The club has had three matches during this past week; Alsager A vs Crewe C, Crewe B vs Cheddleton D both in division 3 and Crewe F vs Stafford B in division 5.
The first match saw our C team up against a much weaker than expected Alsager team who were without all of their top five players and therefore fielded a team that was almost 120 points below the limit allowed. Despite being vastly outgraded they put a spirited fight before we ran out winners by the score of 3.5 – 0.5 with wins by Karl Lockett, David Hulme and captain Dave Price and a draw from Julian Bulbeck. The win put the C team top of division 3 although it is far too early in the season to make any conclusions from this.
Wednesday night saw the Mals Club busy as usual with the other two matches and a hefty number of members playing a combination of friendlies and Rapid-play competition games. The B team had its first choice squad playing against a slightly lower graded Chedd team. The bookies would have predicted the draws that resulted from the board 1 and 3 games as Neville Layhe and Chris Rhodes held the husband & wife Blackburns. The remaining two games firstly saw captain Rick Renegade chasing a win when he might have settled for a draw with Rook and pawn vs 2 bishops but allowed his opponent (Phil Birks as always with the black pieces) to gain the upper hand and succumb to defeat on board 2. Simon Layhe was left to save the match for the Bees as he defeated his lower grade opponent to continue his fine current run of form which shows him unbeaten for the club throughout the Summer Shield and new season in both North Staffs and Wirral Leagues. The final score being 2-2.
The headline performance came from the F team as they conceded an 80+ grade point deficit to Stafford B. However great performances from skipper Nigel Gardner on bd 1 and Adam Fields on bd 2 held their opponents to unexpected draws. The icing on the cake was provided by Kobus Nienaber and a jubilant Phil Wright on boards 3 and 4 as they both shocked their opponents with stunning knock out blows to give the team a deserved victory by 3-1, to inflict defeat on the then league leaders.
Only a couple of competitive games took place in the Rapid-play division 1 with leader Bart Fajfer suffering his first defeat in the competition to the “in-form” Karl Lockett, as they shared a win a piece. This extends Bart’s lead as he moved on to 15.5 pts from 17 games, which is almost unassailable now.