Last night saw the NSDCA Division 2 title decider take place between our “A” team and top of the table Cheddleton B, and going into this match we trailed the leaders just on game points which meant any win would secure the title. The visitors turned up with a team dead on the max 725 team point limit with David Buxton (grade 195) leading their cause. Our best chance of success would come from our lower boards who had done so well through the season to put is in title contention.
Early indications showed us heading for trouble on board 1 and an equally positive position on board 5. The first result came in with an swift draw on board 4 from our top scorer Neville Layhe which increased Chedd’s chances of winning the title. Soon followed board 3 where our 100% performer Ola Titiloye was held to another draw. On board 5 Doug Barnett was in the ascendancy with a pawn and exchange gain but unfortunately let his opponent off the hook with the 3rd draw. Cheddleton secured the Div 2 title when David Buxton converted his long term material advantage into a win after a fighting effort from David Hulme was repelled on bd 1. This left Karl Lockett in play on board 2 who carved out an endgame advantage after 10pm, almost let it slide away, and then found a way to win in increment time to level the match and bring our “A” team season to a conclusion.
Captain David Hulme has been delighted with the team’s improvement since finishing bottom of the table in 2014/15 and 3rd bottom last season, to finish level on match points with the champions Cheddleton B and only losing out on game points.
Congratulations to Cheddleton B on pipping us to the title.
Last night saw Crewe claim their second Cup of the season with a 3-2 win against Cheddleton in the NSDCA U130 Intermediate Cup. In a close fought match we had an early gain with Dave Price completing a swift win on board 2 shortly after Doug Barnett had secured a draw on board 1 with black against the experienced Roger Edwards. It looked to be plain sailing with skipper Martin Gill heading for a win on board 3 and Mike Williams with the advantage of an exchange plus a pawn on board 5, while Chris Rhodes on board 4 had a dominant Knight on d6 opposed by a strong bishop controlling the a8/h1 diagonal. However things did not go to plan as Martin struggled to convert his dominant position and Mike lost a Rook to a neat fork and Chris was running low on time. Eventually skipper Mart brought home the bacon with a long drawn out win, just as Mike lost to the promising youngster Joe Alcock. With the match safe after 2.5 pts from the top 3 boards, peace was agreed on board 4 in a draw as neither player could force a win.
The C team travelled to Cheddleton last night to take on the hosts’s title chasing F team in the C team’s final match of the season in NSDCA Division 4.
A fantastic performance saw the C team win 4-0 as captain Dave Price reports:
Doug Barnett was first to finish on board 1, with myself finishing next on board 2. Simon Layhe continued his excellent form with another win on board 4 to leave James Marshall playing on board 3. James in his usual time trouble lost a piece for two pawns and it looked like a lost game with only 10 seconds on his clock a clever exchange brought the game two pawns each. James played a fantastic end game to queen and win.
This result takes the C team up two places to 2nd in the league table having completed their fixtures. Chedd’s F team can still overtake us if they win their final game against Newcastle E.
Last night saw the club host the final of the Perry Trophy for players graded under 110 against Cheddleteon (who have a team in every NSDCA Cup Final). An exciting final developed as Crewe captain Les Hall was first to finish with a win on board 4 after a tussle to avoid stale-mating his young opponent. At this stage Cheddleton appeared to have advantages on boards 2 & 3 with board 1 equally balanced. Next to finish was Simon Layhe on board 2 with a win to put Crewe in a commanding 2-0 lead, after a complicated game giving up two rooks for a queen and pawn, and with the two remaining rooks splitting was able to pick up a rook and convert the advantage. James Marshall gained a match winning draw on board 3 after a difficult endgame being a pawn down with a Knight each and 5 pawns vs 6. I am sure the Chedd player missed one or two chances to win but had to agree the draw as as all pawns were eliminated while James was under big time pressure. With the match secure Chris Rhodes agreed a draw on board 1 when having just made a distinct gain.
The final score was 3-1 as Crewe retained the Perry Trophy.
Please note the club’s 2017 Time & Point Handicap will be held on Wednesday 24th May. Start time 7.30pm prompt
This will be a 5 round swiss based competition similar to the events held in 2015 and 2016.
Please let David Hulme know if you wish to play in this competition.
This event is open to Crewe CC Members only.
The B team played their final game of the season in NSDCA division 3 on Wednesday at home to Fenton A and came off decidedly second best. Only a draw from Mike Williams on board 4 was all we had to show for our efforts in 1/2 – 3 1/2 reverse. The team concluded the season with a 50% record of 14 pts from 14 matches but find their finishing position is 6th in the table out of 8, and ending up only 4 pts behind the winners.
I am sure the B team will be making a big effort to challenge for honours next season, having now relinquished the title won last season.
The Wirral team headed off to Hoylake last night to take on the champions elect. Even though they were weakened with a missing player, their bottom board was still graded just higher than our top board. It was little surprise we suffered defeat but the 0-5 scoreline was harsh as our middle three boards all played heroically before falling at the various final hurdles. The wooden spoon is safely in our hands and with relegation assured we may fair better next season in division 2 of the Wirral League, where we could rotate a larger squad as the opposition will not be so daunting.
Full details of the Wirral League season can be seen from the link under “Teams”
The E team picked up a good point at Newcastle F in a Division 5 match last night. Captain Les Hall sat on the subs bench to allow three youngsters to play. The draw was achieved with a win on bd 1 by Dave Price, and another superb effort by newcomer Amy Lovatt to win on bd 4. The team currently sit 7th in the table and have one match remaining against Cheddleton I next month.
The B team stung back into winning ways last night with a 2.5-1.5 victory at title chasing Newcastle D. There were wins for Karl Lockett on bd 1 and skipper Martin Gill on bd 3, backed up with a draw from Doug Barnett on bd 2. The result still leaves Newcastle D as favourites for the Div 3 title but brings Cheddleton C and D together with Alsager A all into the mix.
The B team remain in 6th place with one match remaining and only trail the league leaders by 3 pts, so close is the competition. Their final match is against Fenton A next week, who currently sit 7th in the table.
A great effort from our D team ended in disappointment last night as we were beaten 1.5-2.5 by Meir C, who clinched the Division 5 title with this result. A win for Martin Gill on top board, and another superb result for junior Amy Lovatt with a draw was not enough to stop Meir. With one more match to play this season the D team (currently 4th) could finish 3rd in the division which would be a creditable end to the team’s second season in the NSDCA.