For the second year in a row, the Irish teams took home both Millfield titles – though this year at least, St Benildus were in on the act, romping home in the Majors.
The tournament started with a bit of a disappointment as we narrowly failed to match last year’s achievement of qualifying for the top section, despite a solid score of 13½/24. However, things soon turned around, and the first day ended with a round of 11½/12, a sign of things to come!
By the end, we were 6½ points clear of the hosts with a score of 52/60 – possibly a competition record, and one which gave an average score of 10½/12! The result meant a first win in the section since 2009.
Six players took home board prizes – Mihailo on board 2, Finn (5), Seán (7), Cal (8), Ben (9) and Tim (10). Cal was the only player to record a perfect 7/7, while Diarmaid nearly matched it only to lose one game when his opponent ran down his clock with a series of checks while losing – this cost Diarmaid both the game and the board prize.
The B team struggled along, picking up a mere 7½/60 to finish eighth of the nine teams – but they can surely take comfort that most of the title-winning A team started off in a similar manner!
In the Championship, Gonzaga were again victorious, becoming the first Irish team to win the title twice in a row. Conor O’Donnell FM took a board prize on board 1 with 7/7, and was named Player of the Tournament. He joins such names as Sam Collins, Mark Quinn, Brian Kelly and Michael Adams, all of whom have gone on to greater things afterwards!
As always, thanks to Frank & Co for leading the travelling party. This year’s commitment involved missing not only Ireland v France in the rugby (on 80 miles away Cardiff at around the time of the prizegiving – making travel arrangements particularly awkward), but also Ireland v Germany and Ireland Poland in the football, both of which kicked off within five minutes of the flights to and from the tournament!