Essex premier gained their first home victory after a slender 22-18 win over a resilient Kent side at Deanes School.
A brilliant second session from Essex was ultimately the difference between the sides as they swept the session and a took a commanding lead.
But a late surge from Tim Rycraft’s side in the second half put Essex on the back foot but managed to creep over the line with the bonus points.
Essex were again without key players as, Antony Fautley, Dave Wooler, Mo Binstead, Linda Lambert, Alan Kay and Dom Reed all unavailable.
In the first session, Kent took command of the singles as Rycraft beat Barry Hedges 16-10 and Matt Dillon lost heavily 23-9.
Essex had better fortune in the pairs, as Babs Morokutti and Chris Coates came from behind to snatch victory 16-14 over Nicky Bartlett’s duo. In the other pairing Del Coates and Paul Bax just got over the line to win 13-12 against the Kent pair – to split the session 4-4.
In the second session Essex took control of the tie, as Phil Banner, Nigel Reed and Alan Jones won comfortably 15-10.
The game of the session came in the other triple, as Greg Wade, Mark Chittock and John Pye came from 12-6 down to win late in the day 16-14 against Gary Allard’s trio.
In the fours, Essex has two debutants in the side Josh Woods and Jake Atrill alongside two veterans Ian Arthur and Mitchell Young who came through 12-5.
The other quartet, had yet another close match but Kay Debenham, Emily Poulter, Steve Killington and Keef Paxman edged out the Kent four to win 8-5. To take the clean sweep in the session, to lead overall 12-4.
After the break Kent came out and made it difficult for Essex, as they again cleaned up in the singles with Hedges and Dillon both being narrowly edged out 17-15 and 14-11. To bring the scores back to 12-8 as they picked up the bonus points.
But Essex found some points when needed, as Morokutti and Coates won with ease 20-10 and secured the bonus points. Despite Bax and Coates who lost 15-7, to leave Essex with a small advantage 16-12 going into the last session.
Essex’s reliable triples put the hosts close to victory, as Wade, Chittock and Pye won 15-13 against the Kent trio. The other triplet Banner, Reed and Jones lost on the final bowl as it agonisingly fell of the side of the mat after a pause for Allard’s triple to take an 8-7 win. Essex held on to the bonus points and got to the holy 20 points at that stage.
In the fours, Kent reversed the first round of fours, as Debenham, Poulter, Killington and Paxman lost out 10-8. The other quartet also came off worse, as Arthur, Woods, Atrill and Young lost 14-7 but despite defeat held on to the rink’s shots by one to take the 22-18 victory.
Essex lost overall on shots 198 to 189 but now take their opening win onto their travels, as they go to Kent 16 points behind them in third, for the reverse fixture in two weeks’ time where they look to repeat their victory.