From Mark Murrell
As champions elect going into dead rubbers for our Essex U2050 and U1650 teams and the longest excursion of the campaigns, skippers Mark Murrell and Malcolm Crane nevertheless assembled competitive teams whilst taking advantage of the opportunity to introduce new players to Essex over-the-board county chess.
It was not however all plain sailing as Kent looked to gain points where others had failed, with each team following contrasting courses to conclude the SCCU County Championships with yet another win-double and two slams. A powerful expression of intent for the ECF national stages ahead.
SCCU U2050: Kent 6½-9½ Essex
At St Mary Cray. After an early set back the U2050s cruised to a three point victory and at one stage had a five point lead, notwithstanding the Kent lower order performing better than expected.
SCCU U1650: Kent 7½-8½ Essex
At St Mary Cray. Kent will feel that this was one that got away in a match that was in the balance throughout the afternoon, with neither team in ascendancy for long. It took a junior debutant from Wanstead to break open a defensive fortress to secure the match win under the pressure of the last game in play and a touch of luck at the outset for a Barking stalwart to steal a win that never should have been in a game played at breakneck pace and changing fortunes that epitomised the wider match. All good practice for the tension and drama of the national stages ahead.
Other games. Elsewhere Surrey were held to a draw away to Middlesex which was just enough for Surrey to secure the second qualification place in the U2050s with a game to spare (Middlesex can draw level but not on the head to head tie break) but the reigning SCCU and National champions lost in the U1650s leaving the second qualifying place to be decided in the postponed match between Kent and Middlesex.
U1650 Report by Mark Murrell added.