Essex Premier fail to qualify in the Inter County Rinks qualification at Tamworth Indoor bowls club.
Essex was denied sneaking through from Surrey’s Derek John’s final bowl to squash qualification for the finals.
Herefordshire and Surrey kicked off the first group game, in which Hereford blew Surrey away with a 16 shot victory.
Essex under new management in Dave Chittock, then faced buoyant Hereford who flew out the blocks which left Essex stunned.
Barry Hedges rink, including Matt Dillon, Pat Goodchild and Steve Killington had a torrid time as they were beaten 24-8 by the Hereford quartet.
Eileen Smith-Allen, Alan Kay, Mitchell Young and Craig Burgess clawed back the shot deficit to within four after a 18-6 win.
In the other rinks, Debbie Dillon, Pauline Childs, Mark Chittock and Tony Ealham pulled back from behind to gain a narrow victory on the last end 9-8.
In the final four to finish, Babs Morokutti, Linda Lambert, Phil Banner and Peter Fautley dropped the two shot overall lead on their final end to draw the opening tie.
After the break, Essex found themselves behind again this time against Surrey. Chittock’s side found themselves 19 shots behind with five ends to play overall on all rinks, but came back fighting.
With Dillon, Childs, Chittock and Ealham as they closed their defeat to only one shot with a big final end as they lost 11-12, to the Surrey rink.
Hedges’ quartet (Dillon, Goodchild and Killington) struggled again, as they lost their second match of the day 13-10.
Smith-Allen, Kay, Young and Burgess won their final match 10-7 to claim Essex’s top rink.
Fautley’s rink (Morokutti, Lambert and Banner) made a superb comeback from 13-2 down early on to pull it back to 13-13 on the final end.
The Essex rink were holding the two shots needed to take the overall victory, until John’s final bowl drew the shot to take the deserved win and qualify in second place for the second successive season.
Which sent last years finalists to crash out at the first stage and sent group winners Hereforshire through with Surrey.
Matt Dillon 6/10
Pat Goodchild 6/10
Steve Killington 6/10
Barry Hedges 5/10
Eileen Smith-Allen 7/10
Alan Kay 7/10
Mitchell Young 6/10
Craig Burgess 7/10
Debbie Dillon 6/10
Pauline Childs 7/10
Mark Chittock 5/10
Tony Ealham 6/10
Babs Morokutti 6/10
Linda Lambert 6/10
Phil Banner 6/10
Peter Fautley 7/10