ECF Online Counties Championship - National Stage u1825 Championship SF vs. Lincolnshire match report

ECF Online Counties Championship - National Stage u1825 Championship SF vs. Lincolnshire match report


The u1825 Championship sees an undefeated Mx attempt to defend their record as they enter the KO phase of the ECF's new venture. The pre-match report indicated that if the two were to maintain their group averages then a tight contest would unfold in this the first ever meeting between the two counties. Since the u1825 is a merging of the u160, u140, u120 and u100 when reviewing Mx's match records the two counties had never met in OTB play thus this SF tie was their maiden match. 

Since the tie saw the winner progress to the final and the loser going home it would be expected that both teams would field their strongest possible line-ups. It could be argued Lincolnshire had been doing that throughout the contest to date as they had consistently averaged 127. Mx on the other had been no where near this average. They had been fielding teams closer to an average of 120 thus had yet to show their full strength. You could say that they had been keeping their powder dry. Now that that the cutting edge of the competition began would they exert their full force or would they continue to keep their powder dry in essence keeping faith with the journeymen players who had got them to the SF rather than replace them with the stronger players who had played the odd game? The initial decision was to keep faith in the journeymen this would mean fielding a team consistent with that of the group stage 120. The proposed team would fall short of Lincolnshire's group stage average but the question is would Lincolnshire be able to maintain the team average that had seen them progress to SF? 

As expected Lincolnshire are at full strength. Mx however were more undercooked having unexpectedly losing a few players on eve of match which meant a review of the line-up. Thus rather than going into the match as favourites this is the first match where they are considered underdogs! This position has tended to suit Mx fine for a number of reasons, Habibur and Nadim on 11&12 are having a fantastic competition and Lincolnshire may underestimate them. Second KO matches are gladitorial and Mx teams like nothing better than a fight especially those to the death. KO matches are classic examples of fights to the death. Finally what is a mark of a champion? To face down adversity! On paper the team face adversity but are more than capable of facing it down! If these are not enough to get the fighting juices flowing then consider this, do Mxu1825 want to be one of the few teams who could win with a 100% record? If yes then this is worth fighting for! Mx team ave. 120 Lincolnshire team average 133 Par score Mx lose 4.5-7.5

With your author on duty monitoring MxA, MxB and providing assistance for the National 100 vice captain trying to observe u1825 was a bridge to far so vice captain Steve Coles provides details of how match unfolded.

"The current score is Mx 5.5 Lincs 6.5, unless the default on board 7 is ruled a double default which seems unlikely.

Of the games played, Steve (Madden) scored a quick win, first to finish, unusually for board 1. Siena lost her game, having fallen into an opening trap and struggling thereafter. Keith drew, Mike lost, then three games were decided in quick succession, Roshan won, Habibur won, and Nadim lost. A win from Kian then put us one game ahead on the games played at 4.5-3.5, but at that point a default on board 7 was entered on the scoreboard, so the scores were level at 4.5-4.5. Unfortunately, we were badly placed in all the remaining three games. Julie lost her game in which she had been under pressure throughout. But David turned around a lost B v R ending by winning the Rook! So the scores were level at 5.5-5.5. Sadly Nigel’s ending was unsalvageable, despite his best attempts. So we went down 5.5-6.5.

Subject always to board 7, that is. If this were a double default, rather than a win to Lincs, the score would be 5.5-5.5, and we would win comfortably on board count. But that may be a forlorn hope.

Very unfortunate, and a close match - although to be fair, we were slightly lucky the scores were so close in the end on the games actually played."

Investigation for Bd7 did take place and it was ruled a default win to Lincolnshire. The transgressing Mx player gives his profuse apologies as his absence sees Mx come agonisingly close to overturning the odds! Had Bd7 been played a result other than a Lincolnshire win (very probable) would have seen Mx through. In a word heart-breaking! So close to making it through to the maiden final despite the overwhelming odds. Conspiracy theorists will be at work to find out why after an unblemished competition Mx were to fall at the SF stage. Unlucky guys you deserved so much more and almost got it.

Links to the each game are given for you perusal

Bd7 Mx Default

u1825 Championship SF Results

MxA vs. Lincolnshire Mx lose 5.5-6.5

Essex vs. Northumberland Essex win 6.5-5.5

See here for full results of KO Stage

The thing to notice about the SF results is that the two teams with 100% records fall at the SF stage. Conspiracy theorists have a field day. What are the odds that the two teams who have had perfect records would both fall at the same stage? 

Before bringing the report to an end it is only right to give an idea of some team statistics including best performing Mxu1825 player. 

Best Performing Player Points Most Played Best performance Grading
1st = David 4/4 David 4  Steve 192 (+45)
1st = Roshan 4/4 Roshan 4 Laith 189 (+47)
3rd = Laith 3/3 Julie 4 David 184 (+44)
3rd = Steve 3/3 Siena 4 Kian 178 (+40)
3rd = Kian 3/3 Keith 4  Roshan 171 (+36)
3rd = Julie 3/4 Habibur 4 Jonathan 166 (+26)
3rd = Habibur 3/4 All others 3 or less Keith 145 (+4)

Thanks of course goes to all of the squad players participating in the competition. Mx had 17 players turn out possibly one of the larger u1825 squads in the section. One noticeable fact is the dearth of players in the 100-120 range namely u120 players from at least the OTB squad. It is quite possible that these individuals felt that they in the main would be competing in a higher band and not many would be comfortable doing so. The introduction of the National 100 suggests the Controller recognised got bandings wrong. One clear plus was the number of juniors representing Mx, Kian, Roshan, Julie and Siena were sterling performers; certainly in Julie's and Siena's cases they were playing against individuals with significantly higher grades. It is hoped that these four will continue to play for Mx in both their junior and senior teams. The performances of Kian and Roshan already suggest they would be welcome additions to the OTB u160 and u140 squads. Julie and Siena would equally give the u120 a boost. A special mention goes to Habibur who is not formally attached to any club but resides in the Mx area. He played in all matches, got a creditable 3/4 and a performance of 99. He really ought to consolidate this performance by signing up for a Mx club at the earliest convenience as if he continues in this vein he will be an u140 squad player in no uncertain time. It would of course been interesting to have played matches over 16boards as it would have allowed more individuals to play and maybe would have attracted more players in the absent grade range. 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 Mxu1824 campaign their match reports come to an end.

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