Tuesday night (28th Nov) was a quiet night at the club compared to recent weeks. There was just one match at the club – the 4th division return derby between our G&H teams. With no visiting teams at the club, we still had 34 members in attendance.
The derby saw the H team underdogs put up quite a fight against the table topping G team. Tim Weston got the H team off to a good start with a win on board 4. It was great to see Reinhard Haack back at the club for his first visit in over a year, but it was to a baptism of fire against one of our rapidly improving juniors – Jamie Roberts. Reinhard may have been a little rusty but he could do nothing to stop Jamie, who levelled the match for the Gees, and doing so extended his run to a perfect 5/5 for the leaders. There were hard fought battles on boards 1 and 2 where no quarter was given or taken, with draws being the conclusion in both games. Pawel Stanny & Phil Grocott got the vital draws for the Gees, while Kobus Nienaber and Malcolm Green ensured the H team came out honours even. Final score 2-2, leaves the unbeaten G team top of division 4 with 9 pts from 5 matches, with Kidsgrove chasing them down also unbeaten with 7 pts from 4 matches.
There were seven internal tournament games played. In div 1 Karl Lockett and Martin Burns added one more point, while Club champion Carmel Barwick started her defence of the trophy with a draw against Andy Raeburn. In div 2 Chinenye Basil Nwachuku notched up another win. Division 3 saw wins for Mike Keenan keeping up his 100% record with a 4th win, as Gerald Parton and Daniel Parkin were also successful on the night.
Thursday 30th November – the B team made the short trip to face a very strong Holmes Chapel “A” team. Captain David Hulme got the Bees off to a superb start winning with the black pieces in just 25 moves against an opponent rated nearly 200 pts higher on board 4. Holmes Chapel levelled on board 2 where two rooks and five pawns proved too much against Rook, Bishop. Knight and three pawns as the B&N could not work in tandem. Next to finsh was board 1, where Lee Farrington had to familiarise himself with how to move first, as this was the first league game he had white pieces in 13 months ! In a very composed and controlled game he forced a minor piece exchange that left his opponent with an isolated pawn that would eventually fall. After creating a queen side pass-pawn he managed the end game to force the win with two active rooks and five pawns pushing against two defensive rooks and four pawns. Simon Layhe was in the ascendancy on board 3, and took advantage of a spacial advantage to tie down his opponents pieces to defensive chores, before a central pawn push deflected away defences to create a mating attack on the centralised king. Final score 3-1 to the Bees who now sit top of the League’s Div 1 table with 7pts having played 6 matches. With all other teams have several games in hand it won’t be long before the high-flying Bees are overtaken.