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Under 9 EPSCA Final Saturday, April 26
Jim Wadsworth writes:

Click for larger photo
Click for larger photo
The team finished its season on a high by delivering the second-best result by Berkshire over the last 5 years at the under 9 national final. Overall the team finished on 17½ points, which meant 10th place on the main boards; the reserves were just 1½ points outside the medals. Incidentally, the overall placings once again highlighted how strong "our" zonal competition had been - all 8 of the qualifiers from our zonal finished in the top 11 at the final.

This year Kent were the hosts, and the event took place at what was described as the country's largest school, Crown Woods in Eltham.

Click for larger photo
Click for larger photo
The first two rounds went very well for the main boards. In round one, Ryan Wong had an excellent victory, well controlled throughout with a clinical checkmate at the end. Meantime Alexis Gritsanchouk was completely dominant in his game, and William Pearson won confidently. After the interval during which team photos - both "sensible" and "silly" - were taken, the second round went even better than the first, with particularly good victories for Tom Vandersluis, Joshua Hankins and Dominic Haederle. Matthew Wadsworth was lucky to escape with a draw after putting himself in extreme time trouble; Ryan also drew after a ding-dong battle with a strong player from Nottinghamshire.

At this stage we were in 6th place, ahead of consistently powerful teams such as Wey Valley and Sussex. Unfortunately round 3 did not go to plan, with the unwelcome return of the notorious final round gremlin. We had a lot of swift losses caused by too many blunders. Having said that there were some bright spots, notably Ben Ward beating the Yorkshire board 1; also Kieran Grey winning his game so rapidly that the team manager hadn't made it to the playing area in time to see what happened!

While all this was going on the reserve team had a terrific first round - this after an extended delay whilst the organisers worked out the pairings. Round 2 was however something of a nightmare, with just one draw (which could easily have been a win), for Aisling Cunningham. But in the final round the team returned to form, scoring 3 points from 4. Many thanks are due to Yusuf Hussain, who stepped into the team at relatively late notice.

It was pleasing to see that almost every member of the squad scored points; Joshua and Matthew remained unbeaten throughout the day and deserve particular congratulations for that.

So another under 9 year has now come to an end. The co-managers would like to thank all the players and their parents for their commitment and support. It has been a privilege to look after and coach the team this year. Much appreciated, and have a great summer!

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Results
Last Season's Results