The Final round of County Junior Championship Division 1B matches were played at BATTS Harlow on Saturday 9 November 2019. For the first round of matches they had been played at Burgess Hill, Sussex, and at BATTS on 12 October to reduce travelling. Sussex 1 led the southern sub-division with six points from Dorset 1, Sussex 2 and Surrey 2 whilst the northern sub-division comprised Essex 1, Norfolk, Middlesex 1 and 2.
However, on the day before these matches were due to be played Middlesex reported that neither of their teams could field a team so they conceded their matches to Norfolk and Essex 1 leaving just this one match to be played which Essex won 10-0. Junior Division 2C were also playing their first round matches at Burgess Hill and BATTS.
The Essex team for the Final round of matches when all eight teams met at BATTS was Jaden Aulakh (702), Daniel Young (639), Ray Yan (502), Gracie Edwards (730) with Maliha Baig (378) promoted to the first team now that Tiana Dennison was no longer a Junior player, this being the same team as that that beat Norfolk. The current Ranking points of all the players are shown in red where known. After that first round match and the two concessions Essex were equal first with Sussex 1 with Dorset and Norfolk two points behind.
The top two teams met in the opening round of matches. Both the two opening matches went the full distance and both finished with 11-5 scores and fluctuating games. Daniel won 4, -9, 5, -7, 5 against Owen Brown (816) while Ray lost to Keigo Burnham (616) 9, -5, 5, -10, -5. Next was the first of the girls matches and these four girls were the top girls on the day. Gracie quickly accounted for Joelle Bennett (357) 7, 10, 3 while Maliha needed four games to beat Jodie Morris (675) 7, 5, -2, 8 who she had lost to a month or so ago, so a very good win for her. Jaden won both his matches comfortably, both 3-0, against Fraser Kent (837) and Keigo while Ray did just enough to beat Owen 9, 9, 8. Maliha beat Joelle 8, 7, 8 but Gracie had to work really hard to overcome Jodie 9, -13, 7, 10. An unexpected score line win to put Essex two points ahead which could become welcome later on.
Surrey 2 were the new opponents who had lost all their matches in the first round of matches at Burgess Hill. It was only when writing this report that I noticed that Surrey had changed four of their team for higher ranked players. Jaden lost to Howard Onweng (801) 9, 9, 7 while on the other table Ray had lost the first game 11-4 to Ojasvii Borah (points not known) but came back strongly to win the next three games 8, 9, 9. Maliha beat Gabriela Lee 3-0 (points not known) but Gracie’s match with Yuvathi Kumar (points not known), the only Surrey player to play in the previous round of matches, went to a fifth game. In that last game Gracie trailed all the way until two consecutive points brought the score to 9-9. After Yuvathi called a time out Gracie had to save a match point but eventually won 10, -7, -9, 9, 11. Meanwhile on the other table Daniel lost to Nahom Goitom (874), the highest ranked boy om the day, 3-1 and then Ray beat Howard 3-1. Maliha’s 3, 7, 6 win over Yuvathi got the team at least a draw but alas the win could not be achieved, Gracie losing to Gabriela 7, 15, -12, 9, Jaden losing the fifth game to Nahom 11-7 and Daniel losing to Ojasvii 11, 13, 6. With Sussex 1 beating Middlesex 1 6-4 Essex now only had a one point lead.
Dorset were a boy and girl player missing so Essex starting the match 4-0 up. Jaden and Maliha soon made that 6-0 with 3-0 wins over Nathan Carlton (345) and Sophie Storey (272) respectively. Daniel then lost to Jamie Blair (856), the second highest ranked boy on the day, 3-1 and Ray beat Nathan 3-1. Jaden then had to play Jamie. He won the first two games 12-10 but Jamie hit back winning the next two games 4 and 7. A good start in the final game and Jaden went on to win it 11-5, a good win. With Gracie a 3-0 win against Sophie a 9-1 win the result.
With Sussex 1 winning their match Essex needed a draw to win the Division on Sets difference. Their opponents were Sussex 2 who had won their matches 10-0, 9-1 and 8-2 and if they beat Essex Sussex 1 could win the Division by winning against a Norfolk team who had lost their three previously matches heavily.
Not a good start for Essex with both Ray and Daniel each losing 3-1 to Will Mitchell Jamar McGlashan (730) respectively. Along came the cavalry to the rescue with Maliha and Gracie two easy wins against Sasha
O’Halloran (241) and Sacha Ward. Jaden then lost to Martin Kapusta 3-0 but the match of the match was that between Jamar and Ray. Having lost the first two games 9, 6 Ray came back to win the next two games 10 and 9. Behind all the way in the decider Ray arrived 5-10 down. Clawing back those five match points and then another he finally won that game 13-11, a welcome win towards the draw that was needed. Maliha beat Sasha Ward 3, 4, 2 and Gracie won 3-1 against Sacha O’Halloran for the five points Essex wanted. Daniel lost to Martin after leading 2-1 but Jaden finished the day with an 8, 6, 6 win over Will. Essex were champions of the Division and could look forward to promotion to the Premier Division next season. Alas Gracie and Ray will be unable to play for the team as they will no longer Junior players next season. We wish them well in their Senior careers.
Including the one match on 12 October Jaden Aulakh 7 wins out of 10 matches; Daniel Young 4 out of 9; Ray Yan 7 out of 9; Gracie Edwards 8 out of 9; Maliha Baig 9outof 9.
P W D L F A Pts
Essex 1 7 6 1 0 59 11 13
Sussex 1 7 6 0 1 49 21 12
Sussex 2 7 4 0 3 44 26 8
Dorset 1 7 3 2 2 30 36 8
Surrey 2 7 3 1 5 44 26 7
Norfolk 7 2 0 5 26 44 4
Middlesex 1 7 0 1 6 10 48 1
Middlesex 2 7 0 1 6 6 52 1
Arthur C. Clark
Essex Junior Match Secretary