CAPTAIN Jake Wakelin hailed a "mature and classy innings" as Michael Godwin's maiden Witham Cricket Club first-team century set them up for a winning start to the Marshall Hatchick Two Counties Championship season.

Godwin's score of 100, coupled with a half-century from the skipper in an opening stand of 109, underpinned a Witham total of 217 for six that saw them eclipse the target of 216 all out they had been set by Mistley.

That saw Witham to a four-wicket win on the opening day of the division one season and Wakelin was quick to praise the innings of his opening partner.

Wakelin said: "Michael batted fantastically and deservedly got his first century for the first team.

"To do it like that in the first game will give him confidence and the whole team confidence and it's always nice to see a player who has come through from your youth sides doing well at senior level.

"We are not a club who just go out and look to bring in four or five new signings each year; we perhaps bring in one or two but we have a youth system and we like to see our own young players coming up through it.

"Michael has grown up at Witham and come through the ranks to become a solid first-team opening batsman.

"I know he was a bit disappointed with his form last year, but he put that away in that game against Mistley with a really mature and classy innings."

The successful run chase was set up by a solid all-round performance by Witham's bowlers and although he felt there was still room for improvement from his team, Wakelin was pleased to get their season up and running with a solid victory.

He added: "It was a hot day and we bowled first on a wicket that wasn't easy as it was pretty flat, but we just kept picking up wickets at important times. "Luke Brown is only 16 years old but he has improved so much over the winter and he opened the bowling brilliantly, then we had Carl Bragg bowling well, Shaun Bragg got four wickets and myself and Greg Stephens got two each.

"It was shared around and that was good to see at this stage of the season and we kept Mistley below what we thought was a par score on that wicket.

"We then made a really good start with the bat, with myself and Michael Godwin setting the platform for us to go on and win.

"We finished last year with the 12-game unbeaten run and we just wanted to start this year where we left off so it was great to get the result. "It was a pretty convincing win if I'm honest. "We lost a couple of late wickets and ideally we'd have liked to only be four down at the end, but it was still a pleasing result.

"That was the vitally important thing.

"We were geared up for the first game and we all wanted that win, but there is more to come from us. "It was by no means the complete performance as there were a few sloppy moments but it was still a convincing win."

Witham will continue the start of their season with a trip to Maldon on Saturday.

Billy Moulton-Day may be available if he has recovered from a foot injury to make his Witham debut after joining the club from Sudbury, while overseas player Ken could also be available if the paperwork for his international visa has cleared.