Under 18s go to the Nationals

Last Sunday, the Suffolk Under 18 team travelled to Hertfordshire to play in the ECF County Championships, at the Haberdashers’ Aske’s School in Elstree.   Back in 1997 (the last time that Suffolk entered this event) the winners were – Suffolk!   But that was in the good old days when the likes of Nick and Richard Pert, and Ed Player were all juniors.   Things nowadays are a tad different.

Now if Alan Merry had been available (he was elsewhere earning his first IM norm), or Adam Taylor (otherwise engaged), things might have been different.   As it was, Sam Brennan (152) was on top board.   He faced two 200+ players and not unreasonably, lost both games.

The final result was disappointing, though not unexpected.   Suffolk finished in 12th place of the 13 counties entered, with just 5½ points from our 24 games.   We had ‘borrowed’ two players from neighbours Essex (allowed under the rules), but that was still not enough.   Most counties averaged over 140 for their 12-board teams, whilst Suffolk could only manage 117.

Wins were recorded by Harry Elman (Woodbridge School), Edward Harker (Copleston 6th Form), and William Sait (Bury St Edmunds).   Well done lads!

The event was won by Middlesex, who scored 19 points, followed by Berkshire (18) and Kent (17).   Gone are the days when other counties feared playing against Suffolk…

Many thanks to Team Manager Steve Peck, who co-ordinated the team and travel arrangements.   Next year we will have a 16-year old FM who is joining Woodbridge School in September, and perhaps Alan and Adam will be available too.   The other good news is that Steve’s son Silas still has a couple more years in the Juniors.

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