Wednesday saw the start to the second half of the League season, as Crewe B played against Crewe C. Both teams were missing regular members, so the B team recruited two replacements while the C team needed one to field five board teams. As usual team grades were evenly matched with less than 100 Rating points the differential. First blood went to the C team with Mike Keenan keeping his wits about him as he beat the quick-fire Oskar after an early onslaught from the nine year old. Matters were levelled up when Reinhard Haack gained success on board 4, playing a board higher than was planned with the original squads. The match was decided in the “engine room” of the teams in the middle order where father and son Neville and Simon Layhe emerged victorious after two hard slogs. The game on board 2 was particularly wild where Simon could easily have fallen on his sword against the experienced Doug Barnett. Neville was able to win an equal looking endgame as his experience came to the fore, to give the B team security of 3 wins from the middle 3 boards. It was left to Karl Lockett to inflict some damage to the Bees and he duly put opposition captain, David Hulme through the wringer to make the final score 3-2.
With a further two matches next week we can expect the Bees to be knocked off their perch.
There were a few Winter Tournament games played, as David Lambton notched up a draw against Lukas Michalek to move into 2nd place in division one, that takes his tally to 5.5/8 just one point behind leader Karl Lockett with a game in hand. Martin Burns and Harry Gardiner played out another draw to keep them in contention in the marathon event, with a total of 24 games possible for each member.
In division 2 the top three players were all in action. Leader Nigel Gardner extended his lead with a win against 3rd placed George Bulbeck, which was amplified by Julian Bulbeck’s win against 2nd placed Lee Tilton. Nigel has an unbeaten 7.5/9, while Lee is on 5.5/8 and George 4/6.