The match against Newport B including wins for Trevor, Steve and Karl and a solid draw from Eric. Karl was the first to finish having set up a sharp attack along a diagonal with a Q and B battery that proved decisive and Eric's game was a fairly level R and Ps ending when he agreed a draw.
Steve's game had an interesting finish with both sides poised for mate but only one ever going to achieve it. A slip in the opening by his opponent gave Steve two bishops against two knights and the power of the diagonals was a key factor as the opening moved into the middle game. A pleasing series of moves involving pinning the queen against a back rank mate and a temporary rook sacrifice made for a picturesque end.
Trevor meanwhile just ground his poor opponent into the dust. An ending with R, N and pawns each didn't offer a lot at first glance but Trevor was convinced that his more active pieces and his opponents cramped position would be enough, and it was.
Church Stretton A v Newport B: 3.5 - 0.5
T Brotherton 1, D Griffiths 0;
S Rooney 1, A Mehmood 0;
K Wakefield 1, S Ross 0;
E Elwell 0.5, C Paul 0.5.
The second round match was played against Telepost C. Now, if you take a look at the results, you'll see that this team were actually beaten in the first round by Shrewsbury B. However, when it came to organising the second round, Shrewsbury were unable to field a team (or more likely what they perceived as their strongest team). They requested a postponement but because this is a knockout tournament with only a two-week window between rounds and there was a difficulty with getting it organised for the following week, this was declined, so Shrewsbury B defaulted. This was very disappointing, particularly since Shrewsbury is one of the bigger clubs and used to run three or four teams so it seems hardly credible they couldn't find four players for this match. And regular readers of the blog will know how we have suffered from numerous defaults already in the league season.
A suggestion was then put to the league controller Keith Tabner that he consider re-instating Telepost C to replace Shrewsbury B as the latter weren't able to fulfil the fixture. He agreed, and so did Telepost C's captain Nick who managed to get a team together so we could have a match. All credit to Telepost C for stepping into the breach, especially as they may have been a bit intimidated with the grading differences between the teams.
It resulted in a clean sweep for Church Stretton, but there were some very interesting games, including Charles Micallef's enterprising dragon against Steve on board 2, and a brave attempt to stave off the inevitable Trevor squeeze by Quentin Mills.
Church Stretton A v Telepost C: 4 - 0
T Brotherton 1, Q Mills 0;
S Rooney 1, C Micallef 0;
K Wakefield 1, N Holmes 0;
D Hodge 1, S Sweeney 0.
The next round is the semi final and we are away to Priorslee Lions B.