Essex edge into ICC final

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Essex Premier booked their place in the Inter County final for the first time since 2012, after they defeated Devon Premier 22-18.

Essex will now face Norfolk in the ICC final, in the East of England derby. After they sent former ICC champions Cheshire packing 24-16 for what will be the first southern final in recent years.

Essex manager Adam Sultana was edged out 15-11 to the in form Michael Ivings. Barry Hedges out muscled a tight encounter with James Smith to win 16-12. 

In the pairs, Chris Coates and Del Coates showed their consistency as they held off Simon Pridham and Graham James to win 12-11. Whereas Mitchell Young and Matt Dillon were moments from victory until James Trott and Richard Ivings picked up a four on the final end to win 13-12, to level the session 4-4.

In the second session, Essex turned the screw as Phil Banner, Paul Bax and Matt Stifford won 12-7. The other trio, of Mo Binsford, Alan Kay and Tony Ealham were heading for the win but dropped a four on the final end to draw level 15-15. 

In the fours, Debbie Dillon, Rachael Cordy, Steve Killington and Craig Burgess held off the Devonshire quartet headed by Tony Main and Paul Pomeroy, as they won 13-9. Babs Morokutti, Linda Lambert, Keith Paxman and Anthony Fautley were held level but pulled away to win comfortably 17-8. With Essex gaining an 11-5 lead going into the break.

In the third session, Sultana overturned a 10-2 deficit to beat Smith 14-13 on the final end. Hedges could not repeat his first match, as Ivings won 17-13 for Hedges’ first defeat of the season, as Devon snatched the bonus points.

In the pairs, Coates senior and junior despatched Trott and Ivings 14-6. Dillon and Young struggled throughout, as they lost 14-7 but held on for the bonus points on the last end. To lead going into the final session 17-11.

Essex only needed fours points in the final session, but Devon made them fight to the very end. In the triples, Banner, Bax and Stifford were slow starters and fell to a 14-7 defeat. Binstead, Kay and Ealham came from behind late on to win 14-12 and split the bonus points as well, leaving Essex only needing a point.

In the final discipline, Dillion, Cordy, Killington and Burgess lost 17-12 but kept the shot difference down to remain in control. Morokutti, Lambert, Paxman and Fautley were defeated on the final end by Pomroy’s rink 11-10. Although Essex held on for the bonus points in the fours to carry them over the line 22-18 and into the ICC final in a fortnights time.

Players Ratings

Barry Hedges 7.1/10

Adam Sultana 7/10

Matt Dillon 5/10

Mitchell Young 4/10

Chris Coates 8.5/10

Del Coates 8.5/10 ***

Mo Binstead 7.5/10

Alan Kay 7.5/10

Tony Ealham 7.5/10

Phil Banner 6.5/10

Paul Bax 6/10

Matt Stifford 6.5/10

Debbie Dillon 7/10

Rachael Cordy 6/10

Steve Killington 6.5/10

Craig Burgess 7/10

Babs Morokutti 7/10

Linda Lambert 7/10

Keith Paxman 7/10

Anthony Fautley 7.5/10

Star Player ***

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