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Essex Secure Qualification with Game to Spare

Essex Premier secured qualification into the knockout stages of the Inter County Competition with a game remaining, after a 29-11 away victory to Surrey, at Guildford.

Essex are still to have their strongest lineup available this season but have continued to win comfortably, qualifying with ease in their group and are heading for top spot in the group.

In the opening session, singles regulars Adam Sultana and Barry Hedges kicked off - with a convincing victory for Hedges after he took command early on to finish with a 24-5 win. Sultana had a trickier match and found himself one behind on the last end but a confident finish saw him pick up three, to win 12-10.

The in-form duo, Peter Fautley and Chris Coates carried on their impressive run with a 17-9 victory. Matt Dillon and Craig Burgess were 12-11 down with an end to play but overturned the scoreline with an important two shots, as they won 13-12.

Before the break, the triples and fours had forced changes from the previous match due to players being unavailable. Mo Binstead, Alan Kay and Tony Ealham had a tight game until the tenth end when they won three consecutive ends to put them infront, as they won 10-7. Babs Morokutti, Del Coates and Phil Banner made a slow start, which they were punished for by Surrey as they fell to a 16-9 defeat.

In the fours, Emily Poulter, Linda Lambert, Keef Paxman and Steve Killington fell behind early on and despite their order change could not find a way back as they lost 13-5. Shirley Banner, Rachel Cordy, Tony Orpin and Anthony Fautley took an early 5-0 lead after three ends. Surrey fought back with guidance from England International Derek Johns to aid the Surrey four to their 8-7 victory, as Essex stumbled into the break 10-6.

The first session continued where it left off, as Sultana sealed his win early on with a 22-8 victory. Whereas Hedges was behind until the ninth end, where he then applied the pressure and kicked on as he won 17-11 to claim the bonus points.

The duo Dillon and Burgess, had another tight match but maintained their patience to win 12-10. Fautley (Senior) and Coates (Junior) did not give an inch in their game only conceding two ends from 15, as they won 19-4 to pick up the bonus points.

In the final session of the day, Binstead, Kay and Ealham made it two wins from two, as they won 11-8. Unfortunately Morokutti, Coates (Senior) and Banner came up short, to go down 16-8 and as a result lost out on the bonus points.

Poulter, Lambert, Paxman and Killington put their earlier defeat behind them, as Killington played the decisive bowl to draw the shot and take the victory 10-9. Fautley’s rink with Banner, Cordy and Orpin took early control of the game once again but did not relinquish the lead as they won 13-5, which cancelled out their earlier loss to split the bonus points in the fours - to claim and overall 29-11 win.

Essex can now sit back relax before their final match away to Oxfordshire which will take place on the 13th December.

Report by Adam Sultana & Mitchell Young


Essex Premier Take Huge Step Towards Knockouts

Premier Second Game

Essex Premier claimed a resounding 33-7 victory over Oxfordshire to extend their lead at the top of their ICC group to 37 points, at StonyHills.

Essex were without key players Craig Burgess, Mitchell Young and Anthony Fautley due to absence, but recalled on former Essex players Dave Woller and Alan Jones as well as Keith Paxman returned to the side.

In the opening session four current England Internationals went head to head, as Adam Sultana took on AJ Brown and Barry Hedges faced Gareth Davis. Both games went to the wire with Brown snatching a 12-11 win over Sultana. Meanwhile Hedges was pushed to the end, with it ten-a-piece going into the last end Hedges took advantage having first bowl and killed the jack in the ditch to seal the win. Despite a valiant effort from Davis, Hedges won 13-10.

The pairs had a new partnership of Matt Dillon and Steve Killington who unfortunately went down 13-7, after battling throughout. Peter Fautley and Chris Coates continued their impressive form as they took control early on, to finish up 16-6 winners.

The triples dominated from the start as Mo Binstead, Alan Kay and Tony Ealham started strong and overcame the Oxford triple 18-3. Barbara Morokutti, Paul Bax and Phil Banner used their home advantage with a resounding 23-4 victory.

Allan Jones and Dave Wooller returned in the rinks with Del Coates and Rachel Cordy to come through 10-7 winners. Debbie Dillon, Linda Lambert, Keef Paxman and Matt Siffords won 12-6 – to lead 14-2 at the break.

In the second half, Sultana was fortunate throughout as he beat Davis 22-8 to seal the bonus points for the singles. Hedges however, had to recover from a slow start as he won 13-11 against Brown.

The formidable pairing of Fautley and Coates (Junior) were involved in a tough match, which they managed to surpass with a slender 11-9 win. Dillon and Killington were 11-8 behind going into the penultimate end but managed to scrap an 11-11 draw and the bonus points.

Binstead, Kay and Ealham were caught up in a tight contest, with the scores level at 9-9 going into the last end. The Oxford skip secured the match for the visitors with an excellent shot to win 10-9. Morokutti, Bax and Banner continued their form from their opening game and won 19-7, to take the bonus points by a landslide.

The fours kept to their winning ways and won both games, as Coates (Senior), Cordy, Jones and Wooller won 13-6 and Dillon, Lambert, Paxman and Sifford completed the 33-7 win by claiming a 10-7 victory and the rinks bonus points.

Essex Premier now have a short turnaround, with a tricky away trip to Surrey on Saturday 7th November.

Report by Mitchell Young

Essex Premier stamp authority in ICC opener

Essex Premier strode to a 33-7 victory in their Inter County Competition opener against Surrey Premier, at Stonyhills.

Essex lost just two games throughout the match and performed above Essex manager Adam Sultanas’ target of 32 points.

Although Surrey left with promise, having more points than their previous visit to Essex as they continue to improve.

In the first session, Essex went unbeaten as Barry Hedges opened his account by a huge margin with a 23-4 win.

New pairing Chris Coates and Peter Fautley followed suit with another solid performance as they won 16-5. Sultana also set by example, as he won 16-10 to give Essex the perfect start.

To complete the first session, Matt Dillion and Mitchell Young struggled out of the blocks and trailed 12-9 going into the last end but scraped a draw, to give Essex a 7-1 lead.

The second session was tight across all four mats as Mo Binstead, Paul Bax, Phil Banner, and Anthony Fautley won their close match on the final end against Surrey Captain Derek Johns 9-8.

Greg Wade, Tony Ealham and Matt Stifford were narrowly beaten despite the late comeback from 11-7 down, as they came up just short and lost 11-10.

The other Essex trio Debbie Dillon, Alan Kay and Linda Lambert fought back from behind to grab another worthy draw as they picked up a three on the final end to finish level at 9-9.

On the flip side, Babs Morokutti, Del Coates, Steve Killington and Craig Burgess held on for a draw as they lead 10-7 in the final end but had to settle for a three – to split the session 4-4 with Essex leading 11-5 at the break.

In the third session, Essex claimed the overall victory with a clean sweep, as Sultana raced to a 25-6 victory. Hedges responded to his counterparts’ success to claim a comfortable 18-8 win and secured the singles bonus points.

Fautley (Senior) and Coates (Junior) were the standout performers with an impressive 21-4 scoreline.

The other Essex duo, Dillon and Young found their feet and completed the full house with a 16-11 victory and the bonus points in the pairs, to lead 23-5 going into the final session.

In the last session, Essex continued their dominance as Wade, Ealham and Stifford lead from the off and held the Surrey triple at bay, as they won 13-7.

Dillon, Kay and Lambert could not repeat their earlier comeback as they fell to an 11-6 defeat, although gained the bonus points by one shot.

In the fours, Morokutti, Coates (Senior), Killington and Burgess made no mistake as they ended with a flourish, as they won 15-7.

To complete the rout Binstead, Bax, Banner and Fautley (Junior) kept their foot on the gas as they won 11-5, to claim the fours bonus points and an overall 33-7.

Report by Mitchell Young

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