Essex U11s take bronze and qualify for the finals.

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Team Managaer Mark MacCallum reports:-

U11s Third at EPSCA East Zone Qualifier

 The Essex Under 11s competed at the EPSCA Under 11 East Zone at Sir John Cass Foundation Primary School, in Aldgate, London on 9th March 2018.  The other teams competing for a place at the National Final were Barnet, Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire, Kent, Newham, Richmond and Suffolk.

 The East zone is probably the strongest zone so it was going to be hard to get in the top five to qualify for the final.  At least we had an easy venue to get to and no “mini beast from the east” this time.  However, as with last year, cross rail work meant most of our trains had been replaced with busses.

 Still everyone made it and after a delay and a little confusion over the pairing slips, round one began.  The usual flurry of early wins and the odd loss came and after half an hour the team had 5.5 points out of 8, which included a good draw for Linnards and a win for Ishita.  Then things tend to slow down as the opponents are more evenly matched and unfortunately so did the points with three wins and four losses over the next thirty minutes – this did include a good win for Dinil and Charlotte W.  Harry came in with his win at around the hour mark, followed by Max P with a draw against Richmond. Ten minutes later was Jixuan who put up a tremendous fight against his much higher graded opponent but just couldn’t prevent the loss. Another 15 minutes and another close loss in similar circumstances for Zoe.  Last to finish (last game in the hall) was Jerry with a fine win against Kent.  So, a struggle but 11 points and 4th place.

 Round two started in similar fashion to round one – this time with 6 points out of 8 – this included good wins for Sebastian, Leonard and Louis.  Then came a couple of losses and a superb draw for Rares against a much higher graded opponent (actually his opponent was lucky to get away with a draw!) and after that the team only dropped two more points, with fine wins for Nina, Rezin, Max P, Max Y, Mae, Jerry and finally Olga.  A team score of 13.5 points meant a move up to 3rd place behind Kent and Richmond, but only half a point ahead of Barnet.

 The third round is always difficult as concentration starts to dip and not unusually started with a loss. By the half hour mark the team had scored 6/9, which included good wins for Charlie and Jixuan.  Then came another couple of losses to worry the manager, however a great run of six wins over the next quarter of an hour and the manager was confident of qualification, but would the team medal – this was not looking good as three of our losses this round had been against Barnet and after our good run, we had two losses for Leonard and Maheep after very long battles against stronger opponents.  Everyone was getting nervous whilst we waited for Harry game to finish which after another 40 minutes concluded with a three-move repetition draw – neither could find a way through.

 A final round score of 12.5 points and an overall score of 37 points was an excellent result against some very strong teams and was good enough to keep us above Barnet for third place. All the team members played really well and there was a tremendous team spirit throughout the day. I must say I really enjoyed being the manager of such a great bunch of children.

 Most of the team stayed to get their medals and can be seen in photo, however Charlotte E had to leave early so gets a mention here.

 Thanks to all our volunteer board stewards and thanks to the coaches, parents and supporters.  Thanks also to chief arbiter Marc Shaw and thanks to Richard Harding, Alan Bright and their Newham team for organising the day. 

 Congratulations to the Kent team on winning the event, especially the 20/20 in the third round.

 Finally, well done to the team for an excellent third place. See you in the final!