Cornwall Short Mat Bowls
Essex Premier were edged out of the Inter County quarter-final in a three end tie-break against Cornwall at Daventry Indoor Bowls Club.
Essex came from 16-12 down in the final session to level the scoreline at 20-20. After the bonus points were taken off the scores remained the same, so headed to the tiebreak which Cornwall took all three points to progress.
Cornwall got off to a flyer in the first session, as British Open champion Nigel Nicholls just held off Dom Reed to take a 12-11 victory. Jake Atrill had better fortunes for Essex with him coming through 16-14 against Peter Hore.
In the pairs Cornwall took control, as Chris Coates and Del Coates were beaten well 21-6. Babs Morokutti and Alan Jones also had a tough time as they lost 14-8. Which gave the South West side a comfortable 6-2 lead.
Essex knocked on the door for a way back in but Cornwall held strong. Greg Wade, John Pye and Mark Chittock were denied at the death 11-10. The other triple had a similar outcome as Mo Binstead, Nigel Reed and Paul Bax lost 15-8.
In the fours, Essex regained their composure as Ian Arthur, Steve Killington, Keith Paxman and Anthony Fautley won 10-6. The other four Emily Poulter, Phil Banner, Linda Lambert and Barry Hedges won 10-6 to go in at the break 14-6 behind.
In the second half Essex pressured Cornwall but were still denied as Atrill was defeated narrowly 11-9 by Nicholls. Reed was able to surpass Hore with a 14-10 victory which in turn secured the singles bonus points by one shot – which was maybe a sign that fortunes were turning for Essex.
In the pairs Morokutti and Jones suffered their second defeat 14-11. Coates and Coates managed to come from behind to win at the death 13-12. Cornwall took the bonus points for a 16-12 overall lead to leave the match poised going into the final session.
Essex threw everything they had at Cornwall with the situation they were in. The fours gave Essex a shot at the comeback as Arthur Killington, Paxman and Fautley won 10-9. Poulter, Lambert, Banner and Hedges followed suit with a 15-8 victory to claim the bonus points in the fours.
Cornwall were not going to lie down and regained some composure in the triples as Wade, Pye and Chittock went down 13-7 to leave the tie 18-18 with a game to play.
In the final triple to finish the situation left Essex needing a win to force the playoff, as bonus points were safe for Cornwall. Binstead, Reed and Bax battled away and despite being two behind on the last end, found three shots to win 15-14 and force the tiebreak.
Essex sent out Reed, Atrill and Fautley for the one end playoff. Where Cornwall named in-form Nicholls, Hore and David Studdon.
Nicholls stepped up to face Reed once again and despatched the jack in the ditch to give Cornwall a dream start.
Atrill was next up and was out played on the final end by Studdon which gave Cornwall the victory. Fautley also lost out to Hore in his tiebreak for a 3-0 victory, as Cornwall progressed in an epic quarter-final.
That calls an end to the premier’s season, as Cornwall now go into the semi-final in two weeks which we wish them all the best in the next round.
Essex will regroup and support the A team in their semi-final clash in two weeks against Devon A.
The finals of the new Premier Inter County (ICC) Rinks competition will take place on Saturday 5th March at Daventry Indoor Bowls Centre.
With the groups now drawn for the final, this years ICC finalists Essex have been placed in group two joined by West Sussex, Dorset and Somerset.
Somerset Premier will be looking to do the double in this new tournament by the English Short Mat Bowls Association, as their “A” team won the rinks event back in January.
Essex will go into the finals full of confidence, after they breezed through their qualifiers and secured a spot in the ICC final where they will battle it out with Norfolk on Sunday 6th March.
Somerset will go in favourites prior to start of play, with the highest qualification score but face a tough test in their group with a strong Essex side.
In group one, is Devon who will meet Surrey, Kent and Cornwall. All potential dark horses in the competition and will battle it out to get through into the knockout stages.
Kent and Devon were runaway winners in both their qualifiers and will want to carry on where they left off, despite facing each other in an interesting matchup ahead of the day.
Vote for who you think will take the rinks title.