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Essex Premier Team Cruise through Rinks Qualifier

Essex Premier breeze into the finals of the new Inter County Team Knockout Cup after victory in their regional qualifier, at the Regal Centre in Oxfordshire.

Newly elected Essex manager Adam Sultana brought back four former county players into the side with returns for Alan Jones, Dave Wooller, Chris Coates and Craig Burgess.

Surrey and Northampton got proceedings underway as they faced off in the first session, which saw Surrey defeat Northampton by 14 shots over the four rinks, to put them in the driving seat. 

Essex then came up against former ICC group rivals Northampton after their surprising loss to Surrey.

Mo Bintead, Phil Banner, Alan Jones and Dave Wooller held the steady Northampton four at 10-10, on a tricky rink to keep the scores tight.

Sultana’s quartet - Del Coates, Linda Lambert, Mitchell Young had an up and down contest but just edged clear against tough backend opposition in Chris Hopkins and Lee Hall, with a 12-10 victory, to give Essex a two shot overall lead.

The Essex manager also gave a county premier debut to Greg Wade who joined Barry Hedges’ experienced rink with Peter Fautley and Chris Coates but lost narrowly 10-8 to Edward Sawbridges’ four.

The standout four of the session which was the difference between the sides was Babs Morokutti, Steve Killington, Anthony Fautley and Craig Burgess who strode to a 20-7 victory against a youthful Northants team.

Which secured the overall win for Essex by 13 shots, the two points and their place in the finals as Northampton had an early exit from the competition.

Essex then faced Surrey to decide the winner of the qualifier. Essex began slightly flat compared to the previous game but kicked on in the final quarter of the match as Coates (senior), Lambert, Young and Sultana finished first to open up an early nine shot lead with a 14-5 win.

Binstead, Banner, Jones and Wooller also found some fortune which turned into shots as they extended Essex’s advantage with a 13-7 victory.

Hedges’ quartet – Fautley (Senior), Rachel Cordy and Coates (Junior) continued the momentum with an 11-8 win, to almost guarantee the overall victory with an 18 shot lead.

The final rink to finish which took the sting out of their opening performance Morokutti, Killington, Fautley (Junior) and Burgess fell to a 13-7 loss, as Essex finished with an overall 12 shot victory.

Essex topped the qualifier with 4 points +25 shots, Surrey in second with 2 points +2 shots and Northampton in third with 0 points -27 shots.

Surrey will now join Essex in the final which will take place at the end 
of January with the other six counties from their regional qualifiers.

Report By Mitchell Young


Essex A Team stumble at first hurdle

Essex A’s two early defeats put them out of the new Inter County Rinks competition in their regional qualifier at Wey Valley.

Essex did not leave empty handed as they won their final round robin match with Kent.

First up for Essex was West Sussex, who had the upper hand going into the game with the rink conditions.

With a new look A team which consisted of two debuts for Josie Robinson and Jonathan East partnered with Dave Chittock and team Captain Rob Wade. The new quartet got Essex off to a flyer with a 9-0 lead after 4 ends and continued that form, to finish off with a strong 14-8 win.

Essex county manager Adam Sultana gave another debut to Emily Poulter, alongside her club teammate Peter Debenham, with Peter Snelling and Alan Kay. The Essex rink were 10-6 up after 8 ends and looked in control until one end cost them against an experienced West Sussex four left them reeling as they succumbed to a 14-10 defeat.

The comprised rink of experience with Eileen Smith-Allen, Pat Goodchild, Pauline Child and Tony Ealham, started a close game trailing 5-3 to West Sussex after 4 ends. Unfortunately that's as close as it got as West Sussex went on to produce a match winning performance to run out 17-7 winners.

Another experienced Essex rink of Shirley Banner, Peggy May, Roger Dover and Mark Chittock fell behind early on in the game. Despite a spirited fightback never manage to get on the front foot with a close 13-12 win for West Sussex, as they proved victors by an overall nine shots.

Essex then faced Dorset who had been heavily beaten previously by Kent. Essex struggled throughout with the mat pace and Dorset took advantage as Robinson, Chittock, East and Wade went down 8-12.

Essex were unable to keep the contest tight as Poulter, Snelling, Kay and Debenham lost 18-6.

Smith-Allen, Goodchild, Child and Ealham’s fortunes changed from their first game although they lost narrowly 10-7.

Banner, May, Dover and Chittock was to be Essex's only success as they lead throughout and won 10-9, as Essex fell to an 18 shot defeat.

These results coupled with a strong Kent side defeating West Sussex, left Essex out of contention for qualification so with one eye on the first ICC game at home next week, manager Sultana made wholesale changes to the rinks.

Peter Snelling, Shirley Banner, Jonathan East and Rob Wade beat the already qualified Kent side with a 13-10 win.

Essex gave a fourth debut to Brenda Crowe came in for teammate Robinson who had performed well. Peter Debenham partnered backend combo of Pauline Child and Tony Ealham who all put in a shift to win 13-7.

Essex looked to the future as debutant Poulter was given a shot skipping backed up with experience in Roger Dover, Alan Kay and Eileen Smith-Allen. After a slow start they was unable to react to falling behind early and fell victim to the Kent four 10-18.

May and Goodchild were then partnered with father and son combo Dave and Mark Chittock, as they come on strong as they raced into a 10-3 lead after 8 ends and held on to win 12-8 – to beat the strong outfit of Kent by five shots.

West Sussex went on to beat Dorset in the final session to join already qualified Kent into the finals which will be held later in the season.

Report by Adam Sultana

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