Joint leader Stuart Manley gets down to read a putt. Picture ©Getty ImagesFormer footballer and budding tour pro Stephen Grant fired a three under par 69 to go into the second round of the English Challenge at Stoke-by-Nayland just four shots off the lead.

As Colm Moriarty contiued his positive run of form with a two under 70, fGrant finished the day tied for and perfectly placed to make his second halfway cut of the season.

“Good start today,” Grant tweeted. “Only the first round but something to try build on.”

Having teed off at the 10th, the Birr man bogeyed the 11th before immediately following that with a birdie at the 12th and back to back birdies at the 14th and 15th moved him to two under par for the day.

Bogeys at the 16th and 18th meant he was level par at the turn but three consecutive birdies at the fifth, sixth and seventh elevated him up the leaderboard and put him right into contention.

Moriarty also had a positive back nine having reached the turn in level par thanks to birdies at the third and ninth and bogeys at the fourth and eighth, before back to back birdies at the 14th and 15th saw him home in two under par 70.

Limerick’s Tim Rice was further down the field on two over par after an opening round of 72.

England’s Robert Dinwiddie and Welshman Stuart Manley set the pace on seven under par with bogey free 65s on the Gainsborough Course at the Essex venue, just outside Colchester, one shot ahead of Francis McGuirk.

65 S Manley (Wal), R Dinwiddie (Eng),

66 F McGuirk (Eng),

67 J Grillon (Fra),

68 J Gibb (Eng), J Little (Eng), C Paisley (Eng), M Haines (Eng),

69 F Delamontagne (Fra), M Glauert (Ger), Stephen Grant (Irl), A Snobeck (Fra), J Busby (Eng), M Nixon (Eng), J Van Der Vaart (Ned), D Whitnell (Eng), N Lemke (Swe),

70 Colm Moriarty (Irl), R Wingardh (Swe), R Russell (Sco), A Maestroni (Ita), M Korhonen (Fin), A McArthur (Sco), E Pepperell (Eng), E Kofstad (Nor), J Lima (Por), S Wakefield (Eng), N Dougherty (Eng),

71 J Palmer (Eng), A Hartø (Den), H Santos (Por), C Brazillier (Fra), C Macaulay (Sco), J Garcia Pinto (Esp), L Goddard (Eng), M Eliasson (Swe), B Åkesson (Swe), T Cruz (Por), A Hansen (Den),

72 J Abbott (Eng), P Archer (Eng), T Hatton (Eng), M Lemesurier (Eng), A Bruschi (Ita), S Pinckney (USA), F Fritsch (Ger), L Richard (Bel), S Benson (Eng), A Ahokas (Fin), D Gaunt (Aus), S Tiley (Eng), A Otaegui (Esp), B Koepka (USA), G Clark (Eng),

73 D Brooks (Eng), D Smith (Eng), P Uihlein (USA), R De Sousa (Sui), M Delpodio (Ita), L Saltman (Sco), M Haastrup (Den), B Ahlenback (Swe), J Wahlqvist (Swe), C Ford (Eng), J Senior (Eng), J Hansen (Den), G Lockerbie (Eng), B Barham (Eng), J Hepworth (Eng), S Lilly (Eng), A Tampion (Aus), M Ford (Eng), S Brown (Eng), J Walters (RSA), E Saltman (Sco), M Tullo (Chi), R Schneider (Fra), J Barnes (Eng), G Porteous (am) (Eng), O Carr (am) (Eng),

74 S Davis (Eng), N Henriques (Por), K Eriksson (Swe), G Dear (Sco), B Parker (Eng), R Wallis (Eng), C Lloyd (Eng), T Rice (Irl), P Reed (Eng), J Doherty (Sco), G Houston (Wal), P Doherty (Sco), M Southgate (Eng), B Chapellan (Fra), J Huldahl (Den), B Fowles (Eng), P Streeter (Eng), J Rask (Swe), C Monasterio (Arg), T Leon (USA), M Lorenzo-Vera (Fra), N Raymond (am) (Eng), B Stow(am) (Eng),

75 A Hortal (Esp), S Hodgson (Eng), D Vancsik (Arg), O Whiteley (Eng), A Bernadet (Fra), L Jensen (Den), C Gane (Eng), D Wright (Eng), M Madsen (Den), D Küpper (Ger), B Hemstock (Eng), M Cryer (Eng),

76 F De Vries (Ned), P Relecom (Bel), S Buhl (Ger), B An (Kor), A Perrino (Ita), N Bertasio (Ita), T Whitehouse (Eng), S Bebb (Wal), J Heath (Eng), C Hanson (Eng),

77 J Parry (Eng), W Booth (Sco), S Engell Andersen (Ken), A Kaleka (Fra), P Fendt (Aut), J Mikkelsen (Nor), A John (Ger),

78 P Dwyer (Eng), M Brown (Nzl), L Canter (Eng), J Hiluta (am) (Eng),

79 D Law (Sco), J McLeary (Sco), A Velasco (Esp), S Jacklin (USA), Å Nilsson (Swe), S Garcia (Esp), B Evans (Eng),

80 C Goodfellow (Eng), N Vanhootegem (Bel), C Russo (Fra), A Knappe (Ger), P Kaensche (Nor),

81 F Keenan (Eng), J Kaske (Fin), J Dantorp (Swe),

83 M Higley (Eng), J Svoboda (Cze),

84 D Seymour (Eng),

85 G Giddie (Ken),

86 B Loughrey (am) (Eng)