With only one match this week for Crewe, the “B” team had a chance to extend their lead at the top of the division 3 table when they went to face Meir’s “A” team. The team found themselves at a disadvantage as our leading scorer failed to turn up causing a default on bd 2. We managed to score 50% from the three players there with Neville Layhe picking up a win on top board covering for regular player Karl Lockett, while Chris Rhodes gained a draw on bd 4 extending his unbeaten run in the NSDCA this season to 11 games, which is something our writer can only dream about !
This win for Meir has really opened up the door at the top of division 3 with several teams all within 2 pts of our B team.
It was a shame for the B team to lose their 100% record this way, but who knows if it would have made any difference in any case.
The weather was the main winner this week as our two home matches were postponed and our brave soldiers from the “A” team took on the challenge of getting to Cheddleton on a freezing Friday night.
The opposition (Cheddleton B) were riding high at the top of division 2 before the match, with our “A” team sitting in 3rd place but with games in hand to catch the leaders. The late arrival of our top two players unsettled our captain as the match began. First blood went to the hosts as junior Sam Parry found a way to break through against previously unbeaten Neville Layhe on bd 5 after Sam had offered the draw. Matters got worse when our big-hitter Rick Renegade was battered into submission by the experienced Jon Blackburn on bd 3. A superb performance on bd 1 from Ola Titiloye gained a draw against the highest graded player (194) in the division despite starting down approx 15 minutes on the clock, to leave Karl Lockett on bd 2 and David Hulme on bd 4 looking for wins. David was in a dominant position and exchange ahead before blundering back the exchange in another moment of chess blindness as he attempted an illegal move when in check. Allowing himself into a time trap he was put to the sword by Sandra Blackburn who must have been delighted with her best of season result which confirmed Chedd B would win the match. Karl Lockett on bd 2 went on to win a fine game and continue his good run of recent form.
This was the “A” team’s first defeat of 2017 and should have been avoided had our captain not blundered or we had accepted the draw offers given to us on bottom two boards. At least we get chance for revenge as the return match is scheduled first week in the New year.
Next week is a quiet week for matches with only the B team playing at Meir before the Christmas break.
After a couple of quiet weeks for club matches, four teams have been in action over 3 days.
Monday night saw Nigel Gardner’s “E” team take on Meir B. Our team was strengthened a little to give us a near 70 grade pts advantage, but the hosts pushed us all the way. Hard fought victories for Steve Ballantyne and Nigel on bds 3 and 4 were added to Chris Rhodes’s draw on top board to ensure a narrow win by 2.5-1.5. This result puts the “E” team four points clear at the top of Division 5 for now, as the team looks forward to its last game of 2017 against Cheddleton’s I team next week.
On the same night another 5 players ventured to the end of the Wirral to take on Wallasey’s 4th team in a Wirral League Div 2 match. A crushing win by Ola Titiloye on bd 1, set us on our way as Rick Renegade was held to a draw on bd 3, before David Hulme had a comfortable win on bd 4. Dave Price secured a draw on bd 5 to ensure team success before Neville Layhe completed the 3 hour endurance test with the third draw. The 3.5-1.5 win is the first ever win by Crewe CC at Wallasey, to put the team back to the top of the table with a perfect 3/3 for now. There are stiff challenges to face in the new year with trips to Atticus (Liverpool city centre) and Mold in North Wales during February.
Wednesday night saw another full house at the AMAL, with the “B” team playing Newcastle C and the “F” team playing Alsager C. Some dozen or so members including Rich Wiltshir played friendly chess in the background, with the two matches taking centre stage.
The Bees made it 5 wins out of 5, and all with the same 2.5-1.5 score line as they overtook Newcastle at the top of the Division 3 table to go two pts clear and with a game in hand. Rick Renegade on bd 2 continued his fine run to put the first win on the scoreboard and keep up his 100% winning record for the Bees. A loss on bd 3 was followed much later by a draw on bd 1 for Karl Lockett. Chris Rhodes brought the bacon home for the Bees as his positional play and pawn advantage proved too much on bd 4 with his opponent in time trouble. The Bees travel to Meir for their next match to finish 2017.
The F team did well to draw the Div 5 encounter. After an early loss on bd 2, junior Harry Gardiner again gained all the plaudits as he dismantled his grade 62 opponent on bd 3 to add to his growing list of victims. Hopefully Harry’s rapid improvement in play will soon be rewarded with a promotion in board order. Nic Bolide put up a brave fight on bd 4 before eventually resigning to leave skipper Dave Price needing a win to save the team. Dave duly managed this as opponent and former Crewe player, James Marshall put himself in familiar time trouble, often with less than 15 seconds to go, before allowing Dave to swap off Rooks and leave an easy win that would have been awkward had Rooks stayed on the board. Overall another pleasing result for the F team to gain a draw.