Essex A progressed into the Quarter-Finals of the Inter County Championships with a 29-11 win on Saturday at neutral venue Bristol Indoor Bowls Club.
Essex made just two changes to the side that beat Norfolk at home on the last game of the group stages.
The first session was emphatic for Essex with four straight wins, as Pauline Childs kept her opponent at bay in the singles to win 16-10 and secure her two points for the side. Roger Dover had to battle hard in his match as two thirds of the way through was locked at 7-7 but managed to gain the lead in the final stages and hang on to win 14-9, to make it two out of two in the singles. The pairs continued the great start to the session as Phil Banner and Frank Amoss won four straight ends in the final third of the game to win 16-11. The other pairing Dave Amoss and Shirley Walker completed the full house with ease as they won 18-7, to give Essex a well deserved 8-0 lead.
The second session was much more competitive from Devon and Essex looked to extend their lead in the triples and fours. Devon started the comeback with a narrow victory over Rita Blackhall, Eileen Smith-Allen and Pat Goodchild 13-11. Essex’s other triple Ian Arthur, Mark Saunders and Paul Cairns responded with a slender 9-6 victory after hanging on to a 9-2 lead earlier in a game. The fours on the other hand had drama, with Danny Curl, Dave Chittock, Heather Amoss and Peggy May leading 8-6 with two ends to play dropped a four to go 10-8 behind going in to the last end, but regained their lead to take the two points with a four themselves to win 12-10. The other Essex quartet completed an even more surprising finish as Alan High, Brian Daley, Rose Hambleton and Peter Debenham went in to the last end losing 9-4, stayed positive and picked up a five on the last end to grab a well deserved point and avoid defeat.
At the break Essex extended their lead once again going 13-3 in front needing only eight points to secure the win.
The third session was strong again from Essex with Pauline winning in style with a 20-3 score line to virtually claim the two bonus points. Roger continued his close encounters as he fell 11-3 behind but fought back hard and never gave up and was rewarded as he nicked it on the last end to win 13-12, to make it four out four in the singles and the bonus points. The pairs however had a blimp as Phil and Frank could not maintain their good start to lose 17-9. But other pairing Dave and Shirley maintained the lead with a great final three ends to make sure of the win 14-8 to put Essex through to the next round, still with a session remaining taking the bonus points as well.
Going into the final session 23-5 up, Devon were playing for pride and started well beating Ian, Mark and Paul 14-7. Essex refrained from letting up off the gas with Rita, Eileen and Pat winning 8-5 but lost out on the triples bonus points by two shots. The fours had another tight game as Dan, Dave, Heather and Peggy went 10-2 down early on but fought back well but came off losing despite the comeback 11-10, to keep the shots down. The final four was Alan, Brian, Rose and Peter won comfortably 13-6 and kept hold of the bonus points to complete a 29-11 win and great team performance from everyone.
Essex A will now face current ICC Champions Kent A on the weekend of the 15/16 of February in the Quarter Finals, to see if they can pull of what would be their best victory of the season.