Suffolk’s First Team, captained by John Peters, has made it through to the National stages of the County Championships. Yesterday, they played Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire.
In the morning, Suffolk beat wooden spooners Bedfordshire comfortably by 10 points to 6, despite losing on the bottom three boards to lower-rated opponents. At the same time, Norfolk were soundly thrashed by Cambridgeshire, losing 4½ – 11½. Had Norfolk won, then Suffolk’s result against Cambridgeshire would have been academic, as Suffolk would have qualified anyway. So a win (or a draw) in the afternoon against a highly motivated Cambridgeshire team was now essential. A win by Cambridgeshire would have seen them through.
Stand-in captain Ian Wallis reports, “The match started off badly for us. Cambs won a couple of games early on and a few draws put them in control. Looking at the remaining games it was difficult to see where our points would come from to get back in the match. We won a game to get in touch but then lost another one to remain two down. But the match finally swung our way in the final quarter and we managed enough wins to reach 8 points and were safely through to the national stages.”
Four players won both games: Alan Merry, Graham Moore, Shaun Munson and Tim Lunn. On 1½ points were Steve Gregory, Ted Matthewson and John Feavyour, whilst Ian Wallis and Nick Savage were unbeaten with two draws.
As can be seen from the final league table, Norfolk and Suffolk finished on equal match points. Unfortunately, game points do not decide tie-breaks. Rule 3b of the EACU County Championship rules state, “If two or more teams are level in match point scores they shall be placed in order of game scores in the matches between the tied teams, and if these are equal according to their total game scores except that if another team has defaulted a match against one of the tied teams then all matches against that team shall be excluded. If these do not give a decision, board count in the match or matches between the teams concerned will decide, and failing that the Elimination Rule shall apply until the scores are unequal.”
In the matches between Suffolk and Norfolk, one match was drawn and the other was narrowly won by Norfolk. So Norfolk are the season’s EACU Champions and Suffolk are runners-up. Both counties qualify for the National stages.