Essex 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 fail test against ICC champions

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Essex Premier lost their first Inter County group match of the season with a 25-15 away defeat to Norfolk Premier.

Essex were without key players once again, as Peter Fautley and Alan Kay were out with illness and Matt Dillon, Debbie Dillon and Chris Coates all unavailable.

The current ICC champions now go back to the top of the table after the comfortable victory, as Essex settle in third.

In the first session the singles was tight early on but Gary Best pulled away against Mitchell Young to win comfortably 16-9.

Barry Hedges was heading for the victory going into the final end, until Chris Mann picked up a three to snatch the win 13-12.

In the pairs, Mark Chittock and Heather Clement were beaten by the young duo of Morgan Warnes and Jack Pye 19-8 – to take the first three matches for Norfolk.

Shirley Walker and Greg Wade rescued Essex from the whitewash, as they secured their victory on the final end to win 13-10 against Simon Warnes and John Sparham, as Norfolk took an early 6-2 lead.

The second session, was much of the same for Essex as Mo Binstead, Pauline Childs and Tony Ealham lost 18-8 against Melvin Wood’s trio.

Andrea Philbrick, Paul Bax and John Pye almost got a result from their match on the final end, but could only manage to get three as they lost 10-9 to Keith Cooke’s reliable triple.

In the fours, Babs Morokutti, Steve Killington, Keith Paxman and Anthony Fautley struggled despite their fightback as they lost 13-6 against David Lamb’s quartet. 

Ian Arthur, Linda Lambert, Pat Goodchild and Phil Banner were Essex’s saving grace, as they won with ease 15-1 to give Essex a glimmer of hope for the second half.

Norfolk took a healthy 12-4 lead going into the break.

In the second half, Essex battled back as Hedges edged past Best on the last end to take a narrow 12-11 victory. 

Young and Mann were tight throughout but Mann clawed back the two shot deficit on the final end to draw 13-13 as Norfolk claimed the bonus points.

In the pairs, Wade and Walker were kept at arms length by Warnes (Junior) and Pye to win 18-13. 

Whereas Clement and Chittock came back from 12-7 down to win 16-13 and take the session win but lost the bonus points in the pairs. 

Norfolk went into the last session with a 19-9 advantage and needed just one point to secure the overall victory.

Essex put in a better second half display, as Morokutti, Killington, Paxman and Fautley won comfortably 15-5 against substitute skip Selwyn Goldsmith and his four.

Arthur, Lambert, Goodchild and Banner almost pulled back at the death from 11-6 down but lost 11-10 to Lamb’s rink and claimed the bonus points in the fours for Essex.

In the triples, Binstead, Childs and Ealham fought hard for their narrow 12-11 victory over Cooke’s trio.

Although Philbrick, Bax and Pye fell to a heavy defeat 16-6 to Wood’s triple and dropped the bonus points in the triples to finish 25-15 to Norfolk.

This send Norfolk back to the top of the table, as Essex clamber into third two points behind Northampton.

Essex’s next test is the outfit of Northampton on 23rd October, for Essex’s first home match of the season.

Players Ratings:

Barry Hedges 7/10

Mitchell Young 6/10

Mark Chittock 7/10

Heather Clement 6/10

Greg Wade 7/10

Shirley Walker 7/10

Mo Binstead 8/10

Pauline Childs 7/10

Tony Ealham 6.5/10

Andrea Philbrick 7/10

Paul Bax 7/10

John Pye 6.5/10

Babs Morokutti 7/10

Steve Killington 7/10

Keith Paxman 7/10

Anthony Fautley 7/10

Ian Arthur 7/10

Linda Lambert 7/10

Pat Goodchild 8/10

Phil Banner 7/10

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.

Norfolk blow Essex away to take ICC title 

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Norfolk Premier won their first Inter County Competition title since 1999, after they swept aside Essex Premier 22-6 at Daventry Indoor Bowling Club. 

Norfolk put on a terrific team performance to despatch Essex in the East Anglian derby, as Essex ended the weekend with their second runners up trophy.

It was Essex’ fifth attempt at the prestigious trophy but once again came up short and were convincingly beaten.

The game was conceded by the Essex side after the third session, as the game was beyond them.

Essex flew out the blocks in the opening session, team manager Adam Sultana asserted himself as he won 22-8 against Chris Mann. Norfolk battled back, as Neil Davidson was too strong for Hedges’ as he won 16-10.

In the pairs Jack Pye and Dave Lamb kept Mitchell Young and Matt Dillon at arms length to win 14-9. Father and son duo, Chris Coates and Del Coates held on to take the victory 14-12 over Simon Warnes and John Sparham, to level the session 4-4. 

In the second session Norfolk started to pile on the pressure, as Debbie Dillon, Racheal Cordy, Steve Killington and Craig Burgess were edged out on the final end despite a comeback to lose 10-8 against Norfolk manager Selwyn Goldsmith. In the other fours skipped by Anthony Fautley along with Babs Morokutti, Linda Lambert and Keith Paxman could not find a way back from their slow start, as they lost 10-9. 

The triples did not have better fortune either, as Mo Binstead, Alan Kay and Tony Ealham were held off by Keith Cooke’s trio to win 11-8. The only glimmer of joy for Essex in the session was Phil Banner, Dave Stifford and Matt Stifford who beat Melvin Woods’ contingent 15-11. Which gave Norfolk a 10-6 lead going in the break.

Norfolk kicked on in the singles and pairs, as Hedges was beaten 19-8 by Mann. Davidson again showed his superb form with a 13-11 victory over Sultana and to claw the singles bonus points from the eight shot deficit. 

Coates’ pairing came from a slow start to get back in with a fighting chance against Pye and Lamb but Norfolk were just too strong as they lost 17-11. The match was unfortunately put out of reach for Essex, as their fate was sealed after Dillon and Young lost 13-9 to Warnes and Sparham. For Norfolk’s first ever ICC title. 

Sultana then revealed to the Essex players that he will step down as county manager, due to personal circumstances. 

I as an Essex player would like to thank Sultana for his hard work this season, on and off the mat and wish him all the best for the future.

Who is going to win the Premier ICC Rinks Competition?

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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.

Essex stroll into semis

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Essex Premier progress to the semi-finals of the Inter County Competition with a convincing 32-8 victory over Kent Premier at Daventry Indoor Bowls Club.

Essex made short work of their close rivals with the result confirmed after the third session.

England Internationals Adam Sultana and Barry Hedges lead the team into an early advantage, as Sultana beat Tim Rycraft 17-8 and Hedges won 18-4.

The pairs on the other hand had two tight encounter, as Chris Coates and Del Coates secured their victory on the last end to win 12-10. In the final match of the session, Matt Dillon and Mitchell Young had to battle it out on the final end and came out on top, as they won 10-9 against the Kent pairing skipped by England International Nicky Bartlett. To complete a clean sweep of victories and lead 8-0. 

In the second session Mo Binstead, Alan Kay and Tony Ealham surged to a 10-0 lead but only held on for a narrow 11-10 victory. The other Essex triple Paul Bax, Phil Banner and Matt Stifford found themselves behind early on and the Kent triple won comfortably 17-5. 

Anthony Fautley’s quartet with Babs Morokutti, Linda Lambert and Keef Paxman was tight throughout but thanks to a big count on the final end held on and won 14-8. The other four Debbie Dillion, Racheal Cordy, Steve Killington and Craig Burgess edged out the Kent four, as they had a 12-8 victory. To go into the break with a 14-2 lead.

In the second half Essex maintained their momentum, as Dillon and Young shook off the fightback from the Kent Pairing to win 14-11. Coates senior and junior kept their match tight despite defeat, as they lost 13-10 to claim the pairs bonus points. 

Hedges made it two wins from two, as he won 17-7 against Rycraft. Sultana put in another convincing win, as he won 28-2 to claim the maximum bonus points available and book Essex’s place into the semi-finals – with the scoreline at 24-4.

In the final session Kent were playing for pride and got some on the find end as Binstead, Kay and Ealham were beaten 9-8 by the final bowl from the Kent triple. In the other Essex triple Bax, Banner and Stifford came from 9-0 down early on, to overturn the deficit and win 20-11 but was not enough to win the bonus points in the triples. 

In the fours Dillon, Cordy, Killington and Burgess eased to a 13-3 victory. Morokutti, Lambert, Paxman and Fautley completed the rout after coming from behind early on to win 15-7.

Essex will now return next weekend to Daventry to face Devon in the semi-finals, after their playoff victory against West Midlands.

Player Ratings:

Adam Sultana 8.5/10

Barry Hedges 8.5/10

Mitchell Young 7.5/10

Matt Dillon 7.5/10

Chris Coates 7/10

Del Coates 7/10

Mo Binstead 7/10

Alan Kay 7/10

Tony Ealham 7/10

Paul Bax 6.5/10

Phil Banner 4/10

Matt Stifford 7/10

Debbie Dillon 8.5/10***

Rachael Cordy 7/10

Steve Killington 7/10

Craig Burgess 8/10

Babs Morokutti 7.5/10

Linda Lambert 7.5/10

Keef Paxman 7.5/10

Anthony Fautley 7.5/10

***Star Player***

Essex Premier progress unbeaten

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Essex Premier extended their pole position finish in their final Inter County group match with a healthy 25-15 away victory over Oxfordshire, at the Regal Centre.

Essex were without numerous players including manager Adam Sultana, Barry Hedges, Matt Stifford and Mo Binstead but still stuck to the job at hand – to progress to the knockout stages.

Mitchell Young and Matt Dillon stepped up into the singles with Young getting Essex off the mark after a 14-6 win over Gareth Davies. Dillon found himself behind early on and struggled to get back into the game despite his best efforts lost 15-13.

Chris Coates and Peter Fautley continued their superb partnership with a 14-9 victory over the Oxford pairing skipped by AJ Brown. Babs Morokutti and Keith Paxman tried their best to find a way through Geoff Brown and Dave Wiggins but could not find enough, as they lost 15-10 – to split the session 4-4.

In the second session, the Essex triples had a tough time as Shirley Banner, Alan Kay and Tony Ealham fell to a 13-6 defeat. Also Tony Orpin, Paul Read and Phil Banner went behind and to lose by the same scoreline.

The fours had more fortune, as Del Coates, Rachael Cordy, Steve Killington and Craig Burgess held off the Oxford quartet to win 8-5. Debbie Dillion, Linda Lambert, Paul Bax and Anthony Fautley pulled away towards the end of their game to win comfortably 18-5 – as both sides went into the break level at 8-8.

After the break, Young continued his good start, as he won 20-4. Dillon followed up with a 15-10 win over Davies – to claim the bonus points.

Fautley (Senior) and Coates (Junior) showed their promising partnership, as they won 15-6. Morokutti and Paxman struggled once again against Brown and his counterpart, but Paxman saved the bonus points with his last bowl as they lost 16-7 – to split the points and gave Essex a 17-11 lead.

In the final session, Banner, Kay and Ealham found themselves in more trouble – resorting to damage limitation as they lost 21-6. Orpin, Read and Banner put their first game behind them, as they won 13-6 but unfortunately was not enough to recover the bonus point deficit.

The fours carried on where they left off, as Dillon, Lambert, Bax and Fautley (Junior) held off a late attack from the Oxford four as they won 10-8. Coates (Senior), Cordy, Killington and Burgess also maintained their lead despite a last end gasp, with a 10-8 victory and the bonus points to complete the 25-15 win.

Essex will now await their opponents in the knockout stages, after the festive break in search of their first ICC premier title.

Ratings:

Craig Burgess: 7 1/2 / 10

Matt Dillion: 7/10

Debbie Dillion: 8/10

Mitchell Young: 8/10

Peter Fautley: 8/10

Chris Coates: 8/10

Babs Morokutti: 4/10

Keith Paxman: 4/10

Tony Orpin: 5/10

Paul Read: 5 1/2 /10

Phil Banner: 5 1/2 / 10

Shirley Banner: 3 1/2 /10

Alan Kay: 4/10

Tony Ealham: 4/10

Linda Lambert: 7/10

Paul Bax: 7/10

Anthony Fautley: 7/10

Del Coates: 7/10

Rachael Cordy: 6 1/2 /10

Steve Killington: 7/10