From ECA Match Captain, Mark Murrell
Double wins have been the norm this season whenever the U2050 and U1650 Essex teams have played together and round 5 of 6 was no exception. This one was special though with both Essex teams securing a divisional Championship with a match still to play. The U1650s join the U2050s in the national stage of the competitions, each earning a notional home tie at the quarter finals stage,
SCCU U1650: Essex 10½-5½ Middx
At Wanstead. Another thumping performance from the U1650 team led the way, with a 5 point winning margin for the second match in succession. Essex took the lead early on and kept on building. Unusually all 4 top boards concluded in quick time, though ever present newly-promoted to board 1, Ryan Colclough, could not maintain his 100% record, though 4½/5 in a rating-limited competition is still impressive. It fell to Essex Junior, Hazaifa Baig, to secure the win for the match and the SCCU Championship.
SCCU U2050: Essex 9-7 Middx
At Wanstead. The U2050s however was a more nervous affair and went down to the final minutes of the 4½ hour playing session. On paper it should have been much easier with nearly half of the opposition drawn from the marauding Middlesex U1850 squad but then Essex and Middlesex matches never are. The toss was lost, traffic problems delayed six Essex players and then Middlesex took the early lead but fortuitously that was short-lived. Twice Essex took the lead only to be pegged back, but not so for the third time of the afternoon, with just three games left in play including both top boards, where Trevor Coote and Ashley Freeman were trying to make the most of their first outings this season for the team. Until the decisive penultimate result, there was never more than a game point between the teams. It was fitting that ever-present Martin McCall added that win to secure the SCCU Championship, maintain his unbeaten record and top the U2050 player stats on 4/5.
Reports on the team pages. Games from the U2050 match will be added soon.