Essex Premier secured qualification to the knockout stages of the Inter County Competition with a 20-20 draw against Northampton at Stonyhills.
The home side despite a healthy lead at the break, had to come from 16-12 down at the end of the third session to scrape a draw in the final session.
Adam Sultana gave Essex their first two points as he won 13-10 over Lee Hall, as his aggressive tactics just paid off.
Matt Dillon took Edward Sawbridge all the way, at 9-9 in the final end but Sawbridge edged Dillon to win 11-9.
Barry Hedges and Mo Binstead got an early lead and held off Callum Beale’s pairing, as they won 18-13.
Babs Morokutti and Dominic Reed fell 11-4 down after 11 ends and despite their best efforts lost out 13-10 against Thelma Hopkins and Chris Western, to go into the second session 4-4.
The second session was vastly improved by Essex as Del Coates, Tony Ealham and Mitchell Young held off Chris Hopkins triple, as they won 10-4.
Essex’s other triple Linda Lambert, Fred Gudgeon and Jack Shepard also kept the Northampton triple at arm’s length as they won 11-7.
The fours precipitated, as Debbie Tomlinson, Tony Orpin, Nigel Reed and Anthony Faultey did enough as they won 9-6.
Ian Arthur, Sammy Lambert, Keith Paxman and Steve Killington had a narrow 11-8 victory to make it a clean sweep for the hosts and went into the break with a 12-4 lead.
Northampton responded after the break as a frustrated Dillon was out bowled by Hall and lost 17-7.
Sultana was caught out by Sawbridge in his second game, after he lead 11-7 after 11 ends was pegged back and lost 14-11, which secured the bonus points for Northampton.
It went from bad to worse for Essex as Hedges and Binstead fell to another session defeat 16-13.
Northampton completed the reverse clean sweep as Reed (Junior) and Morokutti lost out to Beale’s pair 14-6, which gave them the bonus points and lead 16-12 going into the last session.
Essex had it all to do in the final session and Coates, Ealham and Young stormed to a 15-4 victory, to start the revival.
The comeback was halted somewhat as Lambert, Gudgeon and Shepard came from 9-3 down to 9-8 last end but was edged out by Hopkins’s triple 10-8, as Essex held on to the bonus points.
Tomlinson, Orpin, Reed (Senior) and Faultey came from behind to snatch a draw from 8-5 down as Faultey drew his last bowl to take the valuable draw, with Essex trailing at 19-17 overall.
The final four, Arthur, Lambert, Paxman and Killington were 8-6 in front on the last end and were in danger of the defeat but held on for the draw and took the bonus points to draw 20-20 overall.
Essex secured qualification to the knockouts and top the group for momentarily, as Norfolk have a game in hand and play Northampton in the final group game next week with only 13 points required to reclaim top spot.
Adam Sultana 6/10
Dom Reed 6/10
Mo Binstead 7/10
Barry Hedges 6 ½ /10
Babs Morokutti 6/10
Matt Dillon 6/10
Del Coates 8/10
Mitchell Young 8/10
Jack Shepard 7/10
Linda Lambert 7/10
Tony Ealham 7 ½ /10
Tony Orpin 7/10
Debbie Tomkinson 7 ½ /10
Nigel Reed 7 ½ /10
Keith Paxman 8 ½ /10
Ian Arthur 7/10
Sammy Lambert 7/10
Fred Gudgeon 7/10
Anthony Fautley 8/10
Steve Killington 7 ½ /10