Last week saw both of our South Cheshire Shield teams in action. Tuesday night it was the B team who traveled to Alsager for the Wooden Spoon battle with the teams having only 1 point between them going into the match. Alsager were more intent on giving games to their members than concerned about results as witnessed by the late substitution on board 2 as Neville Jones stood down to allow Mike Williams to play. This gave Crewe a big grading advantage which eventually led to a 4-0 win for our Bees as Neville Layhe, David Hulme, Les Hall and Kobus Nienaber all picked up wins. The result did not reflect the close nature of all the games, and the end score could have been just as easily reversed !
Wednesday night it was the turn of our A team to host Stafford. Harry Gardiner set the wheels in motion with a good win on board 4. Harry gained a crucial pawn advantage which was vital in the end game as it could not have been stopped from queening without another pawn queening elsewhere. Next to finish was Simon Layhe’s game on board 3 where the position came completely blocked by opposing pawn chains leading to the inevitable draw. On board 1 Amy Lovatt realised a draw would help the team and maturely offered this to her opponent which was duly accepted. Almost as soon as this was agreed, the board 2 game concluded with a resignation as Chris Rhodes had forged a piece advantage and an unstoppable position. This ensured a 3-1 win to keep the “A” team hot on the heels of leaders Newcastle, who lead the table by 1 point with two matches remaining each including the potential title decider at Newcastle on 19th September.
Meanwhile there was another excellent club night with 18 members in attendance despite a number being on summer vacation. A further 7 rapid-play and 3 long-play tournament games took place as well as a hand full of friendly games. David Hulme took the opportunity to extend his lead in RP division 1 with two more wins to take his score to 10/16. With Simon Layhe occupied in the South Cheshire match, Rich Wiltshir added two wins to take him up the table into joint 2nd with running score of 5/8. As can be noted David has played twice as many games as his nearest rivals to gain the upper hand. At least there is over four months left for competitors to catch up.