After the weak team we fielded in February, it was with some relief we sent a stronger side out to face Cambridgeshire and Suffolk in our final round of matches on Sunday. The Cambridgeshire match in the morning was critical, as victory would guarantee our qualification for the ECF national stages of the County Championships. I don't know what the team had for breakfast, but the result was remarkable, as we beat Cambridgeshire by 11-5, the widest margin of victory I can recall us recording against Cambridgeshire. Not a single board was lost, as Roger Gordonsmith, Dan Marcos, Simon Charles, Mark Heffer and Keith Woodhouse all recorded wins.
With Suffolk beating Norfolk in the morning, we had to beat Suffolk in the afternoon by a wide margin to deny them the EACU title. We had a promising start with Andrew Maclaren sacrificing bishop and knight to win his opponent's queen, but by the time he closed out his game for a win, we were already three down. Promising positions elsewhere came to naught, and Andrew's win turned out to be our only success of the afternoon as Suffolk romped away to an 11.5 - 4.5 win.
We now await the draw for the ECF national stages, but assuming we avoid any preliminary round, we can expect a quarter-final on Saturday 13th May, so please make a note of the date in your diaries. As soon as I have further news of our next opponents, I will be in touch again. It was a good weekend for Herts, as the U140 team also qualified, but their quarter-final is scheduled for the following Saturday, so there should not be any conflict for U140 players playing for Herts U160.