Current A team Inter County Champions Kent beat Essex 28-12 to progress to the semi-finals at Northampton on Sunday.
Essex performed valiantly but it was not enough to get past the Champions despite being on of their best season in many years.
The singles kicked off proceedings with the reliable Pauline Child kept up her great season with a 13-9 win to get Essex off the mark. After being behind in first two thirds of the game Pauline fought back in the final four ends to take the two points. Unfortunately the same could not be said for Roger Dover as he could not get going in his opening game and lost 21-6. The pairs also had a mixed bag as Phil Banner and Frank Amoss won comfortably 20-10 to chalk up another win for Essex. The other pairing Dave Amoss and Shirley Walker could not take the lead at the end of the session as they lost 19-12 to go into the second session 4-4.
The second session was where the tide started to turn in Kent’s favour with the only win in the session coming from Shirley Banner, Ian Arthur and Mark Saunders winning 9-7. The other triple Rita Blackhall, Eileen Smith-Allen and Pat Goodchild were leading 9-6 with two ends to play but could not hang on to lose 10-9. Both fours found it difficult to keep their games tight as Paul Caines, Brian Daley, Rose Hambelton and Alan High lost 11-4. With the other Danny Curl, Dave Chittock, Heather Amoss and Peggy May lost by a larger deficit 20-4.
At the break Kent took a 10-6 lead which was not a lead that could not be caught but Essex have to regain control of the next two sessions to stage a comeback.
The third session did not get off to a great start with Roger losing his second 17-10 with Pauline also not finding her game in this one as she lost 24-6, losing the bonus points in the singles with the three heavy defeats out of the four matches. The pairs restored what was not looking a good session as Shirley and Dave won narrowly 15-13. With Phil and Frank’s other match although losing closely 13-9 was enough to take the bonus points in the pairs after picking up one on the last end to keep the game alive.
Going in to the final session Essex needed all four mats and both bonus points to snatch the win. The great comeback was on as Shirley, Ian and Mark won 14-11 but ended up being the only team in the Essex side to win both games. As the match quickly slipped away from Essex as the other triple Rita, Eileen and Pat lost 16-6 to let he triples bonus points go to Kent. The fours had similar troubles as Danny, Dave, Heather and Peggy lost 12-8 dropping a vital five in the game which ultimately cost them their game. But the other four Paul, Brian, Rose and Alan had the tie killed off after losing 16-1 with no wins in the fours and also lost the bonus points.
Finishing up with a respectable score line of 28-12, Essex did not disgrace themselves and contested till the end but Kent were just the stronger side. I’m sure they will go on to win the ICC so Essex can hold their heads up high. Essex A have had a great season with the home and away wins against Norfolk which has not been done for some years and reached the Quarter-Finals which is a great achievement. I’m sure the side can push on from here and only get stronger as it has vastly improved on previous years.