Last night at the club saw 16 members battling for the 2017 Time & Point Handicap. The Walsall Warrior (Rich W) emerged triumphant after an Armageddon style play-off with rapidly improving junior Amy Lovatt as they had completed 5 rounds with scores of 5/5 for Rich and 3/5 for Amy with a 2.5 handicap to take her score to 5.5. The rules stated that anyone scoring 100% would get at least a share of 1st place in the event of any handicap increasing a score above 5 pts.
The scene was set in round 5 with top seed Rich (4/4) playing unbeaten Neville Layhe (3.5/4) on board 1 and Amy Lovatt playing Dylan Sayers on board 2. Rich needed to beat Nev to secure 5/5, and the winner out of Dylan and Amy would end up with 5.5 pts with their handicaps. If Nev could hold Rich to a draw then either Amy or Dylan would be the outright winner. As their games unfolded Rich pounced on a stray queen to beat Nev and Amy picked up small gains to beat Dylan.
Winner: Rich Withshir (5/5) + play-off win.
Runner-up: Amy Lovatt (3/5 + 2.5pts hcap)
3rd: Dylan Sayers (2.5/5+ 2 pts hcap)
Friday night saw the first annual challenge match between Crewe and Cheddleton, played at St Andrew’s Methodist Church. Crewe were grateful for the host team’s patience as two cars got delayed en-route meaning the match did not get under way until shortly after 8pm. First blow was struck by Chedd with choice of colours going in their favour in the 13 board match. Captain Caroline (Mountford) had sportingly picked a team to match Crewe’s much lower based club grades, selecting 7 juniors in their team while Crewe had only 3 juniors available.
First game to finish was a draw on bd 12 between juniors Harry Gardiner and Emma Scotchford before Chedd’s junior James Jones won another junior battle on bd 13. Les Hall soon leveled the match for Crewe with a win on bd 9. Next to finish were juniors Joe Alcock and Josh Brown both picking up wins for Chedd to put the hosts in a commanding position before Amy Lovatt played very patiently to win the bd 11 game and keep Crewe in close arrears.
The match turned decisively in Cheddleton’s favour as Colin Abell and Roger Edwards won their games with black pieces in convincing fashion. Draws for father and son Neville and Simon Layhe (grade 97) were good rewards, especially in Simon’s case saving the game where a piece appeared to be trapped against his grade 133 opponent. Karl Lockett won a fine game for Crewe on board 1 to notch up our only success on the top 8 boards. David Hulme was last to finish when battered into submission by Bill Armstrong to leave the final score at 8-5 to Cheddleton.
Immediately the match finished just after 10.45pm Crewe’s captain congratulated Cheddleton on their win in a match played in a fantastic and friendly spirit and laid down the challenge for Cheddleton to reciprocate the event in 2018.
Many thanks to Caroline at Cheddleton for arranging this first challenge match between the two clubs.
Wednesday saw the final match of the NSDCA league season take place with the Division 5 re-arranged match between our E team and Cheddleton’s youthful I team who were sharing bottom rung on the league ladder.
A below normal strength E team put up a spirited fight to hold the visitor’s I team to a draw. Skipper Les came off the substitutes bench to pick up an early draw on board 2. Next to finish was junior Amy Lovatt on board 4 with a win against another junior. James Marshall outgraded by nearly 50 points on board 1 played really well before a slip up cost him a piece and the game. Last to finish was Nigel Gardner with a draw on board 3 to leave the match level and for both teams to end the season on 11 pts from 14 matches, which is far away the best scores in the league for any team propping up a division.
There was good news for Crewe players at last weekend’s Rhyl Congress.
Mart Gill, Les Hall, Dave Price and Chris Rhodes all represented our club and managed to take a share of the team winners prize with local club Rhyl.
Even better was the news that chairman Dave won 1st prize with a score of 4.5/5 in the Minor Section. Mart came joint 3rd with a score of 3.5, while Chris got 1.5 pts. Apparently Les did better in the drinking competition causing him to pick up just the single point.
The D team fielded another new player last night in their final division 5 match of the season against Cheddleton I. Captain Les Hall continues to provide match experience for newcomers that want to take up the challenge with Phil Wright making his debut on board 2.
With Chedd I fielding three juniors and our D team sporting two more juniors both clubs show their commitment to the development of junior talent which is vital for the future of our game.
The match was drawn 2-2 as Chris Rhodes and Phil Wright won on top two boards for Crewe, while Chedd’s juniors Daniel Cooper and Josh Brown gained full points to ensure match spoils were shared.
The D team concluded their season with 15 pts from 14 matches to finish 3rd in the table – a creditable effort indeed !
Last night saw the NSDCA Division 2 title decider take place between our “A” team and top of the table Cheddleton B, and going into this match we trailed the leaders just on game points which meant any win would secure the title. The visitors turned up with a team dead on the max 725 team point limit with David Buxton (grade 195) leading their cause. Our best chance of success would come from our lower boards who had done so well through the season to put is in title contention.
Early indications showed us heading for trouble on board 1 and an equally positive position on board 5. The first result came in with an swift draw on board 4 from our top scorer Neville Layhe which increased Chedd’s chances of winning the title. Soon followed board 3 where our 100% performer Ola Titiloye was held to another draw. On board 5 Doug Barnett was in the ascendancy with a pawn and exchange gain but unfortunately let his opponent off the hook with the 3rd draw. Cheddleton secured the Div 2 title when David Buxton converted his long term material advantage into a win after a fighting effort from David Hulme was repelled on bd 1. This left Karl Lockett in play on board 2 who carved out an endgame advantage after 10pm, almost let it slide away, and then found a way to win in increment time to level the match and bring our “A” team season to a conclusion.
Captain David Hulme has been delighted with the team’s improvement since finishing bottom of the table in 2014/15 and 3rd bottom last season, to finish level on match points with the champions Cheddleton B and only losing out on game points.
Congratulations to Cheddleton B on pipping us to the title.
Last night saw Crewe claim their second Cup of the season with a 3-2 win against Cheddleton in the NSDCA U130 Intermediate Cup. In a close fought match we had an early gain with Dave Price completing a swift win on board 2 shortly after Doug Barnett had secured a draw on board 1 with black against the experienced Roger Edwards. It looked to be plain sailing with skipper Martin Gill heading for a win on board 3 and Mike Williams with the advantage of an exchange plus a pawn on board 5, while Chris Rhodes on board 4 had a dominant Knight on d6 opposed by a strong bishop controlling the a8/h1 diagonal. However things did not go to plan as Martin struggled to convert his dominant position and Mike lost a Rook to a neat fork and Chris was running low on time. Eventually skipper Mart brought home the bacon with a long drawn out win, just as Mike lost to the promising youngster Joe Alcock. With the match safe after 2.5 pts from the top 3 boards, peace was agreed on board 4 in a draw as neither player could force a win.