Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Another tough one

A second trip to Shrewsbury in five days saw the A team suffer its second successive 4-1 defeat. This time it was Telepost A who, although without some of their top players, managed to grind out four wins.

Earlier in the evening it looked as if we might get something from the match. Karl Wakefield chalked up yet another win on board three against John Bashall to put us in the lead but Graham Shepherd lost his game to equal the scores. Board five was a bit of a rollercoaster with Francis Rooney who had stepped up as A team reserve, in a battle against John Westhead. Francis' early clever tactic on h7 misfired when he got his bishop trapped but for the second successive game he managed to create lots of activity for his rook in the endgame and his two passed king side pawns eventually forced John to give back the piece. With just K and R v  K, R and N, Francis turned down a draw as his opponent was perilously short of time. But in effort to keep the pressure up he moved a little too quickly himself, and fell foul of a knight fork which led to checkmate seconds before the flag fall.

This left boards one and two to finish, and both Trevor Brotherton on board one and Steve Rooney on two were well behind on the clock and eventually both lost on time.

It certainly felt a lot closer than a 4-1 defeat should, but it's the results that count! Onward to the final A team fixture before Christmas agains Shifnal Telford A on 8 December.

Monday, 21 November 2011

Double header at Shrewsbury

The A and B teams travelled  to Shrewsbury for their latest league matches although it was only the B team that came away with any points.

A tough match was envisaged against the title holders and league leaders Shrewsbury A and a tough match is what we got. A very quick 'grandmaster' draw on board one between Trevor Brotherton and Jamie Hopkins gave Stretton half their total points with only Graham Shepherd getting a draw on board five, although Gerald Link battled hard to salage something but eventually lost his central isolated pawn and resigned in a lost king and pawn ending. Earlier Karl Wakefield had chased his opponent's king around the board but couldn't quite pin him down and eventually succumbed to a fork and lost the game. Least said about Steve Rooney's game the better!

The B team fared better and got their fourth draw from four matches! Captain Tom Williamson held his opponent Eric Inglis for a half point and Stretton moved into the lead when Adrian Thorpe's king-side attack broke through against Matthew Best. This left board one and four with Francis Rooney on top board trying to keep his rooks active enough to counter a two pawn deficit, and Chris Pimm-Jones on board four a piece up with a B and N against opponent's N.

It didn't end as expected though. Francis managed to stifle Ian Davies' pawn on the 7th rank and then started to pick up his opponent's pawns. With just a few minutes left on his clock, Ian offered the draw which was accepted by Francis, although by that point he may have been winning but was happy with the draw thinking that board five was safe. However disaster struck with another fork on bottom board that left both sides with K, N and 2 pawns. Chris slipped up in the final stages conceding the opposition and ending up facing K and two pawns against lone king. So 2-2 and yet another draw!

Shresbury A 4 Church Stretton A 1
J Hopkins 0.5, T Brotherton 0.5
D Everington 1, S Rooney 0
F Best 1, G Link 0
P Kitchen 1, K Wakefield 0
N O'Connor 0.5, G Shepherd 0.5

Shrewsbury C 2 Church Stretton B 2
I Davies 0.5, F Rooney 0.5
M Best 0, A Thorpe 1
E Inglis 0.5, T Williamson 0.5
A Purser 1, C Pimm-Jones 0

Friday, 11 November 2011

Late win clinches B-team draw

A fine win by Adrian Thorpe on board 3 clinched a draw in yesterday's home match for the B team against Oswestry B. A knight down in the middlegame, Adrian conjured up an attack which eventually saw him get two pawns, then a bishop back with a dangerous passed pawn on the 6th rank. His opponent Alf Evans eventually faltered as his clock got down to the last few minutes and lost another piece before resigning. It's always highly pressured when you're the last match left and your team-mates are watching the excitement, but Adrian kept his cool and calmly took the point which left the final result at 2-2

Earlier Chris Pimm-Jones lost on board 3 while Francis Rooney won on board 1. Captain Tom Williamson's position looked lost for some time as he was well down on material, but his continued niggling and back-rank mate threats seemed to un-nerve his opponent for a while but eventually it came to nought, leaving Adrian to salvage the draw.

Next week there is a double-header at Shrewsbury with the A team taking on league leaders Shrewsbury A, and our B team playing their C team in division 3.

Friday, 4 November 2011

Scoreline flatters in latest A-team win

This week's home match victory against Wellington A was a lot closer than the 4-1 scoreline suggests.

An early win for Gerald Link on board three put the home side in the lead and Karl Wakefield made it 2-0 when he eventually ground down Derrick Powell's resistance in an ending an exchange up. Board 5 went Wellington's way however as Graham Shepherd faced Deli's Ogundipe's onslaught which left him with a cramped position which eventually crumbled.

The final two boards were at this stage fairly level, but as Wellington were 2-1 down their top two, Colin Roberts and Toby Neal, decided to throw caution to the wind in an attempt to win both boards. Going for a full point without any real advantage is always a risky proposition however, and the result was a win for Church Stretton's Trevor Brotherton on board 1, followed by captain Steve Rooney who checkmated his opponent in his second successive time scramble on board 2.

The result puts Church Stretton in third place in division 1, although there are some tough remaining games before Christmas against the top two, Shrewsbury A and Telepost A, and fourth place Shifnal & Telford A who have a game in hand.

Church Stretton A 4 Wellington A 1

T Brotherton 1, C Roberts 0
S Rooney 1, T Neal 0
G Link 1, J Lenton 0
K Wakefield 1, D Powell 0
G Shepherd 0, D Ogundipe 1.