Another fantastic night at the AMAL saw the club host two matches with the B team playing Cheddleton E in division 3 and the Perry Cup B team playing Meir.
Martin Gill’s Bees went into the Division 3 match with a 100% record but knew they had a battle on their hands against the experienced Chedd team with Mr & Mrs Blackburn being accompanied by Bill Armstrong and skipper David Hallen. It was no surprise then when the bd 4 game could find no winner as David Hallen kept Chris Rhodes at bay. The match swung Crewe’s way when Rick Renegade extended his superb unbeaten run with a win on bd 2 after another explosive attack was mishandled by the opposition. Rick has now scored 8.5 out of 9 in the NSDCA, with his only defeat this season coming in the Wirral League knockout when the whole team was outgraded by Chester’s big guns. Captain Martin Gill on bd 3 seemed to have found the way to win a tough game with Sandra Blackburn when he made a crushing blunder to hand the full point over and leave the match all square with just the bd 1 game to finish. This saw Karl Lockett in command for the Bees as he gained the necessary win to edge the team over the line 2.5-1.5. The B team have so far won all four of their matches by this same narrow score line and would have been further pleased by the news as the top of the table Newcastle C lost their 100% record as they were narrowly beaten by Alsager’s B team to leave our B team in 2nd place with a game in hand on the same number of match points.
The other match at the club saw our Perry B team as massive underdogs against Meir. With Nic Bolide making his first competitive appearance for the club he put a spirited fight against Anthony Cooling before being last to finish. Earlier on had seen Richard Hind get into a promising position before Stuart Green’s wealth of experience proved too much to give the visitor’s the early lead. On bd 2 junior Harry Gardiner played a mature game to hold a pawn advantage and then control the only open file with his Rook. Having gained central dominance he was able to pick up a further pawn with his active rook and so give Crewe their first point and a glimmer of hope in the match. The bd 1 battle saw an even contest tip Crewe’s way when Phil Wright gained a minor piece for a pawn. With a Rook each and several pawns including an ominous looking g pawn for his opponent the game was too close to call until Phil engineered a huge advantage by giving back his minor piece for the threatening g-pawn and allow his rook to get amongst his opponents undefended queenside pawns to pull off a superb win. As the dust settled it emerged that Crewe’s Perry B team had got through to the semi-final by virtue of the board count tie-break rule after the 2-2 draw. This was an inspired performance by our under-dogs as Phil Wright gained his first ever win for the club and junior Harry Gardiner added another scalp to his growing list of higher graded opponents. Overall a superb effort by the team as they were outgraded by approx 140 points ! They will face either Cheddleton or Fenton in the 2nd semi, with our Perry “A” team travelling to Newcastle in the other semi-final.
There were two matches in NSDCA Division 4 at the AMAL on Wednesday, with the C team hosting Stafford B and the D team playing Fenton C.
The C team were on the back foot after two early losses on boards 3 & 4. Doug Barnett summoned all his conjuring skills on board 1 to defeat his higher graded opponent after promoting two pawns while his king slid to safety. Meanwhile skipper Dave Price on bd 2 found it impossible to avoid a draw which left the team losing narrowly 1.5-2.5.
The other match saw the D team come out victorious where teams were evenly matched grade wise despite the artificial grading limits showing otherwise. Lukasz Holcman was first over the winning line on bd 1 as his attack was too much for his opponent. Teenager Dylan Sayers beat his higher graded opponent on bd 4 with a smooth conversion of material gain to end up delivering check mate after chasing the opposition King from its king-side castled position out into the open. Skipper Les Hall guaranteed the D team’s first win of the season after a draw on bd 3. Martin Gill could not quite see off his stubborn opponent who finished up with a further draw to complete a 3-1 success for the D team.
Reference to the breakdown, saw our Wirral team’s match at Hoylake postponed as skipper David Hulme’s car hit a super-size pot hole while trying to get out of town causing a big puncture ! “E” team skipper Nigel Gardner came up with the following witty ditty: I believe the team were feeling a bit deflated and tyred after the latest match? However I’m sure this won’t puncture their enthusiasm and if they carry on down the right road further success will inflate their esteem. Shame Jack wasn’t on the team as he might have helped lift everyone.
This week has seen three matches – two in Cup competitions and one league match. The AMAL club was buzzing on a packed Wednesday night as visitors from Fenton (in the Open cup) and Alsager (in the U110 Perry Trophy) meant some 30 players were present overall.
Starting with the Perry Trophy match, Crewe are looking to make it a hat-trick of Cup successes and were helped by Alsager defaulting one of the four boards due to unfortunate family circumstances. However with Alsager grades being some 15-20 points higher on the top two boards, the default would be irrelevant if they could win the top two boards. Early wins for the host’s Dylan Sayers (bd 4) and the visitors Oliver Horrocks on bd 2, meant Crewe’s junior Amy Lovatt needed a draw or better to secure a home victory. The match swung to and fro as James Marshall, playing for Alsager appeared to have the ascendancy before allowing Amy to escape to victory after queening a couple of pawns. This was in fact Crewe’s Perry “A” team and the “B” team host Meir on 29th November in the remaining quarter-final.
The other cup match on Wednesday saw a thrilling 6-board match with both teams missing a key player, as the team grading totals could not have been much close at 821 for Crewe and 829 for Fenton. First to register on the score board was Rick Renegade with a 14 move demolition on bd 4, to put Crewe 1-0 in the lead before Karl Lockett on bd 2 for Crewe made it 2-0. Fenton’s man in-form, Roumanian Petru Floresc continued his brilliant winning run after two major scalps in last weekend’s 4NCL, as he put his opponent on bd 1 to the sword to reduce the deficit to 2-1 and shortly afterwards Crewe’s Doug Barnett restored the advantage to 3-1 after a hopeful minor piece sacrifice led to some unsound play. The two remaining games saw Crewe under pressure on bd 5 after a poor opening left a weak position and the loss of a pawn, while Crewe’s captain appeared to be coasting to a win on bd 3 with a three-pawn advantage. However Fenton’s team were not for giving up as firstly Kas Capatina on bd 3 found a way to attack an open King and fork David Hulme’s queen as David slid into time trouble to make the score 3-2. Finally Max Launay made Crewe pay the full price as he converted his long time gain into a win to tie the match at 3-3. With all games being won with the white pieces (a rare event it seems) and Fenton winning on bds 1,3 and 5 it meant Fenton were victorious by virtue of the board count tie-break rule. Congratulations to Fenton who go on to face Cheddleton in the semi-final.
Thursday night saw Crewe’s “A” team travel to Holmes Chapel to take on the host’s Rooks team in a NSDCA Div 2 match. The Crewe team had a distinct grading advantage of approx 20-25 pts on 4 of the 5 boards, but you would not have known it. The match seemed to be heading Crewe’s way after an early draw on bd 1 for Ola Titiloye, was soon followed by wins for David Hulme on bd 4 and Karl Lockett on bd 2. We were made to sweat for victory though as Martin Gill was being held on bd 5 and Rick Renegade was under pressure on bd 3. Martin’s experience came to the fore as he offered a draw to his lower rated opponent who was running into time trouble despite being a pawn up and positionally better. The draw was accepted and secured match victory for Crewe before Rick’s opponent Mike Lee battled to the end but could only get a draw. The final result was 3.5-1.5 for Crewe, who sit 3rd in the table with a record of Pld 4, Won 2, Drawn 2.
With only one match to report on this week, it has been a contrast to recent weeks where four or five teams have been in action. Wednesday saw a division 5 encounter between our F team and visitors Meir C. First impressions looked like all players were keen to get home early as three draws were agreed by 9pm. On board 1 Lukasz Holcman held David Fuller and on bd 2 Phil Wright earned a good draw against opposition captain Ray Rhodes. The scoreboard highlight for Crewe saw junior Harry Gardiner get the third draw against an opponent 50 grading point higher. All eyes then settled on the bd 4 game between Richard Hind and Stuart Green, with Richard being almost 50 grading points lower. What an exciting tussle developed as both players battled valiantly to get the win required for team victory. This final game was watched by a dozen or more onlookers so added pressure on to the two players involved who made sure News at Ten was half finished by the end of the game ! After a topsy-turvy battle Stuart ended up as the victor to give Meir the narrow win by 2.5-1.5.
Captain Dave Price reported ” The top 3 boards finished early and nearly an hour later and the board 4 players were still fighting for a win.
It was by far the best game watched at Crewe as both players had chances and both teams would have been happy with a draw.
The players deserve the most respect for playing to the end that proved the most exciting game to watch. In the end, it is a shame one player had to lose. I would like to thank both teams for a great night and a special thanks to the board 4 players”
Another fine set of results this week was started with the C team travelling to Fenton on Monday to take on their C team in a 4th division match. With Fenton close to the 460 team grade limit our team did well to pick up a share of the points in a 2-2 draw. Steve Ballantyne continued his unbeaten run this season with a steady draw on bd 4. Dave Price leveled the match with a win on bd 2, after we had lost on bd 3 to leave Doug Barnett in play on bd 1. Doug was almost certain to win on time when he sportingly offered a draw to Max Launay to finish the match.
Tuesday saw the Bees playing against local team Alsager B in a div 3 match. Rick Renegade won his 5th consecutive NSDCA game on bd 2 as Martin Gill won the bd 3 battle of the skippers. Chris Rhodes extended his unbeaten run to six games with a draw on bd 4 to make sure the team won narrowly 2.5-1.5. This keeps the B team with a 100% record so far as they sit 2nd in the league table trailing leaders Newcastle C who have a similar record of 3/3 but have the better board count.
Wednesday saw two games at the AMAL with our “A” team playing a div 2 match vs Fenton A and the E team hosting Cheddleton H in division 5.
The “A” team were held to a draw by Fenton who are currently top of the table. A fine win from Ola Titiloye on bd 1, added to Neville Layhe’s solid draw on bd 4. Rick Renegade yet again found a way to win when he faced a material deficit on bd 5 to extend his winning run to 6 games and ensure the “As” got the draw, to leave them in 2nd place in the table with 4 pts from 3 matches and unbeaten so far.
Nigel Gardner’s “E” team continue to set the pace in division 5 with their 100% record in tact after 4 matches. Steve Ballantyne and Nigel both won as their grading advantages would have indicated with Steve now unbeaten in 6 games this season. Chris Rhodes took his unbeaten run to 7 as he gained the necessary draw to get the team over the line in what captain Nigel reported as “This went right down to the wire and then some. ” The “E” team sit on a 2 point lead at the top of division 5 currently.