First of all, the better team won on the day. But it's sad to report that several players who would probably have made the difference were not available for the match.
Held at the comfortable premises of the Lancaster Reform Club, play got underway with Lancashire having about 5 grading points advantage averaged over all boards. Their board one turned up nearly 30 minutes late which seemed to auger well. It didn't!
I had an uneasy feeling early on. Judd Bennett and Steve Fanning had unusually got themselves into very cramped positions, and Steve Murray seemed under a little pressure.
However it was shocks that came from elsewhere. Phil Seery seemed to be working his way to a win when an oversight led to an immediate lost game. Judd Bennett couldn't recover and also lost. A good win from John Beckett restored some belief. A draw from Steve Murray, and then a good win from Jordan Lewis, restored parity at 2½-2½.
Steve Fanning, in his own words, couldn't get going and his opponent played very well to take the point. Woe was compounded when Rob Tokeley's flag fell just as he was about to move into a winning position.
Two down was reduced to 4½-3½ with a win from John Whitfield with some clever endgame tactics. I was able to take a point with some accurate moves and suddenly for the first time there was real hope at 4½-4½. This was squashed almost immediately when Carl Heald had to resign his ending, after looking OK in the early endgame.
Phil Raynor reported he had taken a draw to leave the match at 6-5, which meant only a win from Colin Fisher could draw the match. It wasn't to be, despite Colin willingly trying everything in the ending to try to make the difference.
A good win for Cumbria, a poor performance from us overall (both in the match and with the players not making themselves available for the county) leaves us having to pull out all of the stops, having to beat Yorkshire in the New Year to give us a chance of qualifying for the National Stages.
Bill O'Rourke U160 Captain
|Board||ECF No||PLAYER||Grade||PLAYER||Grade||ECF No|
|1||112418D||Heald, Carl||158||0||1||Barnes, Stephen||154||106264F|
|2||118673F||Seery, Phillip T||158||0||1||Southernwood, Kevin||153||267784C|
|3||120471D||Tokeley, Rob||156||0||1||Siddall, Dave||149||141575L|
|4||267786G||Lewis, Jordan||155||1||0||Horne, George H||149||112989C|
|5||269335F||Bennett, Judd||153||0||1||McAtear, Lewis||148||227560A|
|6||176606F||O'Rourke, William||151||1||0||Rashleigh, Jonathan||147||231801F|
|7||149183A||Fanning, Stephen M||150||0||1||Gawne, Martin P||147||201047B|
|8||121556F||Whitfield, John||144||1||0||Llewellyn, Alan||144||142739J|
|9||103923E||Murray, Steve||149||½||½||McMath, David||136||153163D|
|10||278755G||Beckett, John||147||1||0||Maxwell, Jason||133||267031J|
|11||110614E||Fisher, Colin||146||½||½||O'Dowd, Daniel||130||227477C|
|12||103541B||Raynor, Philip N||140||½||½||Murdoch, Steve||118||163597K|