Kidlington Boys A force draw with league leaders, Chiltern A

National Junior League (South), 3rd series, 25/1/14

Over an exciting and exhausting eight hours of play at Cippenham on Saturday, the three Kidlington Forum teams once again showed exemplary commitment, team spirit and stamina. The girls (Kristelle Brook, Vicky Coll and Chloe Yau) have built an unassailable lead in their division, with the youthful Cippenham B team as their nearest challengers, but by now at least 10 points  adrift. They defeated Lingfield Notre Dame A and B 6-0, Cippenham A 5-1, Ellenborough 4-2, and drew 3-3 with Cippenham B, in which Kristelle lost her 100% record and had to come back from 3-8 down in the decider to win her other match.

No 2 player, Vicky Coll kept the ship afloat by winning both of hers.  Vicky (our 15th ranked English Under 13 girl) also scored a notable victory from two games down over Cippenham’s 11th ranked Jemma Walker, while Kristelle reasserted herself with convincing victories over Ellenborough’s Talia Banin-Reid (ranked 9 in U13s), Megan Ashfield and Jemma. Overall both Kristelle and Vicky won 9/10, while Chloe won 6/10.

Boys A (Simon Price, Jonah Stott and Kavan Warrender) won two and drew three, so remarkably went through the day undefeated. They lie in 3rd position in Division 1, not far behind Twickenham Brunswick A, but with a good lead over Reading A, who are 4th.

Kavan began the day poorly against Reading’s Danny Dockree and Chris Johnson, and it needed two wins from Simon to salvage a draw. The team improved with wins over Kidlington B 5-1 and Kingfisher, a very hard fought 4-2, in which Simon saved several match points in the 4th against Michael Jones, before going on to take the 5th; two wins from Jonah were decisive here. Simon then produced his best effort of the day to beat Chiltern A’s Mike Rutherford 3-0. Jonah and Kavan chipped in with one win apiece (Jonah at 11-9 in the 5th) to gain a draw with the league leaders, the only match in the whole season Chiltern had failed to win. 11 year old Reece Chamdal took Jonah’s place for the last match of the day against nearest rivals Twickenham Brunswick A, whose James Corner was untouchable, but both Reece and Kavan defeated no 3 Michael Papior, and Reece (giving away a foot in height) turned on the afterburners in the 5th game to overturn no 2 Alex Gough, thus securing a draw for the team.  We know what Reece is capable of, though it clearly came as a surprise to some of the spectators! By the end of the day Simon had won 6/10, Jonah 5/8, Kavan 5/10 and Reece 2/2.

Boys B (Luke Jobling, Fabian Audifferen, Reece Chamdal and Josh Selby) battled to stay in Division 1 and succeeded. Little went right early on, with Reece suffering from a stomach bug, and two scattered wins from Fabian and Josh keeping the team afloat in defeats at the hands of Chiltern A (1-5), Kidlington A (1-5) and Twickenham A (2-4).  Reece sat out the 3rd match but reappeared to take on Kingfisher, with at least a draw needed to retain our Div 1 status. It was Reece’s transformation which paved the way for survival here, suddenly sparking into life with big wins over James Ellicott (3-0) and Joseph Cornmell (3-1); this left us 2-3 down, with Fabian needing a 3-0 or 3-1 in the last singles to send Kingfisher down on countback and save our own skins – he won 3-0! This was very tough on Kingfisher, a very solid, competitive team, but we went on to take a 3-0 lead against Reading A, only to be pegged back to 3-3 at the end of day.  Final records were: Luke 1/8, Fabian 4/8, Reece 2/6 and Josh 3/8.

Overall this was a wonderfully contested day’s play for all concerned in Boys’ Division 1, and we were delighted to have two teams in the thick of it.

John Birkin (January 27, 2014)