We suffered our first external defeat of the new year after an unbeaten run of 10 matches. With 3 matches taking place over this week (ending 14th Feb) against the biggest club in the NSDCA, it was Cheddleton who had the upper hand. Wednesday saw our division 5 E team host title chasing Chedd G, while our own table topping G team hosted their H team in a division 6 encounter and on Friday our Major Cup team (U150) went to defend the Cup at Cheddleton.
The E team exploits can be read under Nigel’s Match Reports.
The division 6 match saw our visitors bring a team comprising four very young juniors and just one adult on the top board. It is quite an effort for any club to get so many young players involved in travelling for a midweek night match which could only happen thanks to great parental support and the efforts of their captain Ali Arshad. The match was a joy to watch as the mix of youth and maturity went into battle. Cheddleton started with the advantage as the lone junior from Crewe’s team was unable to play and so we had to default a board. Russell Smithers retrieved the score for Crewe with an early success on board 4 before Cheddleton’s junior proved too strong on board 5 to put them back in the lead 2-1. Pawel Stanny seemed to be cruising to victory a piece to the good as another junior fought hard to trap Pawel’s Queen. However a clever counter-attack from Pawel forced the win and back to parity at 2-2. Mike Keenan held his nerve on board 2 to give Crewe the lead before the visitor’s Peter Hiscock out manoevred our top player to finish the match in a 3-3 draw. This result leaves the G team unbeaten and still top of division 6 with two matches to go.
The following notes were added to the League’s Result system by our captain “An unfortunate last minute withdrawal by Crewe’s board 6, brought a great response from Cheddleton captain Ali to somehow get a message to save a long unnecessary journey for Richard and his parent. A special thank you goes to all the visiting parents that brought the young Cheddleton team on a mid-week night. A very friendly match ended in a fair draw with excellent wins on top and bottom boards for Cheddleton, while Crewe edged the others.”
Friday night saw our U150 Cup Team try to defend their trophy at Cheddleton. This was always going to be a tall order as our opponents would outgrade us on most boards. Neville Layhe on board 5 held out for a useful draw before we lost the crucial board 1 game as David Hulme fell into severe time trouble with Karol Gryzbowski gaining a fine win and using his time far better. Doug Barnett managed another draw on board 4 and then Simon Layhe did likewise in a tough encounter on board 2. The final game (with Cheddleton already guaranteed progress) ended with Harry Gardiner delivering a snap mate as his opponent blundered with a wrong piece recapture. Cheddleton go through to the final to face the winner of Fenton vs Stafford, by virtue of the board count tie break following the drawn match.