A COMBINATION of some dropped catches and an injury to a key player at a crucial time hit Braintree Cricket Club's hopes of victory at Frinton seconds.

However, captain Louis Cant believes his team can keep their Marshall Hatchick Two Counties Championship division two title ambitions on track if they can learn from mistakes made against the Seasiders.

Braintree will host Sudbury seconds on Saturday looking to bounce back from their first defeat of the season as Frinton beat them by six wickets at Ashlyns Road and although he was pleased with a positive batting display, Cant felt there were improvements that could be made in the field.

He said: "We got off to a brilliant start with our opening partnership, putting on 80 in good time.

"Some excellent running really helped to frustrate Frinton and the stand-out innings again came from Warren Celiz and Dan Garner.

"We also saw one of the coolest things ever on a cricket pitch, as our chairman Steve Hale deposited the final ball of the innings over long-on and turned around to walk off the pitch, taking his gloves off before the ball had crossed the boundary in real Chris Gayle fashion.

"Coming out to field, we really believed that 220 was a very decent score on a green pitch and went into the second half believing we were well in the game.

"But the Frinton openers came out playing aggressively and really put the pressure on us from the start.

"We didn’t help ourselves with our fielding either, dropping three or four very good chances in the first 20 overs.

"You can’t make mistakes like that against a side like Frinton.

"However, Barry Stephens and Dean Bass came into the attack and really started to pin the batsmen down and we really fought hard to get back in the game.

"Just as I thought we were getting on top, though, Barry collapsed in heap while running in to bowl with what initially appears to be quite a serious injury to his calf.

"He’s going to be a big loss to the side in the coming weeks.

"After that, a combination of only having ten men on the field, some good luck for the batting side and some poor fielding allowed for Frinton to cruise home.

"It was disappointing, but we knew it was going to be tough and we really didn’t get the rub of the green.

"As long as we learn from it and improve going forward, though, I have no doubts we can recover and get back on track for the title this season."

Cant is now looking for a strong response when Braintree host Sudbury seconds at Panfield Lane on Saturday and he is clear about what he wants to see from his players.

The Braintree skipper added: "Sometimes you’re just unlucky, but being positive from start to finish will be key for winning any game.

"Our running between the wickets was extremely positive at Frinton, plus, with Dan Garner and Warren Celiz in this sort of form, our batting line-up is only going to get stronger with Dan Chalk, Will Jackson and Chris Leech returning in the coming weeks.

"I think we'll probably be stronger to face Sudbury than we were last week with some key players returning to the side, but Barry Stephens is going to be a big loss.

"I think we will have to wait on some late fitness updates before the final side is decided."