Sussex qualified for the Minor Counties section of the ECF National Stages this year, a competition for teams with an average grade of under 180. Dix struggled to get together a team, and indeed we ended up defaulting a board, which in the end proved decisive.
The match was played at the Hartspring Community Centre in Bushey, Hertfordshire on Saturday 17th May. It was a hot day and there was congestion on the way round the M25. This, combined with me getting lost close to the venue, meant that I arrived fifteen minutes after what I had been told was the start time, 2 pm. However, when I arrived I discovered that our team captain had got this wrong, and the start time was in fact 1 pm! Our opponents, Leicestershire, sportingly agreed to delay the start as long as possible, but by 1:45 pm it was agreed that they needed to start, given the time until which they had booked the venue.
Whether or not these events are any excuse, I proceeded to play an awful game with White against Ray Burgess. I lost in only 26 moves following a terrible blunder in an admittedly poor position.
The match as a whole was tightly contested, and Leicestershire came out ahead 8.5-7.5. The default therefore proved very costly; a win in that game would have seen us go through.
I give my game below with some notes.