Essex

Lancashire

1

Paul Williamson

0.5 0.5

S. Mulligan

2

Roy Heppinstall

0.5 0.5

R. Taylor

3

Lawrie Marden

1 0

A. Catz (reserve)

4

Ivor Smith

0 1

C. Timmins

5

David Millward

0 1

S. Appleby

6

Peter Doye

0 1

M. Whitehead

7

Sid Kalinsky

0 1

P. Mulleady

8

Terry Whitton

1 0

J. Lyth

9

Colin Ramage

0.5 0.5

S. Riley

10

Neville Twitchell

1 0

S. Woodward

11

Ian Hunnable

1 0

S. Foulkes

12

Andy King

1 0

P. Isherwood

13

Ken Clow

0.5 0.5

J. Allston

14

Andy Hartland

0.5 0.5

J. Tennant-Smith

15

R. Purse

0.5 0.5

P. Furlong

16

M. Weighell

0.5 0.5

A. Clarkson

8.5 7.5

A delay on the railway system somewhere outside Coventry caused more than half of the Lancashire team to be seriously late for this match, played at the Clarendon Suites, Edgbaston. This allowed a Season's Best Performance for John Philpott as, unable to win the toss by normal means, he did so by virtue of the opposing Captain's absence. Thus it was that Paul Williamson, on board 1, achieved his first White of the season.

After some 45 minutes, nine boards were still deserted, as Essex players present and awaiting their opponents stood about chatting in small groups or went to see how the County's other two finalist teams were faring. The pieces on the even-numbered boards, where the Essex players had black, remained undisturbed. The odd-numbered boards had a central pawn or knight moved in each case, all bar one from an anonymous protagonist. Only on board 9, where a pawn stood proudly on g4, could the Essex player be identified. The pawn may well have carried the slogan "Ramage woz 'ere!"

Eventually the Lancashire players arrived, just in time to avoid losses by default, but one felt that it would be the case that their lack of time later in the game would help the Essex cause. Indeed, Essex took an early lead when Terry Whitton won quickly, although this was offset by Peter Doye's loss. Lawrie Marden re-established the Essex lead.

Ian Hunnable won well, but Andy King appeared to be in a real mess. Although he had more material than his opponent, his king was very exposed and black's army was badly placed for defence. Andy looked decidedly edgy as the game progressed, but he kept going and eventually organised his pieces. Once he had done this he forced a pawn to the 7th and his opponent resigned. Neville Twitchell was the final Essex winner, sealing the match with four games outstanding. Neville's opponent carried on for far too long, playing on for some moves when Neville's material advantage was two queens against one rook.

The fact that Essex sealed the match with so many results still to come meant that the pressure was off and John Philpott and the many Essex spectators could relax. However, if the last game to finish had been Andy King's, the atmosphere would have been very different. In the end, in spite of the delay to the Lancashire players, it was a very close finish and it was not possible to point to any game where time-trouble by a Lancashire player was a significant factor. Another half-point to Lancashire on any board and they would have won on a tie break.

This was only the third occasion that an Essex adult team has won a County Championship, the previous occasions being 1958 and 1973 when the first team was triumphant. The success of the 1996-97 under-175 team is a tribute to the excellent organisation of John Philpott and the dedication of his players.

Isherwood, P. - King, A

1997

1.d4 e6 2.e4 d5 3.Nd2 Nf6 4.e5 Nfd7 5.c3 c5 6.f4 Nc6 7.Ndf3 cxd4 8.cxd4 Qb6 9.g3 Bb4+ 10.Kf2 f6 11.Kg2 0-0 12.Bd3 fxe5 13.fxe5 Be7 14.a3 a5 15.b3 Rd8 16.Nh3 Nf8 17.Nhg5 Bd7 18.h4 Be8 19.h5 h6 20.g4 hxg5 21.h6 g6 22.Bxg5 [Andy thought 22 Nxg5 was stronger] 22...Bxg5 23.Nxg5 Qxd4 24.h7+ Kh8 25.Qf3 Qb2+ 26.Be2 Nd7 27.Raf1 Qxa3 28.Nxe6 Ncxe5 29.Qxd5 Qb2 30.Nxd8 Qxe2+ 31.Rf2 Nf6 32.Rxe2 Nxd5 33.Rf2 Ne3+ 34.Kg3 Nf5+ 35.gxf5 Rxd8 36.Re2 Nc6 37.Rhe1 Bf7 38.Kf4 gxf5 39.Kg5 Nd4 40.Re7 Nf3+ 41.Kf6 Nxe1 42.Kxf7 Nd3 43.Rxb7 f4 44.Rb5 f3 45.Rxa5 f2 46.Rf5 Rd4 47.Kg6 Rf4 0-1