After the washout last week, it was a return to hot weather on Sunday, although unfortunately the summer holidays appear to have taken hold, as there were two concessions. In Division One, it looks decidedly bleak for Copdock & OI whose concession at Galleywood, resulted in further deduction of ten points, under Rule 29, which virtually seals their relegation. In Division Two, Halstead’s unbeaten run came to an end at Star Stile with an 18 run defeat in a high scoring game against Braintree. Springfield closed the gap with a thumping victory at home to Abberton, however, they missed the chance to top on Monday evening when they were defeated by Great Totham. Totham enjoyed a forty point weekend as they got the better of Eight Ash Green in a bowler friendly game at Fordham Heath on Sunday. In Division Three, there are new leaders, as Cavaliers move above Stebbing following their win at Great Horkesley & Lexden. Stebbing surrendered the lead in the table by conceding their game at Coggeshall. Kelvedon are also creeping up on the blind side for championship honours, following a six wicket success at Boxted.

Individually there were two centurions, with Springfield’s Taine Pollinger (111no) recording his maiden century in their win over Abberton. The consistent Fowad Murtaza of Cavaliers scored his second century of the season with an unbeaten 107 at Great Horkesley & Lexden, which sees him become the first player in the league to pass five hundred runs for the season. The best bowling performances of the week came from Kelvedon’s Ryan Vickery who returned 4 for 20, and then backed up his bowling with 74 with the bat, Vinayakumar Gedi of Cavaliers returned 4 for 25, while Halstead’s Josh King claimed 4 for 26 in his sides defeat to Braintree.

Read more: Week 16 (August 5th) - Fowad Murtaza reaches 500 runs as Cavaliers go top of Division Three

After two months without rain I suppose the law of averages was against us, and with rain setting in early morning, it was no surprise that seven games were cancelled. Colchester & E.E. picked up 20 points on Saturday evening as Copdock & OI conceded. There was a double penalty for the visitors as it was their second concession resulting in a ten point deduction, and then a further ten points were deducted for not informing the Results Secretary of the concession by 10pm the previous evening. Play did start at Stebbing, who were entertaining Boxted, on their President’s Day, but lasted just five balls. While on Thursday in the final T20 group game of the season, a Damien Smith (101no) century for Ipswich secured top spot in the T20 East Division with a win over Mistley.

Read more: Week 15 (July 29) - Sunday washout !!

Just a thimble full of rain on Friday night in the area barely touched the surface, with many outfields now resembling parched savannahs. Ironically, after the completion of the World Cup, the league suffered its first concessions for a number of weeks with Eight Ash Green and Abberton both conceding their Division Two games. Obviously, with the summer holidays now starting, the problems of Sunday availability looks likely to be exacerbated. On the field, Clacton’s hopes of putting a significant gap between them and the chasing pack in Division One took a blow, when they were defeated by 29 runs by Mistley who are up to second. In Division Two, Witham briefly took top spot in the table after a seven wicket victory over Springfield on Thursday. However, unbeaten Halstead reclaimed top spot on Sunday with an eight wicket success at Great Totham. In Division Three, there was a first defeat for Stebbing, who were beaten by second placed Cavaliers at the Rugby Club. Kelvedon leap frogged Real Oddies into third place, with a nine wicket success. West Bergholt were 73 run winners over Boxted, and there were celebrations for Great Horkesley & Lexden who have their first win of the season courtesy of a 66 run success at Coggeshall. In the T20 East Division, Mistley missed their chance of getting to Final’s Day, with defeat at Wivenhoe on Thursday, which means Ipswich will join Colchester & E.E on August Bank Holiday. Little Bardfield Village and Kelvedon complete the Final's Day line up, following Bardfield's win over Coggeshall last evening.

Individually, there were three centuries with Jon Jones of Great Horkesley & Lexden posting the biggest with an unbeaten 150 against Coggeshall. Kelvedon’s Ryan Vickery (101no) and Coggeshall’s Ben Speakman (100) also reached three figures. The only five wicket performance of the week came from Cavaliers spinner Haji Ahamed (5 for 55), who was instrumental in a mid order collapse for Stebbing.

Read more: Week 14 (July 22) - Stebbing beaten, Great Horkesley & Lexden win for the first time, and T20...

So the cricket season can finally begin, now the football circus is complete – well for two weeks at least, before the next football season starts ! There are just the six games to report on from this week, with shrewd fixture secretaries generally avoiding the World Cup Final date. The headlines are in the T20 competition where defending T20 champions Wivenhoe, have managed to do a Germany, and have been eliminated at the group stage following defeat at Ipswich on Thursday. On Sunday in Division Two, there were two high scoring run chases, as Braintree chased down Abberton’s 300 for 9, and Chappel & Wakes Colne were successful in their chase of Witham’s 261 for 6. The match between Springfield and Great Totham was postponed with both clubs looking for an alternative T20 date. In Division Three, Kelvedon got back to winning way with a 52 run win at Coggeshall in a game reduced to 20 overs per side. Finally, Little Bardfield Village made it two from two in the T20 West Division with a three wicket success over Galleywood. There were no centuries this week, although Abberton’s Elliott Mann (96) and Matt Sullivan (93) and Witham’s Forster Mutizwa (99) all succumbed in the nineties. Alex Terry of Abberton claimed the bowling performance of the week with 6 for 53 in his sides defeat at Braintree.

Read more: Week 13 (July 15th) - T20 champions Wivenhoe out at the group stage

A hot summers day on the back of England World Cup euphoria, saw plenty of runs and some excellent individual performances on Sunday. In Division One, Clacton are the new leaders following a home victory over Galleywood, while Copdock & OI made it back to back wins with a tremendous run chase at Mistley. In Division Two, Witham missed the chance of closing the gap on Halstead and Springfield with a 146 run defeat at Great Totham. Braintree are off the bottom following victory at Chappel & Wakes Colne, while Abberton scored heavily in their win over Eight Ash Green which condemns the Green to the bottom of the division. In Division Three, Cavaliers kept the pressure on leaders Stebbing, who were not in action, with a win over Kelvedon. While Real Oddies are keeping Cavaliers on their toes by maintaining the chase in third place with a win over Boxted. West Bergholt scored a much needed win over Coggeshall, with debutant Greg Wilson starring with an unbeaten half century and the best bowling performance of the season, so far, with 7 for 17. There were five centurions this weekend, with Dan White 180 for Abberton, and James Parker 155no for Eight Ash Green both compiling the biggest hundreds in the same game at The Brow. Fowad Murtaza (137) for Cavaliers, Sam Webb-Snowling (107no) and Carl Lees (106) for Braintree were the other centurions. Clacton’s Dave Fitzpatrick claimed the second successive fivefor for Clacton bowlers with his 5 for 50, while Jake Foley claimed four catches at the wicket in Colchester & E.E. T20 success over Mistley on Thursday.

Read more: Week 12 (July 8th) - Hot, hot, hot and plenty of runs

It seems a long time ago that we were despairing of the ‘Beast from the East’, as the prolonged heat wave continued into first weekend of July. Thankfully, all nine matches went ahead with no concessions, although the heat appears to have tipped one team over the edge, as Great Totham conceded their match against Braintree with eight overs remaining ! Great Horkesley & Lexden should be commended for their effort in Division Three, playing with eight men and claiming seven points at Boxted, after being subjected to a hot afternoon in the field first. In Division One, there were wins for Clacton and Copdock & OI, the former climbing up to second place. In Division Two, unbeaten leaders Halstead made it five from five, while second placed Springfield are not letting up on the chase with an eight wicket win at Eight Ash Green. Braintree claimed their first win of the season, with victory over Great Totham, in what is probably a first for the North Essex Cricket League – a team walking off. In Division Three, it is a magnificent seven for leaders Stebbing, who strolled to victory at West Bergholt. Cavaliers are a distant second, following a seven wicket success over Coggeshall, while Boxted claimed the win in the bottom of the table clash. In the T20 West division, Little Bardfield Village started their 2018 campaign with an impressive eight wicket victory over previously unbeaten Kelvedon & Feering, whom must now wait for the outcome of other results to see if they progress. Individually there were four centuries this week, with three coming at Halstead – Joe Morris (110) and Josh King (112no) scoring maiden centuries for Halstead, and Michael Godwin (108) responding for Witham. At Boxted veteran opener Steve Philpott (105) posted three figures in his sides win over Great Horkesley & Lexden. Only the one fiverfor, came from Clacton’s Bradley Pitts (5 for 47) in their win over Mistley, while there were four wicket performances from Springfield’s Martin Southwell (4 for 3), Braintree’s Joel Ainsley (4 for 33) and Prakash Day (4 for 35) of Boxted in their sides respective wins.

Read more: Week 11 (July 1st) - Magnificent seven for Stebbing in Division Three