The first rounds of County Cadet Division 1A matches were played on Saturday 20 October 2018 with three rounds of matches to be played. To reduce traveling distances this first round was split into two halves, the eastern half Essex, Middlesex 1, Middlesex 2 and Suffolk to play one another at NETTS, Earls Colne whilst the southern half of the Division, Surrey 1, Surrey 2 and Sussex 2 played one another at the Graham Spicer Centre, New Malden. Sadly, at the last minute, the two Middlesex teams found themselves with only one girl player for each team. All matches were played on two tables.
Cadet Rankings are shown in brackets.
The Essex Team was Daniel Young (421), Jesse Bath (299), Ralph Pattison (496), Maliha Baig (638) and Olivia Jones. Oliver Rampton had not fully recovered from a broken arm.
In their first match the team had Middlesex 2 to play. Not a good start with Jesse losing to Lucas Aulnette (394) and ten year old Ralph losing to Jenson Moreno (644) on the other table, both 1-3. Olivia beat Jacqueline Lesh easily as did Maliha later on. With only five ranking points difference Daniel eventually overcame Brandon Sangchan (426) 11-3 in the decider. Ralph then lost to Lucas 10, 5, 9 with no luck from the opponents net points at crucial stages of the match. With Jesse losing 3-0 to Brandon it relied on Daniel winning the last match against Jenson (he did 9, 6, -4, 6) to gain the team a 6-4 win.
Their next opponents were neighbours Suffolk and what a tough match this was. The longest of the day time wise after four of the first five matches went to a deciding game. Ralph, after a most promising start, lost to McKenzie Lowe (457) 0-11, 13-11, 13-11, 11-13, 11-9. A cruel deciding game with Ralph 9-6 up McKenzie then took a Time Out and then won the next three points with unplayable nets and went on to win the next two points. Oh so close. It was just as close on the other table as Jesse came from behind to beat Henry Shaw (274) 12-14, 12-10 5-11, 11-9, 11-9. Maliha had an easy 3-0 win against Lucy Needham as did Olivia later on but Olivia’s first match with Isobel McGerty (466) was a marathon, 2-0 but finally lost 11-8 in the decider. Daniel was another to lose 11-8 in a decider when he played Luke Davies-Stokes (665) having pulled back from 2-0 down. Maliha’s nail biting win over Isobel 5, 7, -9, 10 brought the match score to 4-4. After Jesse lost to Luke 3-0 it was up to Daniel again and he did not disappoint with a 3-0 win over McKenzie for a drawn match.
For their last match Essex had to play leaders Middlesex who had won both their matches despite being a girl player short. Jesse started with a great win over the higher ranked Charlie Nabarro 6, 4, 7 but alas this was the Team’s last win on the table. Best match of the rest was that between Maliha and Scarlett Anders and won by Scarlett -7, 7, 7, -9, 6 in an all action match and great high speed rallies. Final score 7-3 to Middlesex.
The final round of matches will be played at BATTS Harlow when there will be four rounds of matches to play. Currently scheduled for Sunday 31 March but could be switched to Saturday 30 March if the scheduled Premier British League match becomes an away fixture.
Arthur C. Clark
Essex Junior Match Secretary and Cadet Division 1A Organiser.