On Sunday, the Suffolk Under 160 team played Hertfordshire and Cambridgeshire, the two teams most likely to qualify for the National rounds. Back in December, a strong Hertfordshire team beat Suffolk and another win for them would have meant almost certain qualification. So the morning match against Herts was vitally important for Suffolk. On grading alone, Suffolk appeared to be facing an uphill task, with Herts averaging three points per board advantage.
As the match proceeded, it became increasingly evident that Suffolk would win. Some exceptional results, especially on the top boards, where Suffolk scored 3½ out of 4, helped towards a convincing win by 10½ points to 5½.
This win ensured that Suffolk would now qualify for the National quarter-final; the afternoon match against Cambridgeshire would only decide first and second places within the EACU.
Cambridgeshire fielded one of the strongest-ever teams seen in the Under 160s. Their Board 16 was graded 143 and the team averaged over 152, eight points more than Suffolk. The result, unsurprisingly, was a win for Cambridgeshire, by the same score as the morning match, 10½-5½.
The final league table is shown below. Cambridgeshire now play the runners-up in the Midlands Zone, whilst Suffolk are away to the winners, Nottinghamshire. The date and venue will be decided later.
|Team||Played||Won||Drawn||Lost||Match Points||Game Points|
* These totals are estimated, as the final score between Herts and Norfolk is not known (although Herts definitely won convincingly).
Norfolk again defaulted two boards, as they had done in December. They clearly have commitment problems with their players.
Individual results from the matches played on Sunday were:
|1||Leon Burnett||e155||½ . ½|
|2||Sam Brennan||152||1 . 0|
|3||Silas Peck||154||1 . ½|
|4||Stephen Lewis||152||1 . ½|
|5||Rob Harden||e150||0 . 0|
|6||Bob Jones||153||½ . ½|
|7||Les Jones||148||½ . ½|
|8||Vivian Woodward||147||½ . 0|
|9||Scott Taylor||144||1 . 0|
|10||Colin Roberts||140||0 . 0|
|11||Andrew Shephard||136||1 . 0|
|12||John McAllister||136||½ . 1|
|13||Ed Kirkham||133||1 . ½|
|14||Jakob Tulic||133||1 . 0|
|15||John Lambert||137||½ . 1|
|16||Carl Phillips||134||½ . ½|
Excellent performances from the ‘new boys’ – Leon Burnett, Stephen Lewis, John McAllister, John Lambert and Carl Phillips – unbeaten over their ten games!
Over the season, 26 people have played in the Under 160s. Of these, six (Rob Harden, Bob Jones, Scott Taylor, Andrew Shephard, Ed Kirkham and Colin Roberts) have played in all the matches. The leading player has been Ed Kirkham, with four wins (including one default win) and two draws.