Our final match against Shrewsbury B was re-arranged to accommodate Shrewsbury lack of players and was eventually played at Telepost this week. Our generosity in re-arranging our home fixture was not repaid unfortunately as Shrewsbury put an end to our unbeaten season taking the match 3.5-1.5.
An early loss on board three started the trend as Tom Williamson's queen paid the price for venturing into Ian Davies' position and became trapped. On board five Francis Rooney went two pawns up but at the cost of giving his opponent a bishop pair which eventually proved fatal. However Karl Wakefield on board two managed to hold a draw with some good tactics after Dan Lockett had earlier been a piece up, apparently without even realising it!
The tie was sealed as Chris Pimm Jones' valiant defence in a rook and pawn ending finally came to an end, leaving Steve Rooney to do his usual trick of keeping his team waiting for a lift home before eventually grinding out a win on board one.
It would have been nice for the team to have remained unbeaten, but the more important objective this season has been to ensure games for as many players from the squad as possible. We have had the benefit of 12 players turning out for Church Stretton this season and we have managed to play all 12 games without fielding the same line-up twice!
The positive outcome has been that we now expect to run a second team next season which will join the third division while Church Stretton A will take on the county's top teams in division 1.
It will be a tough task in the top division and if we had a transfer budget, we would now be using it to nab one or two of the county's finest to bolster our squad. In the absence of that however we can promise a pint of real ale or two for any potential stars who are willing to help Stretton's challenge!
Club nights continue on Thursdays. See you there.