COLCHESTER and East Essex are aiming for a repeat of their opening-day show of dominance at lowly Loughton tomorrow.

But club stalwart Julian Russell has warned they cannot afford to take their hosts lightly, as they aim to return to the top of Shepherd Neame Essex League division one.

Colchester ran out convincing 118-run winners over Loughton on the opening day of the season, back in April.

Since then, the sides have experienced contrasting fortunes in division one, with Darren Eckford's side pushing for promotion and Loughton currently rooted to the bottom of the table.

A total of 73 points currently separate the two sides but Colchester director of cricket Russell insists they must take nothing for granted, this weekend.

Russell said: “We played very strongly against Loughton on the first day of the season.

“But on their home ground, they know their conditions very well and it will be a hard test for us.

“We have to turn up from ball one and it’s very important that we bounce back with a positive result, as we’ve shown throughout this season that we can do.”

Colchester are looking to bounce back tomorrow, following their surprise defeat at Upminster last weekend.

The Castle Park-side slumped to a disappointing 178-run loss losing top spot as a result and head into the Loughton clash in second spot.

“At the halfway stage, we’ve had some very good results and also a couple which haven’t been so good,” said Russell.

“That shows again that you can’t afford to take any teams for granted in our division.”

Simon Fernandes top-scored for Colchester at Upminster with an unbeaten knock of 47.

He has been serving as the club’s wicket-keeper over recent weeks and Russell says he is an important player.

“Simon Fernandes is another player we have who has a heap of potential,” added Russell.

“He’s been really unfortunate to have not had the chance to bat higher up the order this season because of how well other players are doing, so it was really nice to see him make such a good contribution against Upminster.

“He’s also wicket keeping beautifully at the moment and is a very valuable player in our team.”