No….. it’s not a line from an old Status Quo song, but just to say Dave Price’s team made it through to their 5th consecutive final, being the Cup Holders for the last 3 years and runners-up in 2015/16. Thanks to the skipper Dave Price for his account of the semi-final.
On Monday night this Intermediate Cup team travelled down the A500 to face Fenton in what was always going to be a close match. We were probably slight favourites with just 34 grading points separating the 5-board teams in our favour. The top two boards were almost identically graded as Fenton shaded the score here. The first game to fall was board two where Steve Emmerton gave Fenton the lead. But it didn’t take long for Crewe to equalise as Julian (the midnight Mule) Bulbeck had a superb win on board 5. The captain was disappointed as Julian had promised to do a cabaret dance had he lost but it is not surprising he won as he is on superb form, going into this clash with 8.5/10 and his only defeat so far this season against a 135-rated opponent in a division 5 match (with a max grade permitted of 125). Next to finish was Junior Lukasz Michalek who is heading to higher levels and is enjoying a rich vein of form and provided the necessary win on bd 4. Shortly afterwards Dave P was offered a draw looking like a forced repetition hence a draw was agreed. This meant either team had a chance to progress to the final. Julian (Hawthorn) needed a win for Fenton but Rick (the grenade) Renegade only needed a draw to win the match for us. Rick was under huge pressure and had hoped the captain had played on for a win just in case he made a mistake. All eyes were on the game as both players made full use of their time. The pressure was on and the result could have gone either way. Looking round the room at spectators expressions it looked like Rick had made a few bad moves and was going to lose. A few moves later everyone could see Ricks plan and under emmence pressure he forced a draw but a single wrong move by either player and zugzwang the game would be lost. Rick produced the goods yet again when the club needed it most with the crucial draw. The final score being a narrow 3-2 win for us.
Our Cup holders will face the winners of Cheddleton/Newcastle semi-final taking place this Friday. The final is scheduled for Wednesday 22nd April assuming there is no other cup final fixture clash for either of the potential opponents.
So far this calender year the club has been fortunate to enjoy a phenomenal series of results, almost comparable to Liverpool’s premier league season. Ignoring club derbies we have played 22, Won 15, Drawn 6 and Lost 1. No doubt this amazing run will come to a shuddering halt before too long, but let’s enjoy it while we can. Well done to every member who has contributed to this run of results …. Cheers.