COLCHESTER and East Essex chairman of cricket Julian Russell says they hope to further cement their connection with the community, this season.

The Castle Park side have a history of producing talented young players, with the likes of Reece Topley, Ben Foakes and Ben Allison all featuring for the club in their younger years.

Colchester boast two men's Hamro Foundation Essex League teams along with a Saturday third team playing friendlies.

They also have sides in the North Essex Sunday Cricket League and women's teams in the Beaumont Seymour North East Essex League and Southern Women's Cricket League.

In addition, they also boast teams ranging from under-11 to under-19 level, for their younger players.

Russell said: “We’ve got an exciting new coaching structure that we’re putting into place, prioritising some of the internal development to hopefully bring on the next young players who are within our catchment, at the moment.

“We want to play well on the field but there’s also that community angle – the club means a lot to a lot of people, along with the league and the game of cricket itself.

“It’s important having cricket there to be a feature of the summer in the town, whether it’s those with close involvement with the club or people who only pop down once or twice a season or just check the scores.

“We’re looking forward to being able to entertain and welcome the whole range of people who love the game."

Colchester's first XI suffered a narrow eight-run defeat to Hornchurch, in their latest Essex League premier division match.

Colchester skipper Darren Eckford won the toss and elected to field, at Castle Park.

Hornchurch made 204 for six, in their 45 overs.

Ben Stephens was the pick of the Colchester bowlers with 2-15 off his nine overs.

Oliver Hills (1-31), Charlie Watts (1-35) and Joe MacGregor (1-56) each took one wicket apiece.

In reply, Colchester were set a revised target of 113 from 30.0 overs and lost opener Feroze Ahmed early on for one.

MacGregor was in fine form with an unbeaten 42 and Simon Fernandes was 43 not out at the end.

But Colchester finished on 104 for two at the end of their 30 overs, to narrowly lose out.

Colchester are back in action this weekend when they travel to play Harold Wood.

Colchester II (69 for eight) lost by 110 runs at Hutton (204 for eight), in their division six second XI division one match.

Colchester were given a revised target of 180 from 40 overs to win after George Offord (3-29) and Keelan Milburn (3-44) claimed three wickets apiece to restrict Hutton.

Adnan Hashmi top scored for Colchester in reply with 24 but they fell short of their target, in 23 overs.