Due to the loss at Northampton 24-16 on the 20th of October and after the availability of Adam Sultana and Anthony Fautley in the return visit, Essex turned it around and produced a resounding 33-7 win.
The opening encounter was held at Caroline Chisholm the venue for the knockout stages of the ICC which Essex are hoping to be in at the later stages. The Essex singles players Jack Sheperd and Mitchell Young were in tough battles throughout the day against Edward Sawbridge and Lee Hall. As Jack lost 15-9 to Ed and Mitchell also went down 13-11 to Lee after great performances in the first session. A solid performance was seen from Babs Morokutti and Dominic Reed as they came through with the only points of the session from a 14-11 win. Although the other new pairing for the Essex side Barry Hedges and Ian Arthur also had another slim defeat as they lost 13-11. The second session produced a split of two wins a piece as despite Steve Killington’s rink with Mo Binsford, Sammy Lambert and Nigel Reed going 6-0 up at the half way stage lost 11-7 to Chris Hopkins’s rink. The other rink involving Maxine Horn, Barry Clarke, Mark Chittock and Keith Paxman manage to fend off the comeback from the Northants four after being 7-2 up, came home winning 13-10. Another team unfortunately not managing to hold on to a lead was Sadie Young, Linda Lambert and Tony Ealham after being 7-2 up couldn’t hold on and lost 13-10. To even up the session was a comfortable win for Paul Bax, Dave Stifford and Matt Stifford of 14-6, keeping Essex in the game at the half way stage at 6-10 down.
The third session had seen a repeat of the first with Dom and Babs getting the only win 18-9 again, with Barry and Ian going down 19-8 which cost the bonus points in the pairs by one shot. The same effect continued for the singles as Mitchell also went down to a sterling performance from Ed to win 13-9. Jack too lost narrowly to Lee after going into the last end all level but Lee snatched the shot to win 12-11 and also ensure the bonus point in the singles. Going into the final session Essex had a mountain to claim as maximum points were needed just for a draw and at the half way stage it was looking achievable with three teams winning. With Tony’s triple coming home with a rampant 18-8 win and Matt’s triple fetching a similar score of 17-6, securing the bonus points for the away side and giving them a glimmer of hope for the draw. Keith’s rink held off Chris Hopkins’s rink from an early 10-2 lead to narrowly win 10-8 leaving it down to Steve Killington’s rink to carry out the final leg of the comeback. Although unfortunately they couldn’t claw back the deficit of 8-3 and finished 7-10 to the home side, picking up the bonus points in the fours. Completing the home win of 24-16 for Northampton a win well deserved with an off par performance from Essex.
The return fixture was a different story as Northampton travelled to Stonyhills and with Essex having all their players available to play Anthony and Adam returned to the side. The first session was well fought by both sides As Ed and Lee again posed a threat to the Essex singles player Mitchell and Barry. Lee faced Mitchell in his opening game which was tight throughout with two ends to play being 10-9 to Lee, but Mitchell finished strong and brought home the two points with a 14-10 win. Barry on the other hand got off to a great start with a 9-2 lead against Ed, however Barry was pegged back in the final stages to finish all level at 11-11. The pairs replicated the singles as Dom and Peter Fautley stormed home with a 17-7 win. Although Adam and Babs after being 11-5 in front couldn’t complete the win and was held at 12-12, going in to the second session with a deserved 6-2 lead. The next session involving the triples and fours having another good session for the home side as the in form triple Paul, Dave and Matt won convincingly with a 14-5 win. The other triple however Sadie, Nigel and Tony couldn’t seem to get going as they were defeated 15-2. The fours both had good start as Sam, Mark, Keith and Jack went quickly into an 8-1 lead and Mo, Linda, Steve and Anthony went 7-1 up also. However they both had to fight for their wins as Anthony’s rink finished up narrowly winning 11-10 and Jack’s rink coming home with a 10-7 win. At the break Essex were opening up an ever widening lead of 12-4 and were clawing back the points lost at Caroline Chisholm.
The third session was even tighter for the singles as a great comeback from Barry after being 9-3 came back going in to the last end 10 a piece with Lee. But after replaying the end couldn’t nick the win and dropped a three to finish 10-13. Leaving only one shot up on the bonus points overall with Mitchell’s game against Ed still playing. At this stage after a tight game throughout Ed was leading 12-11 going in to the last end but after a great display of bowls Mitchell fought off Ed to snatch the win after picking up two shots to win 13-12 and secure the bonus points. Both pairs had less stressful games as they both breezed through with Dom and Peter winning 20-6 and Adam and Babs finishing up 20-11, with the bonus points wrapped up also. The final session had a comfortable win for Sadie, Nigel and Tony triple as they won 14-7, with the other triple Paul, Dave and Matt matching their counterparts with an 11-8 win and bagging the bonus points. Jack’s rink completed their second win of the day after finishing 14-7. The final match to finish was Anthony’s rink as despite being 6-3 down at the half way stage pulled back the shots and finished with a draw at 8-8, to take all the bonus points available and conclude the win 33-7. Although with the convincing win, Norfolk did better as they take a two point lead at the top of the group with two matches remaining.