The 2012 National Championships were held at the Potters Leisure
Resort, over the weekend of 5th - 7th October.
The weekend started well for Cambridgeshire, Suffolk and Essex
who all started with 3 wins out of 3 in the first session, while
South Tyneside and Bedfordshire both won 2 and lost 1.
The second session saw Cambridgeshire and
Suffolk record another 3 wins, while Essex recorded their first
loss to drop 2 points off the lead. Bedfordshire took another
2 wins and were now fourth.
While Cambridgeshire maintained their perfect
record through the third session Suffolk lost theirs, giving
Cambridgeshire a clear 2 point lead. Essex were a further 2 points
back, although they were fully 5 points clear of the next team,
South Tyneside, who headed a pack of seven teams who themselves
were covered by just 5 points. That included Sunderland who picked
up 6 points in the session after having picked up just 2 in the
previous 6 games, and Durham who took a couple of wins to finally
get themselves off the mark.
Twelve games and 4 sessions in and Cambridgeshire
had still not dropped a point. They now led by 3 points as Suffolk
beat Essex 5-1, leaving Essex 6 points adrift of second place.
Sunderland were now picking up the pace, another maximum points
haul brought them up to fourth place, just a point behind Essex,
while South Tyneside were maintaining their solid run and were
It took all the way up until the fifth
session for Cambridgeshire to finally drop a point, but even
then they extended their lead as a bad session for Suffolk dropped
them to 6 points behind. However they themselves were still 4
points clear of 3rd which was now a tie between South Tyneside
The next session saw the top 2 teams playing
one another, giving Suffolk an opportunity to catch up with Cambridgeshire,
if not at least close some ground on them. But Cambridgeshire
came out on top, taking 5 of the 6 points from the encounter.
And with Essex taking 6 points from the session they now moved
up into second place, nine points behind the leaders, while Suffolk
dropped to third, only one point ahead of South Tyneside, with
Sunderland a further 2 points back.
The seventh session of the day saw Cambridgeshire
record their first loss. Suffolk took 3 wins which moved them
back into second, cutting the lead very slightly. Meanwhile Sunderland
and Essex were tied for third, 3 points off second place and
11 points behind the leaders. South Tyneside were next, followed
by Hertfordshire who were in a solid 6th place. But behind those
teams there was a huge struggle amongst the last four teams who
were covered by just 2 points. Durham, Norfolk and Northumberland
were all on 12 points, while Bedfordshire had faltered after
a strong start and were in last place on 10 points.
The penultimate session saw Cambridgeshire
take another maximum to extend their lead back up to 10 points
as Suffolk dropped a game. A further five points back Sunderland
and Essex were still locked together in 3rd place.
Saturday's final games saw Cambridgeshire,
Suffolk and Essex all record 3 wins to secure themselves safely
into the top 3 positions. Cambridgeshire had had a tremendous
day with only one loss and 2 draws from 27 games, to finish the
first day on 50 points. Suffolk were all of 10 points adrift
of the leaders, while Essex were a further 5 points back on 35
points. Sunderland were safely in fourth place with 31 points,
but the bottom 6 teams were all much closer. The surpise package
so far, South Tyneside led the pack on 23 points, Hertfordshire
were just 2 points behind, while they had Durham just a point
behind them on 20 points. Norfolk and Northumberland were only
just behind on 18 points while in last place, slightly adrift
on 14 points, after having made a promising start in the first
couple of sessions.
Cambridgeshire started off the day with a dropped point, allowing
Suffolk to close the gap slightly, to 9 points. Meanwhile Sunderland
failed to score which left the now 8 points behind third placed
Cambridgeshire lost only their second game
of the weekend in the day's second session, but Suffolk also
dropped a game, missing out on the opportunity to get any closer
to the leaders. Essex took all three wins to close the gap to
the top slightly, while Sunderland again failed to score. They
now had Hertfordshire only 2 points behind them.
The top two teams took maximum points for
the first time on Sunday in the third session of the day, while
Essex were only able to score one win and were falling further
Halfway through the final day and Cambridgeshire
had their lead back up to 10 points. They were now on 69, Suffolk
were on 59 and Essex on 50. Sunderland had re-established themselves
in fourth place on 42 points, nicely ahead of Hertfordshire who
led a closely packed group. Herts were on 34 points, Durham were
2 behind and South Tyneside were a further one point beind on
31 points. Norfolk were on 29, Northumberland had 26 and at the
tail of the field Bedfordshire were now 8 points adrift on 18
Cambridgeshire extended that lead to 12
points over Suffolk with another 3 wins in the next session,
with Essex closing the gap to second spot by a couple of points.
Durham moved up to 5th, shuffling Hertfordshire down one place
in the standings.
Suffolk's only chance of making a run at
Cambridgeshire would be in the next session, as the two teams
played one another. As it was Cambridgeshire had the better of
it, taking 2 of the 3 games and further extending their lead
to 14 points.
With a 14 point lead Cambridgeshire knew
that if they won all of their games in the next session they
would be sure of retaining the title. And they did just exactly
that. As it was Suffolk lost one of their games which meant that
they were now 16 points behind with fully 2 sessions and half
a dozen games still to be played.
The penultimate session saw the top two
teams once again achieve maximum points and by now all top three
positions were settled.
After a promising start Bedfordshire had dropped to the bottom
of the standings during Saturday's play and had stayed there
all through Sunday, despite a better second day.
Hertfordshire had sat as high as 5th place
up until the middle of Sunday's play, but a a disappointing afternoon
which saw the unable to take a single point from their last 15
games saw them fall to 9th place by the end.
South Tyneside were another team who had
started strongly and were up to fourth place during Saturday's
play, but Sunday went less well for them and they eventually
slid down to finish 8th, albeit an improvement on the previous
Following on from an impressive 3rd place
showing last year Norfolk might have expected better than their
eventual 7th place, but it was at least something of a recovery
from a poor start to the weekend which had seen them as low as
9th early on Sunday.
It was, though, a better year for Northumberland.
Last year they finished 9th, this year they moved up to 6th,
although they were just one point ahead of both Norfolk and South
Well into Saturday afternoon Durham had
been languishing at the bottom of the standings, a surprisingly
poor start had seen them yield just 6 points from their first
18 games. However they earned 50 points in their final 36 games,
pulling them up to a respectable 5th place, only 2 points behind
the best placed Northern team.
And it was Sunderland held that honour.
They also started slowly, but were up to third by Saturday afternoon.
However Sunday say them fall away from the top three teams, although
they were able to hang on to 4th spot despite a rapidly closing
Essex achieved their best showing in the
Championships with an impressive 3rd place finish, a position
which they held from pretty much the entire weekend, repelling
the challenge of Sunderland to finish 12 points clear of the
4th placed team.
Once again the fight for the top spot was
between Cambridgeshire and Suffolk. In past years Suffolk's tally
of 81 points might well have been enough to take the title, but
this year it was not even close. They finished all of 16 points
behind a hugely impressive Cambridgeshire team who finished with
97 points from a maximum possible 108 points, having recorded
an unprecedented 47 wins from 54 games. They led from the very
start and were never headed and thoroughly deserved to take the
title yet again.
You can download a full copy of the results