Three matches to report on this week, started with the Bees traveling to Alsager “A” in division 3. With our B team outgrading the hosts by nearly 80 points the form book was not upset as we ran out winners 3.5-0.5 to overtake our “C” team at the top of the table. Wins by captain Rick Renegade on bd 1, Chris Rhodes on bd 3 and Simon Layhe on bd 4, were supplemented with a draw from Neville Layhe. The Bees and C team have opened quite a gap at the top of the table now, with the Bees leading on 13 pts from 8 matches, the C team in 2nd with a game in hand trailing by one point, and Meir “A” in 3rd on 6 pts from 6 matches.
The Mals Club saw two matches, starting with the division 2 “top of the table clash” between our “A” team and Cheddleton “B”. Both of these teams went into the match unbeaten alongside Newcastle B. On paper the match was too close to call with just a hand-full of grade points separating the two teams, with Crewe edging four of the games, while Cheddleton had the biggest advantage on bd 1. By the time our reporter had arrived, Crewe had the upper hand following a win by Amy Lovatt on bd 3, with winning advantages on bds 4 & 5, trailing on bd 1 and looking tough on bd 2. Board 1 went to the visitors, soon followed by Karl Lockett holding out for a draw on bd 2. Our advantage evaporated on bd 4, as the opposition’s junior Sam Parry played a very mature endgame to pick up a win despite having just seconds on his clock at various stages to put Cheddleton in command at 2.5-1.5 before Chris Rhodes converted his advantage in the final game to level the score for the hosts. So both teams emerge with unbeaten records, which leaves the title wide open as a 4-team battle with Macclesfield very much in the mix alongside the unbeaten trio of Crewe “A”, Chedd “B” and Newcastle “B”.
The remaining match was a division 5 “derby” between our “E” and “F” teams with captain Nigel Gardner ensuring both teams were evenly matched. Ben Harrison in his debut game for Crewe ensured a tough battle developed after putting the F-team in the lead with an early win. Bd 1 saw the E team’s Les Hall held to a draw by Nigel. Mike Keenan then secured the match for the F team with a good win on bd 3. The final game did not finish until well after the division 2 match ended, with Adam Fields slugging it out against Lukasz Michalek. Both players acquitted themselves superbly as the game went well into increment time, before Adam found a way to force the win against Lukasz’s resourceful efforts as the match concluded 2.5 – 1.5 for the F team and prevent the “E” team from overtaking leaders Cheddleton H.