Junior Secretary, Arthur Clark reports on the final matches for our second and third teams.
The round of remaining matches was held at Cippenham on Saturday 19 March 2011. After the first round of matches held at Thornbury, Bristol on 17 October the Essex second team had one win from four matches and it appeared that one win from the days three matches would be sufficient for the team to avoid relegation. Matters were not helped when it was discovered a week beforehand that the team’s two girls were involved in the Schools Team Finals in Leicestershire and would not be available. Thus the third team girls had to move up to play for the team.
Their first match was against bottom of the Division team Avon. Relegation fears were soon dismissed as Essex went 7-0 up with all matches won three straight courtesy of a brace apiece from Brandon Crouchman, Scott Dowsett and Jane Li and the clean sweep achieved when Emily Godfrey beat Alice Gregory 6, 9, -9, -10, 7 and Mark Smith beat Matthew Flinglestone 7, -9, 12, -7, 9
Their next match was against a very strong Surrey 1 team. Mark Smith took Lewis Bray to five games as did Emily against Jessica Monis after being 2-1 up. Essex’s only win came from Jane Li who defeated Jessica 3-1 in the team’s 1-9 defeat.
Essex’s last match was against the Dorset team who had just beaten Avon to ensure their survival in the Division. The opening two matches were shared, both won 8 in the deciding game, Brandon losing to Michael Robertson and Mark beating Patrick Hurley. The next four matches were all lost until Jane secured a 3-1 win over Becki Kuru. Brandon lost 8 in the fifth game again, this time to Hugo Pang, whilst Scott won the last match, another 8 in the fifth, against Patrick for a 3-7 defeat.
With the matches scheduled for 4 December at Harlow being snowed off what was to have been the second round of matches at East Grinstead on Saturday 12 March had to be rescheduled as the first round.
The Essex 3 team’s first match was against Buckinghamshire 2 with Owen Warren, James Denyer, Bradley Osborne, Emily Godfrey and Jane Li winning all their matches for a 10-0 win, only three matches requiring a fourth game.
Their next match against Bucks 1 was much tougher. James and Bradley lost their opening matches, Emily came back from 2-1 down to beat Rose Luscombe and Jane beat Christina Lane 7, 9, 10. With Owen losing to Edward Mitchell 3-1 and James beating Ben Woodbridge the match score stood at 3-3. Jane then lost to Rose 3-1 and Emily beat Christina 3-1 but Owen and Bradley lost the last two matches for a 4-6 defeat.
The last match of the day was against Middlesex 2. Owen lost to Vincent Stacey 3-1 and Bradley triumphed against Timur Hashimi -7,-9, 10, 3, 5 to share the opening matches. Jane beat the higher ranked Eda Aydin 3-1 and as Middlesex only had one girl Emily received a walkover. The 3-1 lead quickly became 3-3 with James and Bradley losing their matches both 3-1. The score became 4-4 when Emily lost 3-1 to Eda and finished 5-5 when Owen lost to Tyrone Wells and Bradley beat Timur. Significantly of the eight matches played seven were won 3-1 and the eighth 3-2 to indicate that a draw was a fair result.
The second round of matches was played at Cippenham on Saturday 19 March. With Emily and Jane promoted to the second team to replace Ify and Ella I could only find one girl as a replacement for the third team girls. With the agreement of the opponents Emily also played for the Third team in the first and third round matches and Jane in the second round match.
Their first match was against Surrey 2 who were to end the day in third place, equal on points with Sussex 3 but one set worse off. The team went 4-1 down with Emily gaining the only win over Natalie Wu. Both Bradley and Owen lost their matches 3-2 (Bradley at 9) with Owen sustaining a hand injury that affected him for the rest of the day. James had a marathon match against Andre Dunkley before finally winning 12, -6, 9, -10, 8 but the last four matches were lost (Owen again in five) for a 2-8 defeat.
Sussex 2 were the next team to play and the Division leaders and eventual winners showed no mercy winning 10-0, the same scoreline as they achieved in the other two matches they played. Owen, James and Bradley all took one of their matches to a fifth game and James was actually 10-7 up in his match against Daniel Barna before losing the last five points.
Their last match was against Sussex 3. James, Bradley and Owen all lost their opening matches and Rebecca Denyer having her best matches of the day and just failing to win a game in either of her two matches. Emily won both her matches and James pulled off the “Houdini” of the day coming back from 10-6 down in the fifth to Mike Rutherford to win 11, -3, 12, -8, 11 A 3-7 defeat and sixth place in the table of the seven teams in the Division.