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NYCA Under 18 and Under 14 Sunday, September 23
Jim Wadsworth writes:

Click for larger photo
Click for larger photo

In the first county match of the 2012/13 season, Berkshire's U18s ended up as close to the medals as it was possible to be, but fell agonisingly short. In what was a very close-fought NYCA competition, Berkshire finished 4th, just half a point off sharing 2nd place.

But we should be very positive about the team's early season performance: this was a fairly young group with an average age of less than 15; everyone contributed to the overall score; and the team even included a player making his debut at this level. Specifically Marcus Smith - who accredited himself extremely well (indeed, with a little more experience he could well have ended up on 100%. In any event his 2 points from 3 was a terrific start).

Round 1 betrayed a little rustiness in some cases, reflected in the scores achieved. However, after a brief team managerial plea between rounds for players to use their allotted time more wisely, round 2 was much more like it - especially pleasing was to see Max Papachristos's win with just seconds left on the clock (a feat he later repeated in round 3). We were going into the final round in joint third place.

What would the outcome be? Well, we knew it was close but - only as the prize giving ceremony was kicking off - we found that we had just been pipped at the post. A shame, but no disgrace in what was a strong competition, featuring some of the country's top juniors. Berkshire was by no means unique in including international players in its selection - though we were certainly the only county to field two players (specifically Roy Zhang and Daniel Noel) who had just returned from successfully representing England at the U16 Olympiad in Turkey!

Congratulations to Matthew Wadsworth for his 100% score (winning a medal as the team's top scoring player) and also to Ragul Sudhakar for his typically solid and undefeated performance. Thanks to all the players for their commitment and enthusiasm; and as always my particular thanks to the parents for providing transport and encouragement.


Under 14 team manager Paul Moody reports:

Well they say that getting a county team together becomes tougher after the players get past 11 years and I discovered the truth of that on my first outing as a Team Manager while preparing for this event!

In the event we had a pretty useful team but we also had some very stiff opposition which finally found us in 7th place out of 10.

Sadly, at the last moment, Neville Birdi was unable to play however we were very lucky to have had one available substitute.

Young Nicholas Vallis had come with his father and brother Luke and agreed to play for the team. At 7 years he was half the age limit for the of the tournament and with a Berkshire grade of only 625 he was certainly not the strongest player even on the lowest (12) board!

Having said that, he acquitted himself excellently well and scored one win against a Kent player. The Kent team came 3rd.

Overall the team scored 15½ points out of a possible 30. As this was less than the average of all the team scores (17½) it cannot be said to be a triumph. However, as I said, the opposition was very strong with the first 3 places going to South Wales (29½ points), Sussex (28½) and Kent (25½).

Richard Zhu and Luke Vallis proved to be the heroes of the hour with 2½ and 3 points respectively. There was an individual medal for the player scoring the best result for each team and this was awarded to Luke Vallis.

Related links

Under 18s:
Results
Last Season's Results

Under 14s:
Results
Last Season's Results