Our final match of the league season was arranged a week early, thanks to a sporting gesture from our opponents Priorslee Lions A as we would have been without three of the team for next week's original date.
In the event, the match was a close one, but having been pipped 3-2, we now face an agonising wait to see if Telford manage to scrape any points against Shrewbsury A in their final match on 4 April.
The match started with the home team a player short. Steve Tarr was missing on board four, although one of our team had seen him at the weekend and we were all fairly certain he was going to show up. Around 55 minutes later it was looking increasingly unlikely, but he then walked through the door, held up by a late taxi pick-up. I was pleased that there was no default given the row about the incident in an earlier match.
Trevor managed to get our first points when his opponent seemed to go into self destruct and trap his own queen. This was soon followed by a home win however as Michael overlooked some tactics on board four and ended up a whole piece down with no compensation.
I was the next to fall, transposing into an ending that I thought I could hold even if my isolated pawn was gobbled up, but I was wrong and despite having a bit of fun with a rook pair, it was to no avail.
Two games left and we needed a win and a draw to level the match. Francis continued his excellent run for the A team and gave his opponent no opportunities at all before winning an exchange and then going on to prepare a mating trap. (In this league season, Francis has chalked up 90 per cent with 4.5/5 in the A team, as well as 86%, 9.5/11 in the B team!)
The match was now two-all. Graham on board three was ahead on time but lost a critical pawn which in the end was enough for his opponent to convert.
The result leaves us still sitting just one point above the drop zone in division one, but Telford A only need a draw in their final match as they have a lead in game points. Just have to sit and wait now.
Priorslee Lions A 3-2 Condover & Church Stretton A
W Bates 0, T Brotherton 1;
G Pugh 1, S Rooney 0; J
O'Neil 1, G Shepherd 0;
S Tarr 1, M Bukojemsi 0;
G Viszokai 0, F Rooney 1.