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Seasiders stalwarts are in dominant form for Essex
CLACTON provided eight of Essex’s 12 players that won the Eastern Region inter-counties tournament in Luton.
Captain Ian Westlake was joined by brother Adrian, Mick and Robert Eastman, Adam and Neil Coles, James Fry and Dan Hunn.
The team was coached by another Clacton stalwart, Neil Green, with the other four players coming from Basildon.
In their opening match, Essex defeated Bedfordshire.
It was a bad-tempered encounter in which both sides took time to settle.
Three goals from Robert Eastman and a string of fine saves from brother Mick proved the main difference as Essex won 7-5.
The second match saw Essex face Norfolk and fine strikes from Adrian Westlake and Neil Coles, along with dominant performances at the back from Fry and Hunn, contributed to an 11-1 thrashing.
This fine vein of form continued against Suffolk and, with captain Ian Westlake also in scoring action, the final score of 12-3 emphasised Essex’s dominance.
With Hertfordshire also winning all their matches, the final game was to decide the tournament. Essex had by far the superior goal difference, though.
This was a closely-fought contest, with both teams playing tight water polo and goals hard to come by.
Essex scored early on and were then matched goal for goal, with Essex taking a slender 4-3 lead.
Neil Coles converted a well-worked penalty early in the second half to extend the lead to 5-3.
Herts continued to push and clawed a goal back with two minutes left.
Essex defended solidly, though, and, thanks to a fine save from Mick Eastman, managed to end the match as 5-4 victors.