SEVEN members of Westcliff’s Essex County Bowling Club helped Essex win the first national bowls title in the county’s history when Lincolnshire were beaten in the final of the Over 60s team competition at Nottingham Indoor Bowls Club.

Essex triumphed 128-117, winning on four of the six rinks, with contributions from Andy Sales, Martyn Jackson, Dave McCathie, Richard Spriggs, Phil Brandon, John Stewart and Kevin Glover.

Team manager Jim Bunce said: “This is really big for bowls in Essex and I’m so proud of the team. We have waited a long time for this.”

The match was evenly poised up to halfway but then Essex edged ahead.

Lincolnshire were not to be brushed aside, however, and came back strongly. But by the finish Essex had an 11-shot advantage.

The Essex team was made up of bowlers from eight different clubs, spread across the county.

They had beaten Kent, Surrey, Middlesex and Devon to reach the final for the first time since losing to Kent in 2012.

Bunce praised supporters from Essex who made up around 80 per cent of the audience and created an amazing atmosphere. “The noise whenever we put in a winning shot was fantastic. The atmosphere was electric.”

Rink scores (Essex first): Andy Sales, Martyn Jackson, John Tully, Dave McCathie bt Geoff Maslin, Paul Morris, John Withers, Mick Thompson 23-21.

Richard Spriggs, Phil Brandon, Andy Swann, Brian Henry lost to Dennis Skayman, Neil East, Mike Smith, George Draper 18-25.

John Stewart, Kevin Glover, Paul Whellams, John Andrews bt Tony Barwell, Mark Linnell, Stephen Dalby, Martyn Dolby 28-13.

Greg Moss, Alf Allan, Frank Abbott, Ian Barker bt Terry Betheridge, Mark Eurich, Rod West, Paul Flatters 21-15.

Ray Fortune, Tom Brooks, Bill Nelson, John Anderson lost to John Mountain, Tony Stanley, Martin Pulling, Trevor Bannister 12-21.

Barry O’Connor, Derek Cook, Roy Buckner, Jim Oakes bt Neil Poole, Ian Cole, Keith Jackman, Paul Bark 26-22.