Essex County Junior 2nd Team

Junior Secretary Arthur Clark reports on the first weekend of matches for the County Second Team

DIVISION 1B  – 17th OCTOBER 2010

This season the Essex second team were transferred from the northern Division 1A where they had played for the last seven or eight seasons or so to the western Division which included teams from Devon, Cornwall, Glamorgan, Avon and Dorset. First proposals put forward were to play all the matches over the weekend of 16/17 October at Okehampton. Since this would mean a journey of six or seven hours for the Essex players and I could find no drivers prepared to make the journey I objected to the use of this venue and was subsequently supported by Surrey. Various proposals were put forward and a venue in Bristol was located. Subsequently the Saturday was withdrawn, another venue in Bristol was subsequently not available and after further negotiations it was agreed between the County’s that four rounds of matches would be played at the original venue near Bristol (Thornbury) on Sunday 17 October. Four of the County’s agreed to play their other three rounds of matches at Okehampton on the Saturday leaving the eastern half of the Division to arrange their outstanding matches at a later date, probably 12 March 2011.

 In order to make the start time of 0900 the team of Brandon Crouchman, Scott Dowsett, Mark Smith, Ify Okafor and Ella Patel travelled down on the Saturday afternoon, thus staying overnight. Their first match was against Glamorgan. Scott, Mark and Brandon all lost their opening matches in the final set, Brandon crucially at 12-10. Ify won her match 3-0 but Ella lost 10, 11, 4 so at the halfway stage Essex were 4-1 down. Scott and Ella won their next matches 3-1 and with Brandon beating the opponents number one 3-0 the match score stood at 4-4. Alas Ify lost her see-sawing match in the fifth set and with Mark losing a close second match 3-0 the final score was 4-6.

 In the next match against Devon Brandon won the opening match against David White in the fifth set. The next three matches were lost, Mark to Sam Rose, Ella to Victoria Smith, ranked 11 and Scott to Dominic Sussex, ranked 150 points below him. Ify then won a close match against Naomi Jackson 11, 10, -12, 8 but Mark just lost an even closer match to David 11, 10, 9. Ella lost to Naomi, ranked three places above her 3-1 and surprisingly Brandon lost to the much lower ranked Dominic 3-0. There then followed a cracking match between Ify and Victoria, Ify pulling back a 2-0 deficit only for Victoria to show her class in the fifth set. Scott beat Sam 9 in the fifth to make the final score 3-7.

 Their third match was against Berkshire, one of the pre match favourites and who I am told have won the Division since they had played at Okehampton the previous day. A 10-0 defeat, eight matches lost 3-0 with only Ify taking a set off Maria Tsaptsinos and Mark agonisingly losing 11-9 in the fifth set after being two sets to nil up and 9-7 up in that final set.

 The last match was against Cornwall and after six matches the Essex team could come home with 2 points. Mark achieved his first win of the day and Ella pulled back a 2-0 deficit for an excellent win over Kelly Reed ranked 220 points above her. Two matches later, however, she lost 8 in the fifth after being 2-1 up to the other Cornwall girl Rose Kelly. An 8-2 finishing scoreline with all three boys unbeaten in this match.

 I do not know at the present time how many points the Essex team require from their final three matches to avoid relegation

 Arthur C. Clark
Essex Junior Match Secretary