Essex stroll into semis

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Essex Premier progress to the semi-finals of the Inter County Competition with a convincing 32-8 victory over Kent Premier at Daventry Indoor Bowls Club.

Essex made short work of their close rivals with the result confirmed after the third session.

England Internationals Adam Sultana and Barry Hedges lead the team into an early advantage, as Sultana beat Tim Rycraft 17-8 and Hedges won 18-4.

The pairs on the other hand had two tight encounter, as Chris Coates and Del Coates secured their victory on the last end to win 12-10. In the final match of the session, Matt Dillon and Mitchell Young had to battle it out on the final end and came out on top, as they won 10-9 against the Kent pairing skipped by England International Nicky Bartlett. To complete a clean sweep of victories and lead 8-0. 

In the second session Mo Binstead, Alan Kay and Tony Ealham surged to a 10-0 lead but only held on for a narrow 11-10 victory. The other Essex triple Paul Bax, Phil Banner and Matt Stifford found themselves behind early on and the Kent triple won comfortably 17-5. 

Anthony Fautley’s quartet with Babs Morokutti, Linda Lambert and Keef Paxman was tight throughout but thanks to a big count on the final end held on and won 14-8. The other four Debbie Dillion, Racheal Cordy, Steve Killington and Craig Burgess edged out the Kent four, as they had a 12-8 victory. To go into the break with a 14-2 lead.

In the second half Essex maintained their momentum, as Dillon and Young shook off the fightback from the Kent Pairing to win 14-11. Coates senior and junior kept their match tight despite defeat, as they lost 13-10 to claim the pairs bonus points. 

Hedges made it two wins from two, as he won 17-7 against Rycraft. Sultana put in another convincing win, as he won 28-2 to claim the maximum bonus points available and book Essex’s place into the semi-finals – with the scoreline at 24-4.

In the final session Kent were playing for pride and got some on the find end as Binstead, Kay and Ealham were beaten 9-8 by the final bowl from the Kent triple. In the other Essex triple Bax, Banner and Stifford came from 9-0 down early on, to overturn the deficit and win 20-11 but was not enough to win the bonus points in the triples. 

In the fours Dillon, Cordy, Killington and Burgess eased to a 13-3 victory. Morokutti, Lambert, Paxman and Fautley completed the rout after coming from behind early on to win 15-7.

Essex will now return next weekend to Daventry to face Devon in the semi-finals, after their playoff victory against West Midlands.

Player Ratings:

Adam Sultana 8.5/10

Barry Hedges 8.5/10

Mitchell Young 7.5/10

Matt Dillon 7.5/10

Chris Coates 7/10

Del Coates 7/10

Mo Binstead 7/10

Alan Kay 7/10

Tony Ealham 7/10

Paul Bax 6.5/10

Phil Banner 4/10

Matt Stifford 7/10

Debbie Dillon 8.5/10***

Rachael Cordy 7/10

Steve Killington 7/10

Craig Burgess 8/10

Babs Morokutti 7.5/10

Linda Lambert 7.5/10

Keef Paxman 7.5/10

Anthony Fautley 7.5/10

***Star Player***

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