HALSTEAD Cricket Club returned to winning ways with a hard-fought 70-run victory over East Bergholt in Marshall Hatchick Two Counties Championship division one, at Star Stile.

Ed Clark was forced into two late changes to his team, with Adam Morris and Lewis Brennan replacing Josh Wells and Josh King respectively.

The skipper won the toss and chose to bat, a decision that looked in question when his side fell to 35 for three.

Chris Rayner (18) hit four fours in his cameo before edging Ben McGrath (1-44) behind to Dan Loveless, before Kian Schwartz (2-32) bowled Adam Morris (5) and had Charlie Douglas-Hughes (5) caught by Alistair Wood at gully.

Harry Pritchard (56*) was the rock of the Halstead innings, anchoring himself as wickets fell around him.

He found a willing partner in Joe Morris (24), the pair putting on 34 for the fourth wicket before Morris fell into Nathan Philpot's (2-33) trap and was caught at midwicket by Sam Foster.

Matt Cooper (ten) was trapped LBW by Jamie McGrath (1-29), Ed Clark (1) caught and bowled by Philpot and Liam Jones (1) run out by George Foster as Halstead found themselves further in the mire at 87 for seven.

Lewis Brennan (21) - making an early return from injury - and Pritchard came together in the 21st over with a lot of work to do, but the pair were resolute and set to their task, batting out 16 overs for a partnership of 50 before Brennan hit Sam Foster (3-19) to Jamie McGrath at midwicket.

Shorn Bobb (0) didn't trouble the scorers as he was bowled by Foster, but Luke Robinson (11) helped marshall the scores past 150 and allow Pritchard to bring up a much-deserved half-century before Robinson too was bowled by Foster.

Halstead will have been disappointed with their total, whilst equally pleased with the grit and determination to get up to a defendable score of 168 all out.

They needed to start well and opening bowlers Joe Morris (3-16) and Ed Clark (2-18) duly delivered in an outstanding opening spell.

The pair bowled with great discipline and consistently asked questions of the Bergholt batsmen as none of the visiting top six made double figures.

Richard Pickford (3) was the first to go, edging Morris behind to Matt Cooper before an outstanding caught and bowled from Clark accounted for Bergholt's South African pro Kian Schwartz (5).

17 for two soon became 28 for four as John Hambrook (6) was bowled by Morris and Sam Foster (4) edged Clark behind to Cooper, the opening pair finishing their first spells with combined figures of 14-2-32-4.

Chris Rayner (2-28) and Luke Robinson (1-13) then joined the party, with George Foster (3) hitting Robinson to Joe Morris at midwicket and both Alistair Wood (8) and Harry Parkes (3) being bowled by Rayner leaving the visitors at 60 for seven.

A partnership finally formed for the visitors as Dan Loveless (31) and Jamie McGrath (20) took the scores toward the 100-run mark.

But the dismissal of McGrath - caught by Cooper off Liam Jones (2-23) sparked a collapse as the final three wickets fell with the score on 98.

Nathan Philpot picked out Shorn Bobb at mid-off to give Jones his second wicket before Morris returned to clean up Loveless.

Halstead will look to keep the momentum going as they host Worlington on Saturday.