ECF County QF Stage – U160

Final score – Lancashire 6 – 10 Essex.

First of all many many thanks to all of you who made the effort yesterday.

We lost 10-6. We were just a few too many players short to be successful, although it must be said everything that could go wrong seemed to go wrong on the day!
David Innes answered the call very late on Friday night after Richard Gavin withdrew with flu. Many thanks, David.

Teams start arriving at the excellent East Midlands Bridge for the U160 and U120 matches.

Played at the excellent East Midlands bridge centre, we kicked off the 4.5-hour match with Dave Aspinall playing an opening that looked strong, creative and had his opponent looking bewildered.

Unfortunately, Dave went wrong somewhere early on and suddenly he was lost! 0-1. Dave Innes looked to have a strong central pawn but again a mistake leads to dropping a piece and the game. Early doors and 0-2 did not augur well for the afternoon, especially across the boards only Steve Ward looked to be ahead, having decided to snaffle his opponent’s rook and allowing a dangerous looking initiative for his opponent.

The match then went quiet for one hour. Looking at the boards they all looked fairly even apart from Steve’s. A spate of draws now took place in even looking games. 0-2 became 2.5-4.5 in no time at all. Clearly, Essex had taken on board their 2 point advantage and realised they could wait for us to try to over-reach. My game was typical. My opponent played risk-free chess and what appeared an aggressive opening from me petered out after several pieces swap off to a dead draw.

With the onus being on trying to breach the gap, results started to go against us. John Whitfield and Rob Tokeley both had reverses from hopeful positions and suddenly the game was virtually out of our reach, 3-7. Steve Ward converted to offer some hope at 4-7 and John Addison’s win took us to 5-7 and with Phil Taylor looking good, some faint hope remained. But Steve Potter was having to resiliently defend on one with his time running down. A couple more dead draws took Essex to the line at 5-8. Suddenly Roger Chapman went down in a tricky queen and pawn ending and Essex had won. Phil Taylor won a good game to make it 6-9 but Steve Potter went down in the last few seconds to complete a 6-10 defeat.

This was a bad day at the office for the team. Essex deserved winners on the day and we relinquish our national title. However we’ve had these reverses before and we will be back next year – with hopefully the few strong players who could not make it this time. 

Report from Bill O’Rourke, U160 Captain.