Essex Premier opened their first home game in the Inter County Championship with a 20-20 draw against Northampton, at StonyHills Indoor Bowls Club.
The home side came from six points behind to get the draw. But Essex remain currently bottom of the group but with have a game in hand.
In the opening session, Northampton got off to a flyer and caught Essex unaware as Alan Jones returned to singles duty but bumped in Lee Hall who won 25-7.
Mark Chittock was also well beaten in his first Premier singles game, as he lost to Callum Beale 22-11.
In the pairs, Shirley Walker and Greg Wade’s match went to the wire against Chris Hopkins and his partner, but were just edged out 15-14.
Chris Coates and Peter Fautley were Essex’s saving grace in the first session, as Coates’ last bowl came in to win it and take the game 15-13.
To get Essex’s only points of the session, as Northampton lead 6-2.
Essex had a better second session, as Ian Arthur, Linda Lambert and Dave Wooller won comfortably 15-9.
Although Mo Binstead, Alan Kay and Tony Ealham were narrowly beaten on the final end to lose 15-11.
Babs Morokutti, Steve Killington, Phil Banner and Keith Paxman sped to an early 13-0 lead. However, they were pegged back by Chris Western’s quartet but held on for the victory 14-10.
In the other fours, Shirley Banner, Brenda Crowe, John Pye and Mitchell Young came back from behind but could not find enough as they lost 12-8 against Edward Sawbridge’s four.
At the break, Essex trailed 10-6 in a game they much needed to win.
In the second half, the singles again struggled as Jones lost 14-7 to Beale.
Chittock gave it his best shot against Hall but just came up short on the final end as he lost 13-12 – as Northampton took the bonus points in the singles.
The pairs was better news for Essex, as Walker and Wade strode to a 16-7 victory against the Northampton duo.
Coates and Fautley looked to be in control, 11-8 up on the final end against Hopkins but dropped a three to draw 11-11. But held on to the bonus points in the pairs with Northampton now having a 17-11 lead.
Essex came back strong and Arthur, Lambert and Wooller ground out a 13-9 victory, to get Essex back on the comeback path.
Binstead, Kay and Ealham won 13-5 to secure the bonus points and level up the match 17-17.
Banner (Mrs), Crowe, Pye and Young made sure to win their second match and did 13-8 to give Essex the narrow overall lead 19-17.
Morokutti, Killington, Banner (Mr) and Paxman battled back from falling behind against Sawbridge’s quartet to nick the crucial last end. Despite defeat of 15-10 both sides split the bonus points in the fours to draw the overall match.
Essex’s next match is a tricky away game to Surrey where Essex need the victory to keep their qualification hopes on track.
Northampton Played 4 points 84
Norfolk Played 3 points 70
Surrey Played 4 points 70
Essex Played 3 points 56
Mark Chittock: 5/10
Alan Jones: 5/10
Shirley Walker: 7/10
Greg Wade: 7/10
Chris Coates: 7/10
Peter Fautley: 7.5/10
Ian Arthur: 8/10
Linda Lambert: 8/10
Dave Wooller: 8/10
Mo Binstead: 7.5/10
Alan Kay: 7/10
Tony Ealham: 7/10
Babs Morokutti: 7/10
Steve Killington: 7/10
Phil Banner: 7/10
Keith Paxman: 7/10
Shirley Banner: 6/10
Brenda Crowe: 6.5/10
John Pye: 7/10
Mitchell Young: 6/10