Essex regained the County Championship Over-60s Premier Division after a season-long battle with Lancashire who were looking for their first title.

Essex were unbeaten, recording five wins and two draws from their campaign but had to rely on a superior sets advantage over Lancashire who had six wins and one loss in their campaign.

The weekend began with Lancashire leading the competition on maximum points from three matches, ahead of reigning champions Cheshire who were a further point ahead of Essex who had drawn two matches during the first weekend.

All three counties won their first round of matches on Saturday but it was the second match-up between Essex and Lancashire was going to be all important and with a strengthened Sussex beating Cheshire 7-3 it left Essex and Lancashire to fight it out for the top two spots.

The clash started with Lancashire taking an opening set lead as Keith Williams beat Peter Radford 3-1 (11-6, 11-6, 7-11, 11-8) but after that the northerners were always playing catch up and Essex swiftly moved into 3-1 lead and despite Lancashire pulling to within a set at 3-2 when Barry Elliott won a thriller against Radford 3-2 (6-11, 11-9, 8-11, 11-9, 14-12), Essex once more pulled away.

Essex took the next two sets as Gill Locke beat Brenda Buoey 3-0 (12-10, 12-10, 12-10) followed by a men’s doubles win as Alex Abbott and Trevor Lloyd beat Williams and Phil Bowen in four as Essex now led 5-2.

Although Lancashire pulled a set back when Bowen beat Lloyd 3-1 (7-11, 11-9, 11-9, 11-7), the comeback was short lived as Abbott took the tie between the two No 1s against Williams 3-1 (2-11, 11-6, 11-6, 11-6), giving Essex the win. Elliott and Buoey took the final mixed doubles with a 3-2 (11-5, 11-9, 8-11, 8-11, 12-10) win to complete the match in a 6-4 win for Essex.

After this result Essex had moved ahead of Lancashire as although the two sides were level on match points and sets, Essex had a superior games advantage. After the next round of matches Essex moved further ahead but only by one set as despite Lancashire beating Oxfordshire 9-1 their rivals beat Hampshire 10-0.

The final round of matches saw Essex just having to match Lancashire in their respective matches and while Lancs saw off neighbours Cheshire 7-3 it was Essex who took the title by a two-set margin from Lancashire as they beat Yorkshire 8-2.