Essex A lost their first game of the season narrowly to second place Suffolk 22-18 at Stonyhills as they remain top.
The overall game went down to the wire as the whole tie was determined by the final bowl of the triples as Suffolk came out on top.
Pauline Childs stormed to an emphatic 22-4 victory to get Essex off to a great start. Paul Cairns could not replicate that as he lost out 13-6.
Shirley Walker and Colin Addis were full of energy as they got an early lead and extended it as they won 15-5.
Despite a comeback from young pairing Mark Chittock and Sadie Young they almost got a draw as they were 13-10 down last end but only managed the two as they lost 13-12, to level the session.
Suffolk were stronger in the second session as Rita Blackhall, Michelle Squires and Tony Hayes were beaten 9-7.
The only win of the session for the home side came from Greg Wade, Pat Goodchild and Phil Banner as they won narrowly 13-12.
Peter Snelling, Eileen Smith-Alan, Frank Amoss and Peter Debenham went down heavily 13-1.
Racheal Cordy, Peggy May, Dave Chittock and Rob Wade put in a great performance but after they went in front on the final end let it slip as they lost 10-9, as Essex trailed 10-6 at the break.
Essex were determined to fight back and the consistency of Childs continued as she won 12-11 to give the hosts some momentum.
Cairns narrowed the gap in his second game but was unable to win as he lost 12-9 but still claimed the bonus points in the singles.
Walker and Addis were stunned as they could not repeat their first performance as they were beaten by a large margin 18-6.
Chittock (Junior) and Young got back to winning way as they saw off the Suffolk pairing 12-10 but narrowly lost out on the bonus points by one shot, as Essex went into the final session 16-12 down.
Snelling, Smith-Allen, Amoss and Debenham reversed their earlier defeat and won comfortably 11-3.
Cordy, May, Chittock (Senior) and Wade (Senior) this time edged out the other Suffolk four 9-8 but unfortunately lost out on the bonus points by three shots.
Wade (Junior), Goodchild and Banner managed to also win 14-9 to bring Essex into great contention with the final triple still playing.
Blackhall and Hayes had to part with the withdrawal of Squires who was replaced by Terry Matthews for unforeseen circumstances. Which saw them get edged out 11-8 and lost the bonus points by a single shot their final end to finish up 22-18.
Essex will now face Cambridgeshire in their final game at home in a few weeks and carry a 21 point lead over Suffolk despite their loss today.