BRAINTREE Cricket Club beat Wivenhoe by five wickets in a thrilling Marshall Hatchick Two Counties Championship division one encounter at Panfield Lane.

The Dolphins ran out winners in a match reduced to 35 overs a side due to the wet outfield.

Dan Garner put Wivenhoe in after winning the toss and Matt Durrell and Will Morgan got the visitors off to a decent start, putting on 65 runs for the first wicket.

And Braintree were hampered when seam bowler Ben Golds pulled up with a calf injury and was forced to leave the field of play.

Grace Poole was brought into the attack and quickly had Durrell (33) caught by Geoff Eveling and two overs later clean bowled Morgan (35).

Eveling then took a wicket himself as he tempted Tom Durrell (14) to hit out and Matt Renvoize took the resulting catch.

With Jakob Kelly and Nick Hillman threatening to put on a big partnership, Chris Leech was brought on.

The occasional spin bowler’s first delivery to Hillman was hit for six, however his second was hit straight to the safe hands of Rory Ainsley and the Wivenhoe captain trudged off having scored 26.

Joe Nicholls became Leech’s’ second victim when substitute fielder, Josh Newman took an excellent and James Butcher became his third as Dan Garner whipped off the bails with the batsman out of his crease.

In an attempt to take a catch Renvoize damaged his hand and he too had to go off injured.

Major Singh had bowled well without any reward, however in his final over he got a richly deserved wicket as he dismantled Harry Burnett’s stumps.

Matt Hollingsworth was brought on to bowl the 35th over and with his final delivery he had Ross Evers caught in the deep by Ainsley.

Kelly remained unbeaten on 46 as Wivenhoe accumulated 196 for the loss of 8 wickets off their allotted overs.

In reply Braintree got off to the worst possible start as Matt Renvoize, batting with a heavily bandaged hand, lost his footing whilst attempting to reach a wide delivery and was duly stumped without the troubling the scorer.

Dan Chalk joined Chris Leech at the crease and the pair slowly went about rescuing Braintree’s innings putting on 54 runs for the second wicket.

Unfortunately, having scored 19 runs Leech was out caught and bowled.

As the rain started to fall heavily Dan Garner (4) and Matt Hollingsworth (2) lost their wickets in quick succession, the umpires eventually taking the players off for 25-minute delay.

When play resumed, Chalk having scored 44 was cleaned bowled and Braintree found themselves in the precarious position of 79 for five.

Enter Ainsley and Singh to the wicket with the pair deciding that with nothing to lose they would throw caution to the wind and go out with all guns blazing.

Major got off the mark with a massive six and continued the onslaught peppering the gardens of adjoining houses with a further half a dozen maximums.

Initially Ainsley was content to push singles, however he too got in on the act ensuring any loose deliveries were sent over the boundary ropes.

From being in the position of requiring 100 runs off ten overs to win, the target was reduced to just 14 off the final two.

Both overs weren’t required though as Ainsley struck a huge six off the first ball of the 34th and then sent the next delivery crashing into the fence.

The Dolphins' winning runs were an anti-climax though as victory was achieved courtesy of four byes.

Ainsley remained unbeaten on 52 having hit four fours and two sixes whilst Singh finished on 65 off only 34 balls, his innings included one four and seven sixes.

Braintree host Mistley on Saturday with a noon start and with spectators allowed, hopefully a number will find some time to give the Dolphins a look.

Braintree seconds, whose fixture at West Bergholt fell victim to the weather, visit Abberton.