael Glynn (44) rebuilt and pushed Witham into an imposing position.
Rain was looming continuously, with large portions of the game played in drizzle, but the dismissals of Suett — run out by Wells — and Glynn — bowled by Wells — started a collapse for the hosts.
Richard Green (2), Jack Sambrook (3), Kaan Hawes (6) and Cooke (0) were all dismissed — the latter two by Morris — which left Austin and McKendry together for the final over.
With seven runs required it would be Morris to bowl, Witham ending needing three from the last delivery, which Austin hit through mid-off to complete a tense victory and sparking jubilant scenes for the home side.
A dejected Halstead move on to face Maldon at home this week.