CLACTON Cricket Club chairman Gary Kirk hailed the "belief and hard work" of match-winning batsman Matt O'Brien.

The opener hit 73 not out in his side's thumping nine-wicket victory at neighbours Elmstead.

The sides met in a Marshall Hatchick Two Counties Championship second division contest on Saturday.

After limiting Elmstead to 136 for eight from their 35 overs - Jordan Elliott hit 71 - the Seasiders reached their target in the 29th over.

Lewis Kirk claimed four wickets for 30 runs in 11 overs and Kieron Parkes scored 44.

However, it was O'Brien's swashbuckling 73 - coming from 71 balls, including eight fours and a six - that left the biggest impression on chairman Kirk.

"It was a thrashing," he told the Gazette.

"We played our best cricket of the season and thoroughly deserved the win.

"Matt deserves a special mention.

"His batting performance was fantastic, opening for the first time this season.

"He's a local lad who works hard on his game and is having his best season ever.

"It just shows what belief and hard work can do and I'm so impressed with him.

"All the lads enjoy him being in the team and this season he's cemented his place for sure. He's a real asset."

Elmstead struggled to score against an accurate Clacton attack, led once again by Lewis Kirk.

He was backed up by all of the bowlers, with Imran Sheikh (two for 22) controlling the middle overs.

Only Elliott and Josh Grimes, with a few big hits at the end, showed any ability to score runs.

"Our fielding was excellent and, in that respect, it was our best performance of the season," said Kirk.

In reply, Parkes and O'Brien dominated, scoring runs freely and putting on a hundred opening stand in 20 overs

The win was never in doubt and it was just the number of overs it would take to hit the winning runs.

Tom Puncher hit the winning runs in an emphatic victory.

Clacton, who pocketed 19 points to Elmstead's three, host East Bergholt on Saturday (1pm).