After the successful results back in October when we won both our matches, I had hoped that success might act as a spur to other players to take part, and ensure that momentum was maintained that would see us qualify for the ECF stages of the County Championships. We were able to welcome four new players for their first matches for Herts U160, Paul Walton, Andrew Smith, Francois Swiegers and Ger Reilly, but with an average grade of under 136, our team was statistically the weakest team we have fielded since we joined EACU in 2012.
We had a good start to our morning match against Suffolk with an early win for Ger Reilly, which was followed by wins for the other debutants Andrew Smith and Francois Swiegers, and a win for Andrew Maclaren which for the second season in succession completed a county award performance from him of three wins without intervening defeat. Outside the middle boards it was carnage, as we lost the top six boards and the bottom four boards for a comprehensive defeat by 5 - 11.
We were rather fortunate in October that Norfolk had travel problems which gave us an easy win. Apart from that success, our results against Norfolk have been poor in recent seasons, and this was no different. Although Paul Walton recorded a win on his debut for the county, our only other winners were Corinne Mountford and Mir Wali as we subsided to a 7 - 9 defeat.