It’s been a long week for our News Reporter starting with the long trek to Wallasey on Monday night. Due to venue unavailability we moved the Wirral fixture from our home at Chester to Wallasey to take on one of the top division 2 teams. The captain’s heart was beating a bit faster when the opposition team sheet was thrust in front of him to reveal another player on top board allowing all of the expected opponents to drop a level. Despite being slightly outgraded on board 4 Dave Price put our team on the front foot with a superb win with the white pieces. A central pawn attack dislodged the Knight in front of the castled King and opened spaces for two long range bishops to add to the fire power. An exchange and a pawn gained together with an overwhelming position induced resignation to put us in the 1-0 lead. Simon Layhe on board 2 then maintained our 100% success record with white as his game seemed to split into a game of two halves with Simon dominating the Q-side while most opposition pieces were loaded on the K-side. Simon’s push came first and with doubled “A” pawns charging down the board with support on the 7th and 8th rank proved decisive and made it 2-0. Board 5 saw a player who was graded over 150 when I last played him, and although only recently returning to the game was too good for us and got one win back for Wallasey 3. David Hulme then trapped a Knight on board 1 before gaining more material to make it 3-1 for us. Harry Gardiner fought hard on bd 3 to get a draw when it looked difficult to hold on, to conclude the match with 3.5-1.5 win and take us top of the early league table.
On Wednesday our B team hosted Holmes Chapel Rooks in NSDCA Div 2. With a decent grading advantage we were distinct favourites but the Rooks put up a stiff challenge. Rick Renegade on bd 4 and Neville Layhe on bd 5 were held to draws while board 3 went in favour of the visitors to leave us trailing 2-1. Karl Lockett on bd 2 restored the match for us with a sound win before Bart Fajfer’s endgame skill proved decisive on top board to give us a narrow victory 3-2. The B team are on 3 pts from 2 matches along with Cheddleton B and Newcastle B near the top of the table.
Friday night saw our Glorious G team Gunning to victory in their first ever match in division 6 of the NSDCA. This is a new team with a maximum permitted player grade of 80. We managed to send a team of 8 players to Cheddleton and had a big grade advantage overall. A number of players on both sides were making the league debuts and it was noted that Chedd’s team had 7 juniors out of 8 players, while Crewe had 7 adults out of 8 ! Congratulations to 13 yr old Safwan Khan, Pawel Stanny and Russell Smithers on their victories and to Adrian Howells for playing his first ever competitive match. Our higher graded top four experienced players were all successful with George Jelliss, Mike Keenan, Reinhard Haak and Phil Wright all beating youthful opposition.