County First Team report

(From team captain Steve Ruthen)

The first of three Sunday double headers saw Suffolk paired against Cambridgeshire, then Bedfordshire.

The morning match v Cambs was expected to be hard fought, and so it was.   Although we held a notional four grading point advantage it was only at the end that we pulled ahead.   Wins from the immensely experienced Gregory, Wallis, Feavyour, Sanders and Ruthen led to a 9-7 victory, with eight draws.

We were expecting an easier match v Beds, given the 14-2 score line last time we played, but the match proved to be even tighter than the morning match.   Only a delicate endgame squeeze by Ted Mathewson (accept doubled pawns at your peril v Ted) saw us home by 8½-7½.   Ted’s was the last game to finish and when down to less than five minutes Ted forgot to press his clock after moving.   He must have “heard” the 15 silent screaming voices because he realised in good time, advised his opponent that although he (the opponent) was thinking, it was Ted’s clock that was running(!) and delivered the critical win.   I suspect his opponent knew VERY well that Ted’s clock was ticking towards oblivion.

Thanks to Hopkins, Gregory, Lewis and Quader for the other wins.

Steve Gregory leads the “no prize at all” competition for most points scored, with two wins.

It was also good to have Dave Spence available, and also Luke Hill for the first time.   Both of these players gave great solidity at the top end of the team.

WE lead the table as the only team with two wins.   We now face Norfolk and Cambs on 3rd February.

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