Essex League Division 1.

P

W

D

L

Pts

Wanstead & Woodford

10 7 3 0 17

Writtle

9 7 1 1 15

Southend

8 5 2 1 12

Ilford

7 5 1 1 11

Upminster

10 4 2 4 10

Eastbrook

8 4 2 2 10

Powdermill

10 4 0 6 8

Basildon

9 2 1 6 5

Brentwood

9 2 1 6 5

Grays

10 2 0 8 4

Edmonton

10 1 1 8 3
100 43 14 43 100

Ilford Writtle

1 Philip Rossiter adj Karl Bowden

2 David Coleman 0 - 1 Andreas Plug

3 Jon Manley 1 - 0 Graham Moore

4 Jeff Goldberg 0 - 1 Eddie Dearing

5 Bill Saunders 0 - 1 Jim Burnet

6 Fred Dorn 1 - 0 Ivan Myall

7 Ross Walker 0 - 1 Robert Parker

8 Sid Kalinsky .5 - .5 Ivor Smith

9 Tim Hebbes adj. David Millward

10 Tony Kent .5 - .5 Pat McDermott

3 - 5

A hard-fought election night battle failed to deliver the Writtle landslide which at one time looked likely. It is not often that Ilford are outgraded, but in this match the visitors assembled one of the strongest teams seen in Essex in recent years. Jon Manley alone amongst the Ilford contingent outgraded his opponent, and the Writtle grading advantage was on average more than 6 points per board. Russell White's absence from the Writtle side was due to a political commitment.

Until the last few minutes, it did indeed appear that Writtle were heading for a victory which would have placed them alongside Wanstead at the top of the table. However, David Millward blundered twice in a position in which he had previously been cruising to victory against Ilford's top junior, and Karl Bowden feels very disinclined to continue against Philip Rossiter. Although neither game is yet finished, it seems very unlikely that the Writtle players will wish to continue. It is not often that Karl Bowden is beaten with the white pieces.

Even if Writtle do succeed in gleaning an unlikely draw from one of the two outstanding games, Wanstead & Woodford will still be declared Champions of the Essex League for the 1996-97 season, which will be a very welcome occurrence for them after last year's pain associated with losing the play-off against Eastbrook. The first tie break is the result of the match between the two tying sides, which Wanstead won 5.5 - 4.5.

Ilford's likely final position will be no higher than fourth. They still have a potential embarrassment in the form of an outstanding match against Brentwood in which there are two unfinished games and the scored is currently 4.5 - 3.5 in Brentwood's favour. On a recent visit to Southend, Ilford lost 6 - 4, the first time Ilford have lost to Southend since Harold McMillan was prime minister.

Southend still have two unfinished matches. They are 5 - 3 up against Eastbrook and are confident of both points from that, and against Basildon the score stands at 4.5 - 4.5. Southend are claiming the win in that and this would place them level with Writtle on 16 points, their best performance for about 30 years. However, Southend still have an appeal outstanding concerning a ruling made in their tied match against Upminster. Given that Committees tend not to reverse decisions, it is probable that Wanstead are safe as Champions. However, if everything goes Southend's way they too will finish on 17 points and that eventuality would bring about a play-off for the second consecutive season.

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Basildon beat Powdermill for the first time ever this season. Here is one of the key games.

Turner, T.J - Lutton, J.A.

Essex League, Basildon v Powdermill, 1997

1.b3 e5 2.Bb2 Nc6 3.e3 d6 4.Bb5 Bd7 5.Nf3 Nge7 6.0-0 Ng6 7.c4 Be7 8.d4 e4 9.Nfd2 f5 10.f3 Bg5 11.f4 Bf6 12.Bxc6 bxc6 13.Nc3 h5 14.b4 a6 15.a4 Ne7 16.Qb3 g5 17.Ne2 d5 18.fxg5 Bxg5 19.Nf4 Rb8 20.Ba3 Rh6 21.cxd5 Bxf4 22.dxc6 Bxc6 23.Rxf4 Bd5 24.Qc3 Qd7 25.b5 axb5 26.axb5 Rxb5 27.Bc5 Ng6 28.Rf2 Nh4 29.Nc4 Qg7 30.Ne5 Nf3+ 31.Nxf3 exf3 32.Qe1 Rg6 33.g3 h4 34.Qf1 Rb8 35.Qd1 hxg3 36.Qa4+ Bc6 0-1