The South Cheshire Shield came to its conclusion this week as Alsager earned the necessary draw against our “A” team to win the South Cheshire Summer Shield with an unbeaten record. For the 2nd year running the “A” team have been pipped at the post. Lukasz Michalek had given our “A” team a great chance by winning on board 4 as our top two boards Simon Layhe and Harry Gardiner could only draw and the board 3 game went in favour of the visitors to secure their title.
The final games of the SCS season were played on Friday night as Newcastle hosted our B team. Skipper Les Hall got the ball rolling with an early win on board 4 before Newcastle levelled matters on board 3. The star performance came from our board 2 with Adam Fields beating the opposition skipper who was graded some 24 points higher. On board 1 David Hulme hung on for a draw against Newcastle youngster Joe Hirst to make sure the B team finished on the same match points as the “A” team and just 1 behind the winners – Alsager. Congratulations to them on winning the competition.
Alongside the B team match, Newcastle also hosted the annual pre-season challenge against us. With so many players unavailable from both clubs it was a credit to both that a 7 board match took place although Crewe contributed 8 of the 14 and left Dave Price on the bench to coach some of the younger Newcastle members who are not quite “match-ready”. Newcastle fielded a much stronger squad than we did and ran out comfortable winners with the assistance of our own Phil Wright. There was a notable win for Simon Layhe on board 2, while Mike Keenan won against a Newcastle newcomer on board 6 and our only other score came from Doug Barnett with a top board draw, when he might have gone on to win with a bit more time on the clock. As always an enjoyable encounter which leaves the annual challenge score at 2-2. We look forward to the 2020 challenge which will be Crewe’s turn to host.