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Wales and West of England U14 team championship Saturday, January 26
Keith Tunstall writes:

The Berkshire under 14 team had their second outing in two weeks, this time in the West of England and South Wales Championship. Held at Peter Lea Primary School in the heart of Cardiff. Berkshire were honoured with the use of the staff room as a base of the afternoon. The school made us feel very welcome and fed us well via their excellent canteen.

The under 14 competition was extremely close from the first round, which saw Wales on 7 points leading Devon and Berkshire by just ½ a point. We only lost two games in our 6½/10.

Round two was equally well fought and again we only lost two games. However, with only one draw we posted 7½ points and drew level with Wales (14 points) to lie in equal first place. Devon only dropped ½ a point compared to their first round, to sit in clear third place on 12½.

Thoughts lingered on the glorious 100% round at the NYCA last year... However, it was Wales and Devon who were piling on the points. The first two Berkshire results brought no points and the spectre of last round slumps loomed ominously into view.

The final U14 team talk for Devon must have been one of the few things that Tim Onions didn't do... He was looking after the U11 team, running his book shop (which provided the medals) and coordinating the Devon transport. A busy day.

So back to the chess - Two more games, two wins. Things were looking up. The fifth result a loss. Now 2 from 5 and Wales were opening a lead and Devon had overtaken us too.

By the time we lost our penultimate match to Wales, sealing their victory, we also sat one point behind Devon who had completed all their matches. Second place hung in the balance on the outcome of the last game of the tournament - Berkshire (James Holland) vs. Somerset... James won to leave Devon and Berkshire on 19½ each 3 points behind the winners - Wales.

Using the number of games won in the match, Berkshire (17 wins) were awarded 2nd place and Devon (16 wins) 3rd.

Using the same tie break approach, Devon won the under 9 competition. The U11 result was an emphatic win for Somerset:

Berkshire were only able to take 11 players on the day due to illness. However, Somerset had some extra players so we had a couple of honorary Berkshire players (Liam McEachen and A N Other) on board 12 in the reserve games. Recording 2/3 and earning them the 12th 2nd place medal.

Berkshire even performed well in the raffle winning 2 of the 4 raffle prizes!!

Well done to everyone. There were three players unbeaten on the day - Daniel Noel and George Tunstall and the superstar on 100% was Philip Archer-Lock who played both Wales and Devon.

Many thanks to the parents for the loan of the players for the day and especially to those who drove all the way to Cardiff.

The team spirit was great throughout the day and the team earned the 5th set of 2nd place medals for Berkshire this year. A great result and nearly a giant killing for a county to beat a country ;-)

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