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NYCA Under 14 Sunday, November 19
Keith Tunstall writes:

The latest outing for the under 14 team this year was the NYCA U14 team competition at Arden school, on the outskirts of Birmingham. In fact 11 of the 12 players can actually play in the same event next year... There were a range of ages in the team which augers well for years to come:

1 - U14
5 - U13
2 - U12
2 - U11
2 - U10

Ten teams took part in the under 14 competition and 4 teams in the under 18. We haven't aged the current tranche of Berkshire children yet, so we only took a team for the under 14 event. As usual the competition was fierce.

Berkshire started well with a 50% score in round 1 to lie in equal sixth place. What was especially pleasing was the maturity that eveyone showed throughout the day. This showed in the number of draws that came back in round 1 (4) and the fact that the first Berkshire game to finish took 27 minutes (out of 90), rather than the often 5-10 minutes...

In round 2 we slipped just half a point to 5½ to lie in sixth place outright. Now two points behind Warwickshire who we were equal with in round 1. At one point in this round it was looking really promising, with 5½ / 8. However, the last four results that came in were all loses. :-(

So on to round 3, where someone in the Sussex team room must have suggested they would walk home if they didn't improve on their second place standing at the end of round 2. They came in with a 100% round. Something which I don't recall seeing in a county match like this (that I've been to ;-). Meanwhile, Berkshire returned their best round score so far - 7½ (19/36), to keep our sixth place standing. We were now just one point behind Warwickshire. In this round the team maturity showed through again. Of the last five games being played in all competitions, four involved Berkshire players. Sadly we only got 1½ points from these four games, but the tenacity of the team was clear to see. Especially Ben Vandersluis who never gave up and nearly salvaged a draw against Kent in this round, but the clock was against him.

The final round. A great target - to overhaul Warwickshire and to avoid the usual dip that Berkshire teams sometime suffer at the end of a long day. Here the team did themselves proud. After the first eight games we hadn't lost and had 6½ points. Even though we lost the next two games, after 1:17 of playing time, we finished strongly with the top two boards turning in wins against Sussex and Warwickshire, to finish with our best round score of the day (8½). In fact the game against Warwickshire was the very last game of the day to finish. Thus we succeeded in overhauling Warwickshire to finish a fantastic fifth place overall on 27½ points.

Yet again it was a real pleasure to guide this team. Congratulations to James Holland who was unbeaten on the day with 3½ points and as usual, a special mention for the 100% players in the team. This time it was Ryan Chen and George Tunstall.

Thanks, as always, to the transport agents (parents) and the players who gave their all.

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