Flying start to season

A busy week has seen four matches take place: Wrexham vs Crewe in Wirral League div 2, Crewe “A” vs Holmes Chapel Rooks in NSDCA Div 2, Crewe F vs Crewe E in Div 5 and Cheddleton E vs Crewe D in div 4.

The Wirral team travelled to Wrexham on Tuesday as underdogs against the “new boys” in Wirral Div 2 and faced a team with grading advantage on the top four boards and dead level on bd 5. First off the mark was skipper David Hulme (bd 3)  playing with white for the first time in the Wirral League for two seasons with an early win as his opponent missed a trick in an otherwise level game. Bart Fajfer on bd 1 outplayed his Polish counter-part trapping a queen for a Knight. Despite having this decisive advantage his 177 grade opponent played on for a long time in a hopeless cause before eventually giving in. Karl Lockett on bd 2, took a draw for the team, in what he thought was a better position than his captain could assess, ensuring the team was almost home and dry. Simon Layhe outplayed his grade 147 opponent on bd 4 to achieve a superb win after a brilliant tactical finish to conclude the match with a 3.5-1.5 win, as we lost the bd 5 encounter. A brilliant start to the Wirral League season has seen us beat two promotion contenders to leave us well placed in the hunt, as well as progress through to the quarter-final of the Knockout.

Wednesday night saw another cracking night at The Mals with the club buzzing as some 22 members were in attendance plus 5 visitors from Holmes Chapel. The “A” team made a positive start to the North Staffs season with a 4-1 win as we comfortably outgraded our opponents on 3 of the 5 boards. Full points were gained on bd 1 by Bart Fajfer, bd 2 by Karl Lockett and bd 5 by Neville Layhe, with draws from the remaining games by Rick Renegade and David Hulme.

The centre of the playing room was taken up by the division 5 derby between our F & E teams. The higher graded E team were victors by 4-0 with wins by Les Hall, Reinhard Haack, Lukasz Michalek and Josh Cross as captain Nigel Gardner stood down to ensure as many players as possible get selected for these two teams. Meanwhile Harry Gardiner and Dave Price took the opportunity  to win two games a piece in Rapid-play Division 1 as they both climbed the table to 3rd and 4th place respectively. (Full details of Rapid-play on right hand side of site)

To round off the week our “D” team travelled to Cheddleton tonight to play the host’s E team in NS division 4. Another superb result saw the team grab all the points with a 4-0 scoreline thanks to wins from Neville Layhe, Doug Barnett, junior Harry Gardiner and captain Les Hall.