Essex pushed aside by Devon to take rinks glory

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Essex Premier were edged out to come runners up in the first Inter County Rinks Competition, as Devon took glory by four shots. 

The Essex squad were pipped at the post by a strong Devon outfit, after Essex progressed from their group unscaved, as Devon progressed on shot difference.

Essex’ first game was up against West Sussex, the ICC finalists had a slow start and found themselves seven shots behind at the half way stage.

As the game drew to a close, Essex pumped the pressure on West Sussex as Barry Hedges’ rink Matt Dillon, Rachael Cordy and Matt Stifford came through 14-6.

Babs Morokutti, Chris Coates, Steve Killington and Craig Burgess also won 12-5 to overturn the deficit. 

The other two fours kept the scores tight despite their loses as Mo Binstead, Phil Banner, Dave Wooller and Alan Jones fell down 12-7. Del Coates, Tony Ealham, Mitchell Young and Adam Sultana kept their score close, as they lost 12-8 to win the overall shots by six shots (41-35).

In their second game against Dorset again Essex fell behind early on, with Dorset taking an early six shot lead.

Although Essex turned up the pressure once again and kicked on, as Burgess’ quartet won 15-8. Along with Hedges’ rink grabbing a three shot win 12-9. 

Jones’ team and team manager Sultana’s side came from behind to draw 9-9 and a narrow 8-7 loss. To claim a ten shot victory (43-33).

In their final group game, Essex had to still win their matchup against Somerset due to their significant shot difference. However, this did not phase a confident Essex as they produced their best team performance of the day. 

With just one rink losing, as Sultana’s quartet kept the shots tight as they lost 12-9 against Keith Hawkins’ rink.

Hedges’, Burgess’ and Jones’ rinks won comfortably 14-6, 17-7 and 14-11. To claim the victory by 21 shots (56-35) and book their place in the final of the new event.

Essex then had to face Devon, in a repeat tie of the ICC semi-finals. Devon flew out of the blocks and put Essex under extreme pressure. Despite a late surge from Essex, they managed to remain within touching distance but this time could not find a way back.

Sultana’s rink was the only rink to win for the Essex side 17-7. Hedges went down 14-6 against Devon manager Richard Ivings leading the line with younger brother Mike Ivings and Simon Pridham. 

Binstead, Banner, Wooller and Jones went down 14-11 to backend duo Paul Pomroy and James Trott. Devon continued their momentum, as backend pairing Elliot James and Tony Main claimed the tournament win, with a 12-9 victory over Morokutti, Coates (Junior), Killington and Burgess. To take the first title of the ICC rinks by four shots (43-47).

Essex will have to pick themselves up ahead of the ICC final tomorrow, against Norfolk.

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