England Short Mat Bowls

Essex Premier knockout out by West Sussex

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Essex Premier were knocked out of the Inter County Championship quarter-finals by West Sussex 25-15, at Daventry Indoor Bowls Club.

West Sussex despatched the Essex side in three sessions, to reach only their third semi-final in their recent history. 

Essex manger David Chittock stuck with the majority of the side that overcome Herefordshire, which left some regular Essex players out of the side.

Essex got off to a miserable start, as Alan Jones lost 24-3 to Jack Rollings. 

In the pairs, Shirley Walker and Greg Wade were beaten by the West Sussex duo 21-6. With Babs Morokutti and Keith Paxman also going down 16-12 to the West Sussex pair.

Antony Fautley was the only saving grace for Essex in the opening session, as he edged out Chris Page 13-12 which gave West Sussex a 6-2 lead.

In the second session, West Sussex continued to dominate as they beat Ian Arthur, Linda Lambert and Mark Chittock 18-4. Mo Binstead, Alan Kay and Tony Ealham responded as they won 14-8.

In the fours Essex again struggled, as Shirley Banner, Sheila Booker, Roger Booker and Phil Banner were heavily beaten 14-4. In the other four, Pat High, Emily Poulter, Steve Killington and Mitchell Young were held to a 11-11 draw. 

West Sussex then gained a healthy 11-5 lead into the break.

Essex made changes at the break, as reserve Paul Bax was substituted into the singles in place of Alan Jones. Ian Arthur also moved into the pairs with Shirely Walker. Shirley Banner sat out, as Linda Lambert slotted into the four and Jones into Mark Chittocks triple.

West Sussex secured the victory after the break, as Rollings edged past Fautley 13-12. Substitute Bax ran Page close but was also beaten 14-10 and claimed the bonus points.

In the pairs Morokutti and Paxman also were defeated 18-5. The newly formed pair Walker and Arthur was the only win of the third session for Essex, with a healthy 16-6 victory but lost the pairs bonus points. To claim the overall match 21-7.

Despite the defeat Essex played on and made the scoreline slightly more respectable, as Binstead, Kay and Ealham won both their matches of the day with a 13-8 win.

The other newly formed triple Wade, Chittock and Jones also won comfortably 16-5, which overturned the bonus points in the triples.

In the fours High, Poulter, Killington and Young came from behind to nick the win on the last 13-12. 

The final four to finish Booker, Lambert, Booker and Banner lost out on the final end as they lost 14-12 for West Sussex to take the bonus points in the fours.

West Sussex will now face Cornwall in the semi-finals in two weeks time. With the other semi-final being West Midlands vs ICC reigning champions Norfolk.

Essex Premier claim opening away victory

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Essex Premier claimed a surprise 21-19 away victory in their opening Inter County group match at Daventry Indoor Bowls Club. 

Essex were without several key players ahead of their first ICC match with Debbie Dillon, Linda Lambert, Ian Arthur, Mitchell Young and current national triples champions Matt Dillon, Barry Hedges and Adam Sultana were all absent.

Many of last years ‘A’ team were given their opportunity in the Premier side for the tie and seized it.

Steve Killington was first up in the singles but he bumped into Northampton’s Lee Hall who won 22-5.

Last year’s ‘A’ team singles player Pauline Childs slotted into the other singles role and fought well against England International Callum Beale. With the game going to the wire at 12-12 last end but Beale snatched the victory at the end 13-12.

In the pairs, Greg Wade and Shirley Walker lost 13-6 against the Northampton pairing of C Drage and Thelma Hopkins.

Mark Chittock and Peter Fautley were Essex’s saving grace in the opening session, as they faced G Dormer and Chris Hopkins. Neither duo could be separated after 15 ends with a 14-14 draw. 

Which gave Essex their only point of the session and trailed 7-1.

In the second session, Essex hit straight back as they often do with new trio Andy Philbrick, Paul Bax and John Pye – who won 15-7.

The other triple, was unchanged from last year as Mo Binstead, Alan Kay and team captain Tony Ealham replicated their teammates as they won 17-9 – to take maximum points for the triples.

In the fours, Babs Morokutti, Phil Banner, Keith Paxman and Antony Fautley won convincingly over Ed Sawbridge’s quartet 20-7.

In the final game of the first half, new fresh Premier blood was involved in the fours, as Eileen Smith-Allen, Pat Goodchild, John Wade and Rob Wade were beaten 11-7.

At the break Essex had pulled back after their bad start to trail 9-7.

In the second half, Childs then faced Hall which she came off second best despite her best efforts as she lost 15-9.

Killington also had a tough time against Beale who won 17-8 and Northampton comfortably claimed the bonus points in the singles.

In the pairs, Fautley (Senior) and Chittock (Chittock) won 17-8 to put Essex in a two shot lead on the bonus points in the pairs.

The other duo, Wade (Junior) and Walker went to the wire as they were narrowly beaten by Hopkins (Mr) 14-13 but took the pairs bonus points by one shot. 

Northampton extended their overall lead to 17-11 after their 8-4 session win – needing just four points to take the match.

But Essex had other ideas, as Binstead, Kay and Ealham made it two wins from two as they held on to win 12-11 to get the visitors off and running for the comeback.

The other triple were unfortunate not to also take a victory as Philbrick, Bax and Pye were just beaten 14-11. Although Essex took the two extra bonus points in the triples.

Smith-Allen, Goodchild, Wade and Wade managed to grind out their win 8-5 against Sawbridge’s rink, to bring the score back to 19-17 with one match remaining.

Morokutti, Banner, Paxman and Fautley brought it home for Essex with another huge victory 19-4 to level the scores and secure the bonus points to take an overall 21-19 away win.

In the other group fixture Surrey travelled to the current ICC champions Norfolk. Where Surrey were beaten 23-17.

Essex now look to carry their confidence into the next group game, on the 9th October with another away trip this time to top of the table Norfolk.

This leaves county manager Dave ‘The Tinkerman’ Chittock with a headache over selection as some absentees return for the tough outfit of Norfolk.

Essex edge into ICC final

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Essex Premier booked their place in the Inter County final for the first time since 2012, after they defeated Devon Premier 22-18.

Essex will now face Norfolk in the ICC final, in the East of England derby. After they sent former ICC champions Cheshire packing 24-16 for what will be the first southern final in recent years.

Essex manager Adam Sultana was edged out 15-11 to the in form Michael Ivings. Barry Hedges out muscled a tight encounter with James Smith to win 16-12. 

In the pairs, Chris Coates and Del Coates showed their consistency as they held off Simon Pridham and Graham James to win 12-11. Whereas Mitchell Young and Matt Dillon were moments from victory until James Trott and Richard Ivings picked up a four on the final end to win 13-12, to level the session 4-4.

In the second session, Essex turned the screw as Phil Banner, Paul Bax and Matt Stifford won 12-7. The other trio, of Mo Binsford, Alan Kay and Tony Ealham were heading for the win but dropped a four on the final end to draw level 15-15. 

In the fours, Debbie Dillon, Rachael Cordy, Steve Killington and Craig Burgess held off the Devonshire quartet headed by Tony Main and Paul Pomeroy, as they won 13-9. Babs Morokutti, Linda Lambert, Keith Paxman and Anthony Fautley were held level but pulled away to win comfortably 17-8. With Essex gaining an 11-5 lead going into the break.

In the third session, Sultana overturned a 10-2 deficit to beat Smith 14-13 on the final end. Hedges could not repeat his first match, as Ivings won 17-13 for Hedges’ first defeat of the season, as Devon snatched the bonus points.

In the pairs, Coates senior and junior despatched Trott and Ivings 14-6. Dillon and Young struggled throughout, as they lost 14-7 but held on for the bonus points on the last end. To lead going into the final session 17-11.

Essex only needed fours points in the final session, but Devon made them fight to the very end. In the triples, Banner, Bax and Stifford were slow starters and fell to a 14-7 defeat. Binstead, Kay and Ealham came from behind late on to win 14-12 and split the bonus points as well, leaving Essex only needing a point.

In the final discipline, Dillion, Cordy, Killington and Burgess lost 17-12 but kept the shot difference down to remain in control. Morokutti, Lambert, Paxman and Fautley were defeated on the final end by Pomroy’s rink 11-10. Although Essex held on for the bonus points in the fours to carry them over the line 22-18 and into the ICC final in a fortnights time.

Players Ratings

Barry Hedges 7.1/10

Adam Sultana 7/10

Matt Dillon 5/10

Mitchell Young 4/10

Chris Coates 8.5/10

Del Coates 8.5/10 ***

Mo Binstead 7.5/10

Alan Kay 7.5/10

Tony Ealham 7.5/10

Phil Banner 6.5/10

Paul Bax 6/10

Matt Stifford 6.5/10

Debbie Dillon 7/10

Rachael Cordy 6/10

Steve Killington 6.5/10

Craig Burgess 7/10

Babs Morokutti 7/10

Linda Lambert 7/10

Keith Paxman 7/10

Anthony Fautley 7.5/10

Star Player ***