Within the space of two days – 30th and 31st May 2023 – two Championships were decided.
Wanstead & Woodford CC – Essex League Champions
The first phase of the competition, a single round of seven matches all-play-all, WW finished in second spot with 11 points, a point behind leaders Writtle on 12. The format this season then required a further three matches with the top four in the Division playing each other again for the Championship and the bottom four teams playing off for the wooden spoon and relegation. Only a point behind and with a win counting two points, we still had matters in our own hands. First up was Barking away, but played at Ilford CC; we won 5-3. Then the critical clash with Writtle, away. A tense match finished all square, 4-4, but crucially this meant we now had to rely on Barking, Writtle having already accounted for a weakened Brentwood by 7-1. The last of our three play-off games was against Brentwood, but this was conceded by Brentwood when they couldn’t raise a team. Now we were Barking supporters. The final match was played 31 May when Barking did the business holding Writtle to a 4-4 draw. So WW and Writtle finished tied on 16 points but the tie-break, our head-to-head with Writtle, made WW Champions, based on our stonking 6-2 victory over Writtle in the first phase match.
Many congratulations to the first team squad and to skipper Mark Murrell on our 10th Essex League Championship.
Our other three teams didn’t do badly, either: runners up in the other two divisions and the Minor League.
John Cawdery – Wanstead & Woodford Club Champion
The Club Championship followed very closely the format of the Essex League Division 1, the initial tournament being seven rounds, which finished with a play-off. John Cawdery and Ashley Freeman having finished tied on 6/7. The two game play-off was effectively decided in a double blunder in Game 1: John, a pawn to the good, made a time-shortage slip leaving a bishop en prise which Ashley failed to notice and John went on to win. Ashley now had to win the second game, with the black pieces, but went down trying.
So 2-0 to John, who completes a hat-trick of Club Championships – the first three Club Championships he has played in! Many congratulations, John!