CADET COUNTY CHAMPIONSHIPS - DIVISION 1A, 7 OCTOBER 2017
The first round of County Cadet Division 1A matches were played at the Grange School, Christchurch, Dorset, on Saturday 7 October 2017 with four rounds of matches played. With long journeys ahead of them Daniel Zeffie and Olivia Jones travelled down the previous evening with their parents and coach Kieran Skeggs as did Maliha Baig and her father but by train. Daniel Young and Ben Sivathanu both had the early morning alarm call for the three hour journey. For all these players it would be the initiation to County Championship representation for Essex. A tough time for the team was expected as the three top ranked Essex Cadet players were unable to play. All matches were played on two tables. Red figures in brackets are the current ranking points of the player.
For their first match they had to play Dorset 1. For the opening two matches Daniel Zeffie (346) played Jack Trafford (837 and the highest ranked player Essex would play all day) and lost 3-1 whilst on the other table Ben Sivathanu (328) had to play Jordan Pang (322) with the match going the full distance before Ben lost 7, -11, -6, 8, -10 after having game points to win the second and last games. Maliha (280) then made the match score 1-2 when defeating Jess Moggeridge (240) 8, 5, 8 but Olivia (84) lost to Sophie Bargsai 3-1 after winning the first game. Sadly that was the only match that Essex won although Olivia’s match with Jess went to five games and Daniel Young (348) lost narrowly to Jack 7, 10, 11. Matt Stanfield (489) beat both Daniel Young and Ben.
For the second round of matches Essex had to play Devon who had been relegated from the Premier Division last season and intent on going straight back up after thrashing Middlesex 9-1 in the first round. Maliha and Olivia were no match for Gemma Kerr (957) and Mari Baldwin (933) losing all four matches easily 3-0. Daniel Zeffie achieved the only Essex win, a hard earned 8, 9, -13, 11 over the much higher ranked Jakub Piwowar (596). Daniel took a game off both Herbie Sage (714) and Oliver Cornish (566) and Ben managed one from Jakub.
For the next round bottom team Essex met the team just above them in the Table, Sussex 2, who had lost 8-2 to Surrey 2 and 7-3 to Middlesex. This was a real close match. Daniel Young beat Allessio Marocco (583) 13-11 in the fourth game after losing the first but on the other table Ben lost to Sam Watts (467) 3-0. Olivia had a marathon match with Ellesse Trangmar (119) ending in a nail biting 12, 6, -8, -2, 9 win whilst Maliha beat Sasha O’Halloran (98) 3-0 and went on to beat Ellesse 3-0 as well. Olivia had another stamina sapping match with Sasha but this time the nail biting did not work, Olivia losing the last three points and the deciding game 8-11. Daniel Zeffie’s match with Jacob Evans (615) also went to a deciding game which he lost -10, 6, -10, 8, -8 while Ben’s 3-1 win over Allessio was his first of the day. At this stage the match score was 5-3 to Essex. Daniel Young then lost 3-0 to Jacob and it was left to Daniel Zeffie to beat Sam 3-1 and gain Essex two precious points with the 6-4 win. Well done to the boys and Olivia for all winning matches against higher ranked opposition.
In the days final round the opponents were Glamorgan 2. At the time I knew that they had lost their two previous matches both 6-4 but what I did not know was that it was the girls who won the four in each match. Fortunately this match followed the same pattern. The boys won their six against Harry Jones (214), Evan O’Connor (193) and Elliott Jones, Daniel Young needing a fourth game in both his matches and Ben a fourth against Evan while Maliha and Olivia were no match for Lauren Stacey (363) and Grace Clemment.
For the remaining matches the Division has been split in to two halves, Essex, Surrey 2 and Middlesex 2 will play one another on 11 November at Earls Colne whilst the western half of the Division, Devon, Dorset 1, Glamorgan 2 and Sussex 2 have yet to agree a date and venue for their matches.
A great come back after the first two tough matches and a pleasing start to their hoped for Essex careers. Also thanks to coach Kieran Skeggs for mastering the task of watching matches on two tables at the same time and giving the players advice accordingly. I hope he enloyed his day as much as the players. I think a draw with Middlesex or Surrey (or both) will be sufficient for the team to avoid relegation bearing in mind that Sussex and Glamorgan both have to play Devon and Dorset.
Arthur C. Clark
Essex Junior Match Secretary and Cadet Division 1A Organiser.