Arthur Clark reports on day 2 of the Cadet County Championships - Division 1b, 17 March 2012
After the first round of Cadet matches played at the two separate venues Essex led the Cadet Division 1B by one set from Leicestershire. The second round of matches was played at the St Nicholas Park Leisure Centre, Warwick on Saturday 17 March. There were five rounds to play and all matches were played on two tables. The northern half of the Division still had one round to play so the Essex, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire teams did not have to arrive until 11.00am. Thus on arrival it was found that the Leicestershire team had defeated Northants 6-4 and thus led the table.
Essex’s first match was against bottom of the Division Shropshire. Not a good start for Essex as Sam Lowman lost to Jonny Higgins 3-0 and Livingstone Nadarajah, after winning the first 12-10, lost the next three games to Joey Chen. As Shropshire only had one girl Ryan William’s 3-1 win over George Bradley made the score 2-2. Everything then went Essex’s way. Jane Li and Stephanie Cross both beat Ellis Pope, Sam had to pull back a 2-0 deficit to beat Joey, and Ryan and Livingstone beat Jonny and George respectively for an 8-2 win
Essex then had to play Warwickshire and there was never more than one set difference in the score line as set out on the score sheet until the antepenultimate match. As matches are played on two tables this isn’t quite how the match progressed. Ryan started with a 3-0 win over Timmy Cooper but Livingstone lost 3-1 to Niall Herbert. Jane and Stephanie both won their matches against Milly Bradshaw and Emma Kilpatrick 3-0 and 3-1 respectively but Sam then lost his match to Anshul Satsangi 7,8,9 and Livingstone his to Timmy by the agonising scores of 10, 10, -9, 9. The girls then won their matches and Ryan won the match for Essex by defeating the opponent’s number one Anshul 3-1. On the other table Sam lost to Niall by the odd looking scoreline of 10, -0, 9, -8 5
Essex’s next two matches were against the teams in third and first place and the destination of the top three places in the table would be decided by these two matches. Against third placed Northants Sam lost to their number 1 player Alex Ramsden 3-0 whilst on the other table Livingstone was involved in a marathon five gamer with Milan Modha. After being 2-0 up and with match points in the fourth game he eventually won 8, 4, -4, -12, 9. Stephanie lost 3-0 to Bhavika Mistry and after being 2-1 up Jane lost to old adversary Nicole Bird 6 in the fifth game for Essex to go 3-1 down. The scores were brought level when Ryan beat Ben Tombs 3-0 and Sam did the same to Milan. Jane then beat Bhavika on three 4’s and Stephanie lost 3-0 for the score to stand at 4-4. Ryan was 2-0 down to Alex but fought back to take the next two close games only to lose a fluctuating decider to 8. On the other table Livingstone lost a closely fought match with Ben 3-1 for the Team’s first ever defeat. Thus Essex were now a point behind Northants and needed a win over the unbeaten Leicestershire team to overtake Northants and finish level on points with their opponents.
Again another match where the Scoresheet shows there was never more than one set difference throughout the whole of the match. Essex started well with Ryan, having lost a close first game to Eddie Lyons winning the next three comfortably but Livingstone was unable to convert his game point against Tobit Dehnen in the fourth game to a it to a deciding game. Jane and Stephanie both had comfortable 3-0 wins against Shreya Mehta and Aimee Gardner to put Essex 3-1 up. Sam then lost 3-0 to number one Adam Cross and Livingstone lost another marathon for him, -4, 12, 9, 3, 8, to Eddie for the match to be squared. Jane and Stephanie then won their girls matches, Jane by 4, 0, 1 and Stephanie by 7, 6, -11, 8 to leave it to the boys for the one win required. Both gave there all but it was not to be. After being 2-0 up Ryan lost -7, -6, 8, 7, 7 to Adam and Sam 5, -12. 9, 8 to Tobit. A win in either of those two matches would have made points and sets level for both teams and a games count back for the Title. As it was Leicestershire took the Title and Northants and Essex finished with equal points and sets in second place.
Organiser Malcolm Macfarlane thought games difference was so close he was not prepared to give an opinion (rightly so) until he had checked back through all the results sheets (those on the day and the December ones) to come up with the answer. When I got home on the Sunday evening from the Junior Premier matches at nearby Wednesbury the Internet was down so I had to wait until Monday to find out how close the result was. And close it was. Not only were points won and sets won and lost the same so were the games won (132 to each team) and the deciding factor was the least games lost, Northants 89 and Essex 87. So Essex took the runners up spot by losing just 2 less games than Northants.
So congratulations to the team on securing the runners up position in the Division in their first season in the County Cadet Championships and commiserations for what might have been had they secured a win in either of the last two matches against Leicestershire.
Ryan Williams 6 out of 8, Sam Lowman 2 out of 8, Livingstone Nadarajah 2 out of 8, Stephanie Cross 5 out of 7, Jane Li 6 out of 8.
Thanks to Keith Williams for coaching the Team and the parents for transporting the players to the venues..
Arthur C. Clark
Essex Junior Match Secretary