A good win for Trevor on top board against the county's top player Nick Rutter was enough to get us our first points of the season as the A team travelled to Newport this week for our third tough clash in as many matches.
Newport were without one of their normal line-up Gavin, but still fielded a pretty good team. The first match to finish was Graham on board four against Simon Maydew, where the position had simplified into a level ending and was agreed drawn. Eric's battle against Danny Griffiths on board five was much more complicated and looked as if it could explode into a tough tactical battle but was also agreed drawn.
This left the top three boards slugging it out till the bitter end. Michael looked better throughout his board three game against Chris Lewis with the latter's exposed king and queen side vulnerable to a twin knight attack. But was it enough to find a win?
Looking across to board one, Nick gave up an exchange, at least I think he gave it up but the position was a bit beyond my understanding, and Trevor looked in a strong position but again was it enough?
Meanwhile I was fighting a rearguard action against Nathanael Paul and had to sac an exchange to try and get free. I'm not sure it was sound, but I managed to surprise him and ended up getting the exchange back at the cost of some dangerous passed pawns.
At this point all six players were running perilously short of time; great fun for spectators but nerve-wracking for the participants. The end was so frantic I am not sure who ended first, but Trevor proved he was right to turn down a draw offer and won, Michael's opponents clock went but with king and two nights against bare king agreed drawn, and Nathanael's flag went after he had promoted to a queen but not enough time to mate against the lone king, so also declared drawn.
Four draws and a win saw us take the tie 3-2.
Newport A 2-3 Condover & Church Stretton A
Nick Rutter 0-1 Trevor Brotherton
Nathanael Paul 0.5-0.5 Steve Rooney
Chris Lewis 0.5-0.5 Michael Bukokemski
Simon Maydew 0.5-0.5 Graham Shepherd
Danny Griffiths 0.5-0.5 Eric Elwell