Two Essex teams battled through to the ECF Finals, the same two teams which were successful in a double championships last year, U2050 and U1450.
On this occasion, one title gained by default, the other lost by a margin, makes for a bittersweet experience. The U2050 FInal was conceded by Warwickshire the day before the Final was due to take place in Staines on 1 July. The sole Essex team doing battle on 1 July was therefore the U1450 team in play against Greater Manchester in Syston (Leics).
ECF U1450 Final: Warks 8½-3½ Essex
At Syston (Leics) Playing in the same room at the Syston Community Centre (above) in which Essex U2050 had gained their famous victory over Yorkshire in the Semi-Final three weeks before, Essex U1450 were unable to tap into the same vein of fortune.
Whereas the U2050 team against Yorks had been the rating-underdogs by a margin, Essex U1450 were only 11 rating points down on average which, on the old grades (to which most people still find it easiest to relate) is a difference of just 1.5 old grading points.
The points over the top six boards were shared, but Greater Manchester conceded just half a point in the lower order to take the Final by five clear points. Commiserations to Malcolm and his squad on a disappointing outcome to a hard-fought campaign. Congratulations to the Mancunians on their victory by a convincing margin.