Rippey and Brenner through to county pairs semi-finals

PUBLISHED: 11:00 05 July 2017

James Rippey and Mitch Brenner of Wanstead Central got through to the semii-finals of the county pairs

James Rippey and Mitch Brenner of Wanstead Central got through to the semii-finals of the county pairs


One wood away from premilinary round exit, the Central boys are now one win from Leamington

Wanstead Central 's Mitch BrennerWanstead Central 's Mitch Brenner

They were within one wood of going out in the preliminary round of the Essex County Pairs, but Wanstead Central pair James Rippey and Mitch Brenner have big smiles on their faces after booking their ticket to Westcliff for the semi-finals of the competition.

The dynamic duo came through their quarter-final clash with Brightlingsea pair Conor Mathers and Mark Hemstedt leading most of the way to win 22-19, but that early round clash was still not far from their minds.

“In the premilinary round we were one down in the game on the last end and one down on the end,” said Brenner with a grin. “I went to James and said if you draw this we are going all the way!”

Sure enough, Rippey drew a front toucher to force an extra end against the Patels of Plashet Park and they came through and haven’t looked back since.

James Rippey of Wanstead Central used his firing woods to great effectJames Rippey of Wanstead Central used his firing woods to great effect

Tuesday’s quarter-final clash looked a tricky one against in-form Conor Mathers who is still in the county singles and they were not helped by what proved a challenging green.

Rippey revealed the secret of their success: “It was down to firing,” he said.

“Seriously, there was no draw, there was no running woods because it was such a tricky rink. It was full out driving that saved the day.”

Brenner, playing as an effective lead this summer instead of skipping, admitted that he had an ‘average’ gane, but it was Rippey saving many an end that proved crucial on the day.

“I describe these games as kamikaze ones,” said Rippey. It is very difficult to get out of trouble and neither team were able to get out of trouble – the full out drive really helped us.”

It certainly did as Rippey’s damage limitation on many ends proved vital, even killing two ends, while the Central team took full advantage when they were up, scoring a five early on to get in front and five ends on the trot to go 17-9 ahead.

But in a game which looked more like a game of giant marbles with speckly pink, speckly red bright red and blue woods littering the green, the Brightlingsea boys were not giving up.

They hauled themselves back into it at 18-15 with four ends to go, but the Central boys held their nerve to get over the line at 22-19.

It is the first time the pair have played together and they also face a county triples quarter-final alongside Mark Nullmeyers this week.

“It’s all about picking the right partner,” smiled Brenner. “It is the first time we have played in pairs and triples together and I really fancy our chances now.”

The duo go to Westcliff for the semi-finals on July 15 where they will take on Sam and Jacob Roberts from Colchester West End.

They beat Mark Fell and Graham Harrison of Writtle in their last eight clash by 22-18.

The other semi will see Buckhurst Hill duo Mac Magudia and substitute Peter Tuff take on Graham Easterbrook and Martin Spencer of Braintree.

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