Brentwood Town move back into the play-offs with a comfortable 2-0 victory away at Brightlingsea Regent.
Captain Martyn Stokes gained the lead for ‘The Blues’ with a header 25 minutes in.
The away side doubled their lead ten minutes later after a quality first time strike from Sam Bantick, which was enough to take them up to fourth.
Brentwood almost broke the deadlock with a great chance 14 minutes in, as the ball pin balled around the box and fell to Alex Akrofi but his shot on the turn was well held by Andrew Plummer.
Brightlingsea had a dangerous corner shortly after which was met by Amir Berkane but went just over the bar.
Brightlingsea made a huge appeal for handball as the ball was fired at Daryl Robson mid-drith, but the referee waved away appeals.
Brentwood took the lead 25 minutes in as a short corner by Bantick was given backed to him and clipped the ball into the box for the captain Stokes to head into the top corner.
From the restart, the home side nearly responded as a strike from Ollie Canfer was palmed away by Ollie Bowles and cleared away from danger by the Brentwood defence.
Brightlingsea missed a great opportunity to equalise as Ricky Griggs free-kick fell kindly for Phil Kelly but his shot on the turn somehow went wide from 12 yards out.
Brentwood extended their lead as Akrofi broke the back-line burst towards goal and unselfishly cut the ball to Bantick to fire in.
Brightlingsea looked to respond shortly after as Kelly’s long range strike was hooked away by an outstretched leg, to deny the home side a way back into the game.
A free-kick for the host was fizzed straight through the Brentwood defence which was spilled by Bowles but eventually cleared at the next opportunity.
Brentwood were content on sitting back and soaking up the Brightlingsea pressure and dealt with everything the hosts’ threw at Brentwood, to take all three points and move up into fourth.
Brentwood Town Lineup: Ollie Bowles, Martyn Stokes ©, Christian Mbulu, Ryan O’Rawe, Andy Freeman, James Love, Robbie Rees (87), Daryl Robson, Sam Bantick (72), Tom Richardson (76), Alex Akrofi
Substitutes: Sherwin Stanley (76), Shad Ngandu (71), Emmanuel Osei (87)
Brightlingsea Regent Lineup: A Plummer, R Griggs (80), Jo Gould ©, A Berkane, J Holman (76), M Cripps, O Canfer, J Turner, J Gordon, P Kelly, B Nelson
Substitutes: L Gandolfini, G Clarke, W Joseph (76), T Amass (80), J Heath (72)
Essex Premier are through to the semi-finals of the Inter County Cup after a dramatic 2-1 tie break victory, after a 20-20 draw at Bristol Indoor Bowls Centre.
Cornwall made a great resurgence in the final session as they won all four mats and the bonus points from 20-8 behind, to take the contest to a tie break.
Dominic Reed and Barry Hedges won their individual tie breaks to take the win and will play Cheshire Premier next week.
Essex made a great start to the match with an early 6-2 lead, Hedges put the first two points of the board with a 19-9 victory. Adam Sultana had a tight affair against Cornwall’s team manager Nigel Nicholls but managed the win on the deciding end to win 12-10. Reed and Babs Morokutti swept aside Elise Daniels pairing 16-10. The final game of the session in the pairs, Mitchell Young and Matt Dillon fell to a 14-10 defeat to the consistent David Studden and his partner.
Neither side could gain an advantage in the second session, Jack Shepard’s triple with Linda Lambert and Tony Ealham were behind for the entirety but kept the score down as they lost 14-8. Mo Binstead, Barry Clarke and Paul Bax after switching came from 9-3 down to snatch the victory on the final end as they won 10-9. The fours also had a mixed bag as Debbie Tomlinson, Tony Orpin, Nigel Reed, Keith Paxman strode into an early lead and won 14-7. The final game before the break, Sammy Lambert, Rachel Cordy, Steve Killington, and Anthony Fautley had a tight encounter against team captain Peter Hore but the Cornwall quartet came out on top as they won 10-6.
Essex led 10-6 at the break and were infront on three of the four bonus points.
Essex extended their advantage with another 6-2 session, Sultana breezed to a 23-7 victory. Hedges made a late fightback but could not manage to gain anything from the game as he lost 14-12, but still wrapped up the bonus points in the singles. Reed (Junior) and Morokutti had a comfortable 19-9 win, Young and Dillon also won 16-12 to respond from their first match to take bonus points and go into the last session 20-8 infront.
Essex only needed a point to go through but Cornwall had other ideas as Lambert, Clarke and Bax were heavily beaten 13-2. The other triple, Binstead, Ealham and Shepard were holding game on the last end from 9-5 down but Nick Truscott’s last bowl stopped the Essex side from the victory, as they won 10-5 and lost the bonus points. Tomlinson, Orpin, Reed (Senior) and Paxman could not stay with the Cornwall four as they fell to a 14-7 defeat. The last to finish was Lambert, Cordy, Killington and Fautlley needing three to take Essex through but lost 11-9 and failed to hold on to the bonus points as it went to the tie break.
In the tie break Essex opted for Hedges, Reed (Junior) and Fautley and Cornwall elected for Hore, Nicholls and Studden. In the first tie break Reed faced Studden and won as Studden missed his last bowl, to give Essex a 1-0 lead. Fautley faced Nicholls and had his final bowl to win the match for Essex but just ran through. The decider was Hedges who faced Hore, Hedges put the pressure on and Hore’s last bowl was poor, to give Essex the victory to face Cheshire in the semi-final.
Essex will play Cheshire at Church Gresley next week, joined by Essex A who will face Somerset A.
Matt Dillon- 6/10
Mitchell Young- 6/10
Jack Shepard- 5/10
Rachel Cordy- 7/10
Keith Paxman- 6 ½ /10
Debbie Tomlinson- 6 ½ /10
Anthony Fautley- 6 ½ /10
Tony Ealham- 6/10
Tony Orpin- 6/10
Nigel Reed- 6/10
Adam Sultana- 8 ½ /10
Babs Morokutti 8 ½ /10
Barry Hedges- 8 ½ /10
Barry Clarke- 7/10
Mo Binstead- 6/10
Linda Lambert- 6/10
Sammy Lambert- 7/10
Paul Bax- 6/10
Dominic Reed- 9 ½ /10 *
Steve Killington- 6/10
Mitchell Young reports on a disappointing afternoon for UEL’s men’s football firsts…
The University of East London 1st fell short of a semi-final place in the Southern Conference Cup after a 3-1 defeat to Portsmouth University 1st at Beckton District Park.
UEL took an early lead through a sweetly struck free-kick by Stefan Neilson but the lead was short-lived as Portsmouth equalised straight after from a close range shot.
Portsmouth went in front shortly into the second half from a great individual skill from their striker – and then UEL went down to ten men with a third of the game remaining as Stefan Wright was sent off.
Portsmouth wrapped up the tie with a header to put them into the semi-finals.
UEL started brightly with an immediate chance, Siao Levi-Blackwood’s cross was bent in towards top goalscorer Johan Caney-Bryan but his volley was straight at the keeper.
When Dillan Stephenson was brought down on the edge of the box, Neilson stepped up and struck a low shot which evaded the wall and skimmed into the bottom corner to secure the lead in this important quarter-final.
But the hosts’ lead lasted a minute until Portsmouth broke the UEL defence. The ball was worked out wide to the winger, who put a low cross across the six-yard box and was slid home to equalise.
Neither side could break down the other in the final third of the first half, as Portsmouth neutralised UEL’s threat of Caney-Bryan and frustrated their play.
East London had a great chance to take the lead early in the second half through Stephenson down the right flank; his mazy run worked some space for a shot just inside the box which pinged off the near post.
Portsmouth took charge of the contest 53 minutes in, with a long floating ball which split the defence and a great first touch for the winger enabled an easy toe poke underneath Robbins for the visitors.
UEL were forced into an early change as Neilson was caught by an elbow, both players went up for the ball with Neilson coming off worse and was replaced by Shahid Kasako.
Neilson was taken straight to hospital with a suspected broken nose.
Matters went from bad to worse for UEL after Wright was given a straight red for dissent 64 minutes in.
UEL paid the price with only ten men when a clearance up field turned into an attack as the defence left the ball to run for Robbins. The ball did not reach him and the striker pounced on the bounce and headed over the UEL captain to extend their lead.
The home side’s frustration showed and despite their best efforts could not work their way back into the game as they exited the competition.
UEL line-up: Richie Robbins (c), Darren Hammond, Nnamdi Harold-Egole (Lukman Adesina 82), Stefan Wright, Stefan Neilson (Shahid Kasako 55), Siao Levi-Blackwood, Ousmane Kone, Dillan Stephenson, Johan Caney-Bryan, Theo Ola.
Mitchell Young previews the St George’s Cup – in which he’ll be competing…
The Ryder Cup, a great golfing spectacle and arguably the best sporting event of them all. But what if I said a minority sport took this concept and made it into the best event in its calendar? You would say, ‘No way!’
Well, it has in the sport of bowls (yes, it is a sport, before you start) in the variation that is short mat bowls.
Short mat bowls, for those of you that have not been blessed to play the game, is similar to curling, where the aim is to get your bowl (not one you eat out of) as close to the jack (a small yellow/white ball) as possible. The game is played on a carpet of six foot wide and 42 to 45 foot long, with a block of 12 inches in the middle which you have to navigate around. You think that is easy? I beg to differ. The player or team with the most points over the designated amount of ‘ends’ wins the game.
The St George’s Cup idea is an English variation of the Ryder Cup with the contest involving ‘the North’ of England versus ‘the South’ of England. The boundaries on which side you qualify are still not set in stone (unless you are on the brink of Scotland or you are in Cornwall). A selected captain for each side picks their top 32 players from their half of the country. All proceeds raised from the event go to charity in aid of Great Ormond Street Hospital.
I personally cannot wait for the event to begin with both sides set to lock horns and ultimately take the title and prove who is best for another year. Needless to say bragging rights are also at stake. The rivalry tops that of Europe vs USA every day of the week. ‘The South’ are replicating Europe at the moment, dominating, and it is a trend I do not see changing any time soon.
I have been fortunate enough to take part in this popular event since it began, and this year I will be part of the fifth instalment.
The event was founded five years ago by two northerners, Nick Tideswell and Darren Beardsmore. The idea caught the attention of southerner Craig Burgess, who helped Tideswell and Beardsmore take the idea to another level, and it has now become a prestigious event in the short mat bowls season.
With the idea brought to life in 2010/11, the first captains were Burgess and Beardsmore, with the South winning 35-12.
“I was very proud to be part of this event which raises money for such a worthy cause. Winning the first ever event as captain was special,” said Burgess.
Last year’s battle was worthy of full Sky Sports coverage as it went down to the final singles match to conclude the whole weekend. It ended in a dramatic draw at 32-32 (this can be seen on YouTube), and as per Ryder Cup rules ‘the South’ breathed a sigh of relief and retained the title, despite ‘the North’ claiming a draw.
The captains for this year’s event are Mark White for ‘the South’ from Dorset and for ‘the North’ a joint duo of Allan Williams and Chris Williams from Shropshire, chosen by the St George’s Cup committee.
“Looking at this season’s event it is going to be interesting to see what happens, with the last event ending as a tie I am sure we are in for another close weekend,” said fence-sitter Burgess.
“Having played in the event from the start it will be a different challenge, as in the past I have only had my own games to worry about,” said White. “With the South not having lost an event so far it comes with the added pressure as you don’t want to be the first.”
“To be the North captain is an honour, but does prove somewhat difficult with selection…actually the hardest part of the selection is to actually get 32 players,” said Allan Williams.
“Being a South Captain for this year’s event is something I hadn’t considered doing before. And it feels like a bit of an honour to manage the abundance of quality players we have in the South team,” added White.
‘The South’ team announced recently is strong as it always is and I feel the side has enough to withstand ‘the North’, whatever they throw at us.
“This year’s squad was a difficult task to pick. We had a number of new people interested plus other people I thought good enough to play and to try and reduce the number from around 60 to the starting 32 was no easy task and I am sure some people are disappointed not to have been selected.”
“The squad will not look too much different from last year due to the relatively small pool of players to choose from, ” said Allan Williams.
He suggested that allowing ‘the North’ to choose from a wider amount of counties would help with the range of selection, which could make the event even more competitive.
However, Williams has expressed his competitive but modest outlook: “Obviously my target is to win and be the first North captain to do so, but I know how difficult that will prove to be.”
“The event itself I think will be as good if not better, than previous years. The rivalry and friendly banter makes the event for me. With last year’s match ending as a tie, I think that will spice things up as the North will be confident they can pull off an upset and the South (I hope) will be out to prove last year’s result was not a fluke!” added White.
‘The North’ and ‘the South’ are set to go head to head on 14th and 15th March at Bromsgrove Indoor Bowls Club.
Mitchell Young previews the forthcoming cup clashes…
The University of East London football 1sts and 2nds are looking ahead to their Southern Eastern Conference Cup quarter-finals.
“I’m an optimist, I think we can get both teams into the semi-finals. Realistically, if we can get one team into the semis then both have had a decent Cup run,” said UEL football coach Yassain Abidou.
UEL 1sts, who host Portsmouth University 1sts at Beckton District Park on Wednesday, remain unbeaten so far this season with nine wins and only one draw. In the Cup so far they have scored 21 goals in the previous three rounds, including a 6-0 away win in the first round, a nail-biting 4-3 victory after extra-time and an 11-1 thrashing in the last round.
UEL will be reliant on their top goal scorer Johan Caney-Brown and will play an important role in the game with his prolific 19 goals in 10 games this season.
However, UEL 1sts will not be at full strength for their important tie.
“We’re nursing some injuries unfortunately. Stefan Wright has a groin strain and we have a few other niggles that we need to keep an eye on. These include Richie Robins (knee) and Nnamdi Harold-Egole (toe),” said Abidou.
UEL will also look to change their formation ahead of the Cup clash due to their last league outing ending in a 1-1 draw away to University of Essex 2nds: “We went 4-5-1 in our last game but I think we’ll revert to 4-4-1-1, how we usually play with a number 10 behind the striker.”
Abidou expressed how important a home tie is: “I think so. We like to think we can go anywhere and win, but having home advantage, less headache travelling around the South of the Country and more time to prepare should help.”
UEL 2nds will travel to Brighton University 2nds, top of division 2A seven leagues above UEL, and will go into the game as underdogs.
The 2nds have already shown that they can step up to the mark in the Cup, despite sitting bottom of the league, beating Greenwich University 1sts 3-1 in the previous round two divisions above UEL.
“The 2nds have a very tough game as Brighton are top and flying in their league. However, they’ve proven they can go and beat anyone so hopefully they can do the business,” added Abidou.
With both sides still in the Cup, they can still meet in the final. Despite Abidou’s optimism he felt an all-UEL final was a bit ambitious: “A little bit, but nothing is impossible.”
The University of East London 2nds produced a great second half comeback to nick a point in their 2-2 draw with University of Essex 3rds, at Beckton District Park.
UEL conceded two early second half goals, the first crept in Dan Robinson’s near post and fell further behind shortly after from a great header by Essex.
East London got back in the game with a header through Michael Ogboin. UEL grabbed their late equaliser again as Ogboin’s brace earned UEL a valuable point.
UEL dominated the early exchanges and almost got a reward through their asset of Dylan Feehily’s long throw, launched in to Tobi Adesina but his outstretched header went over.
Essex had a great opportunity from some neat passing just in the UEL half. A deadly pass broke the UEL defence and put the Essex striker in on goal, Robinson gave the striker the eyes and his strike was scuffed horrifically wide.
Adesina stormed down the left flank on the half hour mark, chased the ball down and nicked it off the defender. He burst towards goal pulled the ball back from the rushing keeper and his shot went just wide of the far post.
UEL’s best chance of the half came before the break, as another huge Feehily throw was flicked on at the near post for Ogboin’s header in the six yard box to be palmed away by the Essex keeper.
Essex took the lead six minutes into the second half against the run of play, from a long ball up to the Essex front man allowed to turn and his shot at the near post squeezed underneath Robinson.
UEL were stunned since the goal and paid the price, as a corner on the right was arrowed in and met by the Essex centre back with a bullet header to double their lead.
The home side then upped the tempo and momentum to pin Essex in their own half which paid off 68 minutes in. A long ball was switched out wide to Adesina, he travelled goal wards found a yard of space to hit a shot which was straight at the keeper but was spilled and Ogboin headed in the rebound.
UEL equalised with ten minutes remaining as Jaden Osei-Bonsu persisted with the ball down the left flank. He played in Ogboin and his upper body strength held off the defender and his shot nestled in the far post.
The hosts nearly won it with six minutes left, as Joshua Adjei whipped in cross was met by an unmarked Adesina, it looked to be heading in but for a brilliant diving save to deny UEL the win.
UEL Lineup: Dan Robinson, Dylan Feehily, Conrad Roda, Jaden Osei-Bonsu, John Daly, Marcus Smithies (50 James Awokoya), Harry Matthews, Joshua, Adjei, Cemal Agdelen ©, Michael Ogboin, Tobi Adesina,
Brentwood Town rued a missed opportunity to catch the top two after a 1-0 defeat to promotion pushers Dereham Town at the Brentwood Arena.
Ross Bailey’s goal in added time of the first half was enough to secure the three points for the visitors, as they now move closer to a playoff place.
Brentwood were without both of their inform strikers Sherwin Stanley and Tom Richardson due to injury, as Brentwood lacked a cutting edge up front.
Dereham had the majority of the possession in the first half hour of the game but neither side could muster a shot on target.
The first chance of the game went to the visitors as a whipped in corner by Fraser Blake-Tracy was met by Lewis Storman’s bullet header, which was denied by a header off the line by Ryan O’Rawe.
Just before the break Sam Bantick had a free-kick which he over hit, evading everyone and almost found a way in as it clipped the top of the crossbar.
In the fourth minute of injury-time in the first half, Brentwood switched off as Ryan Hawkins original cross came off O’Rawe which caused a scramble in the box. The ball eventually fell to the edge of the six yard box for Bailey to tuck it into an empty net, to lead at the death of the half.
With 20 minutes to play Brentwood threw caution to the wind as Alex Akrofi replaced Marcus Milner.
Robbie Rees’ corner was almost headed in by Christian Mbulu but pressure from the defender and an outstretched arm by the keeper caused him to head over.
The referee signalled nine minutes added time after the 90 for the amount of stoppages throughout the second half. But Brentwood could not create a clear chance to snatch an equaliser as Dereham take all three points back to Norfolk.
Brentwood Town Lineup: Ollie Bowles, Christian Mbulu, Louis Baucutt, Martyn Stokes ©, Ryan O’ Rawe, Robbie Rees, James Love, Daryl Robson (84), Emmanuel Osei, Marcus Milner (60), Sam Bantick
Substitutes: Alex Akrofi (60), Shad Ngandu (84), Ryan Mcfarlane, Tom Richardson, Tommy Oliver
Dereham Town Lineup: Andrew Wilton, Harry Barker, Fraser Blake-Tracy, Lewis Storman, Matt Howard, Jay Eastoe-Smith, Arron Kay (85), Ross Bailey, Craig Bussens, Sam Borrer, Ryan Hawkins (70)
Substitutes: Louis Mason (85), Nathan Page, Liam Wales (70)