We have 3 matches to report on this week as the curtain comes down on the 2019 calender year. Monday saw the D team head off to Fenton for a division 4 top of the table clash. Wednesday it was the “A” team who hosted Holmes Chapel A in division 1 and on Thursday the Wirral team went to face division 1 supremos Hoylake & Great Meols in the Knock-out.
Les Hall’s D team went into the top of the table clash against Fenton C with junior Harry Gardiner leading the fight on board 1 with regular players Neville Layhe, another junior Lukasz Michalek and Les having a 100% record. The match was expected to be close and it certainly was. Skipper Les suffered his first reversal of the season for the D team playing against friendly foe Ernie Wilkinson. Neville and Lukasz fought hard to earn draws to keep the match in the balance. It was left to young Harry to preserve the unbeaten team’s record as he managed to overcome a very experienced opponent and regular congress player to level the scores and conclude the match 2-2. So Les’s D team have 9 pts from 5 matches and lead the table by 3pts from Fenton C who are also unbeaten (Pld 5 W1 D4), while all of the chasing pack are at least 2 further points behind having played one match less.
Wednesday was a bit of calamity for our “A” team as they faced the highest graded team in the league. Holmes Chapel “A” put out the strongest side in the NSDCA this season with an average grade of 188.4 over the five boards. With a massive grade advantage it was men against boys, as captain Karl Lockett found 2 of his intended team missing on the night ! Thanks to Doug Barnett and Harry Gardiner filling in while expecting a quiet night of social chess. The visitors could have expected to win by a white-wash but junior Harry Gardiner performed heroics on board 5 against his 170 grade opponent to salvage our only half-point. So after four matches playing in the first division for the first time (since our club was formed in 2014) we find ourselves well and truly rooted to the wooden spoon position adrift by 3pts and having played one more match than all other teams in the division.
Thursday night we took 7 players for a “David & Goliath” match against Hoylake. Captain David Hulme found himself without 13 of the top 15 players listed on our own website, as we went to play the 2018 Wirral League Champions. It would have been easy to concede the match but the club’s members have a great spirit and decided to fulfill the fixture knowing it was “mission impossible”. With one player missing at the last minute Nigel Gardner stepped up to recruit a 7th player while the captain was stuck at work. Despite losing 7-0, David was extremely proud of all those that took on the challenge and a few came close to picking up unexpected draws. It should be noted that we had a deficit of approx 320 grading points ranging from 64 on board 1 to a minimum of 39 on the penultimate board 6.
We have no matches in the week 16th-20th December and all members are invited to our last night of the year on Wednesday 18th. This is one night of the year where the chess sets are locked up as we all meet in the bar for a social night of playing cards, darts or pool.
Finally. the committee woud like to take this oportunity to wish all our members and their families a Merry Xmas and a Prosperous New Year !