Essex Premier visited Surrey in their second to last game of the group stages needing as many points as possible to keep the pressure on Norfolk at the top.
Essex came away with a 28-12 win which was satisfactory for the away side and were hoping for a Norfolk slip up the following day as they played Northampton at home.
The first session kicked off with a full house session for Essex with straight wins for Barry Hedges with a 22-7 win and Mitchell Young with a 17-9 win after seeing out the pressure in the middle period at 9-9. The pairs also got the points in the bag as Adam Sultana and Babs Morokutti during a tight game pulled away in the last few ends to win 14-9. Dom Reed and Peter Faultey stormed home with a … win also to complete the 8-0 going into the second session.
The second session had nearly a repeat of the first with a 9-5 win for the triple Paul Bax, Dave Sifford and Matt Sifford, getting their points on the board. The other triple Sadie Young, Tony Ealham and Nigel Reed however could manage a win and lost 6-8 the only game in the session for the visitors. The fours had better luck with wins for both team all be it narrow as Mo Binstead, Linda Lambert, Steve Killington and Antony Faultey won on the last end to nick the win 6-5. The other four: Sammy Lambert, Dave Chittock, Keith Paxman and Jack Sheperd despite going 13-1 up and in full control nearly lost after being six down but Jack’s last bowl saved the game to only drop two, winning 13-10.
Going into the break Essex were comfortable into a 14-2 lead and in front on all the bonus points but they needed to keep their foot on the gas to keeping racking up the points.
The third session had a split session as both singles slipped up after a tight game throughout Mitchell’s game was unfortunate despite going 12-11 in front last end dropped a two to lose 13-12. Barry although coming back from 9-1 down got back to 12-12 with two ends to play but could kick on to win and lost 17-12. Whereas the pairs resumed order as Adam and Babs won 18-13 and Dom and Peter completed a 18-9 victory. With both loses in the singles the bonus points were still held on too from the first session results and the pairs comfortably secured theirs. Leaving the score going in to the last session 22-6.
In the final session the triples were not too successful for Essex with both teams losing as Paul, Dave and Matt went down 13-6 and the other triple Sadie, Tony and Nigel were well beaten 16-5. As Surrey strengthened the triple to win big and it paid off for Mrs Johns, Ben Ottley and Mark Jones. Unfortunately costing the bonus points for Essex as well. The fours had better luck as Mo, Linda, Steve and Antony had a less stressful game with a 13-5 win. Jack’s rink nearly fell into the same trap after going ahead 15-7 but manage held on to win 15-10.
To conclude the day Essex finished up and secured a 28-12 win but Norfolk won convincingly at home 31-9 putting Norfolk five points in front at the top of the group. Going into the last game of the group stages at Stonyhills for both sides to battle out for top spot.