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English Short Mat Bowling Association
Inter County Rinks 2016-2017
Qualifying Round, 11 September
MATS 1 2 3 4
Opponents F A F A F A F A F A Pts
Kent 9 11 15 9 11 15 8 17 43 52 0
Suffolk 10 15 7 10 10 10 7 21 34 56 0
Team P W D L F A SD Pts
Suffolk 2 2 0 0 102 66 +36 4
Kent 2 1 0 1 84 89 -5 2
Hertfordshire 2 0 0 2 77 108 -31 0

With only 12 counties entering this year's competition, the qualification format was four groups of three teams. The top two teams qualify for the ICC Rinks Finals. Hertfordshire got a really tough draw with Suffolk, the previous year's group winners, and Kent, winners of the Inter County Division A Championship three times in the previous five years. Suffolk dominated the group, winning both of their games comfortably. The second qualifying place was decided by the match between Hertfordshire and Kent.


Hertfordshire pushed Kent all the way, leading throughout until the last few ends. The scene was set from the very start as Herts leapt out to a 9-3 lead after just one end.

On Mat 1, the rink of Peter Griffiths, Margaret Regan, Tony Gayler and Jeanette Gayler were just 1 shot behind at the half way stage (6 ends) before dropping a 4. They clawed their way back into the game, winning four ends and drawing level with just one end to play. They couldn't quite finish the comeback ending the game at 9-11.

Adrianne West, Clive Mark, Mary Chadd and Michael West got off to a flyer, scoring a 6 shot count on the opening end. Kent responded well, winning four ends out of the next five to sit just a single shot behind after 6 ends. The two sides exchanged 3s in the next two ends before the Hertfordshire quartet went on to win the last 4 ends and score the only win for Hertfordshire at 15-9.

Jill Oakes, Liz Bradley, Brian McGivern and Darren Stanford were the only Herts rink to lose their first end. They dropped a 3 but got it straight back on the next end. A four end streak saw them take an 11-3 lead. Kent bounced back with a clean sweep of the last 6 ends and the final score was 11-15.

In the final game, Audrey Fowler, John Taylor, Sam Salmon and Alan Hare opened with two winning ends. Kent took the next three before a 2 shot count for Herts and the score was 4-6 at the halfway point. The four of Herts pushed on and went ahead at 8-7 with two ends to play. Unfortunately, Kent showed why they are so successful with a 4 and a 6 to squash the hopes of a surprise win for Hertfordshire.


Suffolk beat Kent by 46-32. This set up the opportunity for Hertfordshire to take one of the group qualifying slots if they could beat Suffolk by 3 shots. But, despite another strong opening, Herts were never really in the match and fell some way short.

Jill Oakes, Liz Bradley, Brian McGivern and Darren Stanford dropped a 5 shot count on the 3rd end which proved to be decisive. After falling 8 shots behind after 4 ends, the Herts four outscored their opponents for the remainder of the game but ended at 10-15.

Audrey Fowler, John Taylor, Sam Salmon and Alan Hare won 7 of their 12 ends. However, they could only manage a single shot on each of those ends. Dropping two 3s, they fell to a 7-10 loss.

Adrianne and Michael West, together with Mary Chadd and Clive Mark put in another strong performance. In a close match, they maintain a narrow lead until the last end, dropping a 3 and drawing their game 10-10.

In the remaining game, Peter Griffiths, Margaret Regan, Tony Gayler and Jeanette Gayler were on the wrong end of a 7-21 scoreline which would have been much more respectable without a dropped 6 on the last end.

Despite failing to qualify for the knockout stages of the competition, Hertfordshire can take considerable heart for the day's events. The showing against the strength of Kent, in which Herts very nearly scored a memorable win, is very encouraging at the very start of the competitive season.