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English Short Mat Bowling Association
Inter County Rinks 2015-2016
Qualifying Round, 26 September
MATS 1 2 3 4
Opponents F A F A F A F A F A Pts
Bucks 10 11 14 9 8 10 15 10 47 40 2
Suffolk 12 7 15 20 4 18 9 24 40 69 0
Surrey 5 21 12 8 9 10 8 10 34 49 0
Team P W D L SD Pts
Suffolk 3 3 0 0 +51 6
Surrey 3 1 0 2 +2 2
Buckinghamshire 3 1 0 2 -17 2
Hertfordshire 3 1 0 2 -37 2

Hertfordshire took a squad of 20 players to the qualifying round of the new ESMBA Inter County Team Fours competition held at Stonyhill Bowls Club, Brentwood.
The playing format of 4 rinks in each of 3 matches meant that squad rotation could be employed with each player having at least two games of 12 ends.


Buckinghamshire got off to a flying start leading 14-1 after just two ends. Hertfordshire clawed their way back into the match and at the half way stage were 8 shots behind.

A key count of 5 shots on the 7th end for the rink of Jill Oakes, Rebecca Nightingale, Jeanette Gayler and Tony Gayler saw them take control of their game and with two of the other rinks scoring the gap closed to just 3 shots.

After 8 ends two of the four Hertfordshire rinks were ahead. Tony Gayler's foursome finished first and posted a pivotal 14-9 win.

The rink of Audrey Fowler, Margaret Hare, Alan Hare and Brian Fowler were leading 8-6 after 9 ends but they dropped a 3 on the penultimate end, tied the last end and slipped to a narrow 8-10 loss.

Pauline Taylor, Dorothy Hill, Brian McGivern and Darren Stanford were 4 down after 9 ends. A 2 and a 3 on the next 2 ends saw them take the lead for the only time in their game. They couldn't quite close it out and lost by a single shot.

Meanwhile, Cherry Nolan, Eileen Prior, Margaret Regan and Michael West were performing heroically. Six shots down after 6 ends, they scored on all of the remaining ends including 4 shots on the 11th end, winning 15-10 and carrying the whole team to a fine victory.


The match against Suffolk started well with all four Herts rinks scoring singles on the first end. The opposition quickly responded and after 4 ends were 6 shots ahead.

The 5th end was particularly painful for Herts as Suffolk scored 16 shots across the rinks against a single shot for Hertfordshire.

Cherry Nolan, Eileen Prior, Margaret Regan and Michael West carried over their good form from the first match. They were behind only once in their game and with three 3s finished with a 12-7 win.

The rink of Adrianne West, John Taylor, Ted Nolan and Liz Bradley won seven of their 12 ends but each time Suffolk scored they posted big counts and the Herts foursome went down 15-20.

After 5 ends Jill Oakes, Rebecca Nightingale, Jeanette Gayler and Tony Gayler were level at 3-3. Suffolk dominated the remainder of the game scoring on all but one end for a 4-18 result.

Audrey Fowler, Margaret Hare, Alan Hare and Brian Fowler managed to keep their game tight for the first four ends before dropping a 7 and a 4 in succession. Following this setback, they fought hard to match Suffolk, only slipping a further 2 shots behind and finishing 9-24.


A win for Hertfordshire in the final group match would be enough to qualify for the finals but it wasn't to be.

Michael West's rink continued their winning ways. They began with an opening 4 shot count before Surrey hit back with a 3 and a string of singles. After 6 ends, Surrey slipped ahead by a single shot. The Hertfordshire players responded positively, winning four of the last six ends and winning 12-8.

Darren Stanford's rink had a very lopsided game going six ends without scoring to trail by 10 shots at half way. A strong finish, with the only blemish being a tied end, they stormed back to lose by just one at 9-10.

The Gaylers and their teammates won their first three ends but dropped a 6 on the 5th end and trailed by 3 at 6 ends. They got back within one shot but couldn't quite close the gap and lost by a narrow 2 shot margin 8-10.

The final rink skipped by Liz Bradley suffered at the hands of a very strong Surrey quartet. Dropping a 5 and a 4 early on, they couldn't prevent the opposition powering to a 5-21 score.

Surrey's win was enough for them to go through as group runners up on shots difference.

Having disbanded their Premier team, Suffolk had their Premier players available for this Division A competition. They were clear favourites and showed it, winning all three of their matches to head the group on 6 points. The other three teams all finished on 2 points and shots difference decided the final qualifying positions. The big loss to Suffolk proved decisive for Hertfordshire who finished 4th.