ECF Online Counties Championship - National Stage Open Challengers  F vs. Oxfordshire match report

ECF Online Counties Championship - National Stage Open Challengers F vs. Oxfordshire match report


The final between these two teams was a reprise of the Group Stage match one of four. For details of past Mx 2nd vs. Oxfordshire 1st contests read the original match report. Since this was the final dwelling on past performance no matter how recent should be considered irrelevant. The final is a new match, with its own unique conditions. However, for those who are unwilling or cannot resist looking to the past it must be remembered that the Group Match was a close affair on a number of quarters. Oxfordshire were the sole team to outgrade MxB if only because key personnel were floated up to help MxA's cause against Devon so MxB's 162 average would not have been a true reflection of their strength. Despite being slightly outgraded MxB achieves a 6.5-5.5 win. Notwithstanding the final is a tabla rasa. Any thoughts the previous match would influence the outcome of this match should be firmly shelved.

With the final now upon both teams the first question that would be asked in light of the relative balance between the teams at the group stage is, 'What would the relative strengths of the teams be'? With the exception of the Oxfordshire match MxB in the Group stage have tended to stronger than their opponents as they have averaged 164; their 166 line-up against Shropshire indicative of their brute strength. If need be MxB could get even stronger as Colin was absent for the SF, Julian willing to be on standby and even your author as demonstrated by disastrous showing against Derbyshire could be called upon. It is known that being a playing captain affects quality of play and even more so the more teams overseen. Thus if your author were called upon to play he would only have one match to focus on instead of the three after assaying a game against Derbyshire. In short MxB knew that if they called out their absolute first string it would close in on a 170 average which has been more than sufficient to the the u180 OTB title (u180 Champion average 168; strongest u180 team average 169). Oxfordshire on the other hand have steadily fielded 156 so if facing a full strength MxB side would be under severe pressure, in fact this is weaker than the u180 runner average 165 and only marginally better than than the 154 of Cambridgeshire in the 2012-13 final when they averaged 154. In short MxB could call upon three new players to bolster the side whereas Oxfordshire hand none.

If that wasn't bad enough for Oxfordshire to contend with they also had to consider that they were dealing with a team seeking to emulate Rugby Union's All Blacks (2013) and England (2016) teams or even the Miami Dolphins (1972) and that is to achieve the rarity in sport that of the perfect season. However to be fair Mx's second team has achieved perfect seasons before these being under Ray Jennings (1983-84 P11 W11) and your author (2011-12 P7 W7) so achieving another would just add to their accolades! In short just like many teams before them Oxfordshire would have to perform above and beyond themselves in order to prevent MxB from attaining history. However, Oxfordshire must take comfort in the fact they nearly defeat MxB in the Group Stage, how must they be rueing the opportunity not to have taken the chance of doing so! However, it did give Oxfordshire a reason to upset the odds - revenge! What is that Shakespeare said, "Revenge is a dish best served cold!" Oxfordshire were given an opportunity to seek revenge , of this MxB would be mindful. One way they could try and get it was to play over 12boards but unlike what happens when this is done against MxA and Mxu1825 the advantage would swing significantly to MxB rather than their opponent. Oxfordshire were clearly between a rock and a hard place, how could they effectively stop the MxB juggernaut? Mx team ave. 152 Oxfordshire team ave. 140 Par score Mx win 15-9

Oxfordshire already had a tough ask so to lose one player due to illness and another defaulting almost made in an impossible one. Think Sisyphus rolling the rock up the mountain only to find it rolling to the bottom when he almost reaches the goal. With Mx 2up it is not long before other results start coming in asserting their superiority over their rivals. Wins for Kian, Manmay and Siena punctuated by Ian's draw sees Mx build a healthy lead. Mx lead 5.5-0.5

MxB have proven to be good front runners and have traditionally built on their lead; this case was no exception. Although Oxfordshire rally and secure a number of victories in the next 6games to finish this did not deter Mx from achieving their goal. Oxfordshire were to only attain another 2pts from the remaining games as Mx continued to pile on the agony. The par score was looking generous to Oxfordshire as Mx run away with the match final score Mx win 17-7. The victory meant that not only are Mx crowned champions they do so with a perfect record P7 W7. There are not too many teams that can say that Mx on the other hand have a history of achieving such success beginning in 1908 when after affiliating to SCCU they win both the Regional and National titles without dropping a match! It is good to see that this tradition continues!

Congratulations to the team and the squad for writing their names to the annals of Mx history. This is one record that can never be erased.

For the record had the match been played over 12boards then stats would be: Mx team average: 162 Oxfordshire team average:157 Par score:  Final score Mx win 7-5

See full results of the final here

The games links are given here for your perusal.

Bd7 Mx win by default

Bd21 Mx win by default


Before bringing the report to an end it is only right to give an idea of some team statistics including best performing MxB player.

Best Performing Player (Points) (min.3) Most Played Best Performing Player (Grade)(min.3)
1st Leon Fincham 6.5pts Leon (7) Xavier Cowan 183 (+30)
2nd Jason Covey 5pts Jack Sheard (7) Yogit  213 (+28)
3rd Manmay Chopra 4.5pts Jason (7) Raghu Kamath 183 (+27)

Leon was run away winner it was a question of how close to perfect he could get. 6.5/7 not bad return! Only Leon, Jason and Jack play in all matches, Manmay really should be on the list but he joins a long list of players who played 6games. He just misses out because of the connection problems in SF but he was an ever present. Although Xavier has best return the plaudits for performance should really go to Yogit. As previously mentioned when playing top board for a second team against firsts it is not unusual to be heavily outgraded. Yogit played some enterprising chess against some of his so-called illustrious opponents. His performance would have been significantly higher had he been able to get something out of the final but nevertheless and impressive performance.

Thanks of course goes to all of the squad players participating in the competition. Mx had 23 players turn out possibly one of the largest Open squads in the section. It would of course been interesting to have played matches over 16boards as it would have allowed more individuals to play. By being reduced to 12boards any 'natural' advantage Mx would have accrued towards the tail over their opponents was negated. It is hoped that now one online competition has been completed should there be future ones they are played over the traditional 16board format.

And so with that parting comment like the MxB campaign their match reports come to an end.

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