This has been the penultimate week for our winter season leagues. The sun disappeared on Tuesday evening as our Wirral team took on the long journey to play Hoylake 2 in our final Wirral League match. Against evenly matched opposition we managed to pull off a narrow 3-2 win which seemed unlikely for most of the evening. We lost early on bd 5 where the grades were much in favour of Hoylake, and we got on the scoreboard when David Hulme picked up a draw on bd 2, which brought David the “Player of the Year” award for division 2, having scored an unbeaten 7.5/9 through the season having played with the black pieces in all 9 matches. The score was levelled when Julian Bulbeck (making his Wirral Lge debut) fought back from a piece for a pawn down to overturn the position and emerge with a huge “tw0-passed-pawns” advantage. Rich Wiltshir (our committed Walsall Warrior) used all his end game skill to secure a further win on bd 1 to guarantee us at least a share of the points. The final game saw junior Amy Lovatt with under 2 minutes left of the maximum 90, agree to a draw when she could not find a way to force a break-through with a Bishop and 4 pawns vs a Knight and 4 pawns despite her valiant effort. The team have finished 3rd in the table, well ahead of 4th place team but behind the two teams who managed to beat us this season – namely champions Atticus and runners-up Buckley/Mold. Next season will see Atticus in division 1, while Wallasey 2 will come down from division one.
Wednesday night saw our division 5 champions – the “E” team held to a draw (2-2) by Cheddleton E in the last NSDCA division 5 match of the season. Points were earned as Adam Field and captain Nigel gained wins on boards 3 and 4 respectively. Skipper Nigel Gardner commented on the LMS as follows:
The force was strong with the Chedd I masters as the sun set on a long and testing season in Division 5. Without the pressure of the match result mattering draws didn’t seem to be on the agenda and everybody played for the win. At one point it seemed as though the Chedd I Masters would triumph but the Empire clung on to fight another day.
Thanks to everyone from Cheddleton tonight for an excellent match and to all those who have played for our E team in a very successful season. Enjoy the sunshine and it will start all again in October. Carpe diem.
The other match this week saw Dave Price take our division 4 “C” team to play at Stafford against their B team. A superb team effort gave us a 3-1 victory as Simon Layhe (bd 2), Dave Price (bd 3) and Kobus Neinaber (bd 4) all gained wins. The C team conclude the season with a home match on Wednesday against division 4 leaders Cheddleton F, with the visitors requiring a draw or better to secure the title. They will still share the title if our C team win narrowly (2.5-1.5), but will come 2nd on board difference if the result is any better for Crewe !