After four losses on the trot, the A team finally secured some vital points with a win at Priorslee Lions B. Our opponents might be relegated already but that didn't stop them putting up a strong fight, despite us going one up straight away due to a default.
Graham sportingly agreed to take the defaulted board and expected to be popping home early, but the thrilling finish kept him there right to the last move.
Early on it looked fairly comfortable, Eric was in a strong position and Trevor seemed to emerge from the opening with an advantage. But suddenly it all started to go wrong. Eric's opponent managed to activate his rooks which were soon charging down the g-file and the tables turned. Eric eventually lost after having refused a draw offer, partly in response to my pre-match warning that we needed to win this match and all boards were vital. We were now two-down.
My game on board two was now full of tactics as Gary White played his usual sharp stuff, including the obligatory g4-g5 pawn advance. Suddenly I noticed Trevor re-setting the board and was shocked to find that he had lost putting us behind. Michael was up on time and seemed slightly better although I only had time for a cursory glance.
My game moved into a critical phase and Graham managed to wave a scoresheet at me to tell me Michael had won, putting the scores level. My clock showed about one minute to Gary's seven but somehow the moves were easy to find after I won some material and then sacrificed my queen for a knight to rid him of any mating chances. With two rooks, bishop and pawn on the sixth rank against his queen, and my king safely tucked in the corner guarded by one of the rooks and the bishop, I managed to force the pawn through and deliver mate with 14 seconds to spare.
Phew! A win means we might avoid relegation after all. If we'd lost that game it would have been curtains. But Telford can still catch us if they get at least two points from their remaining two games.
Priorslee Lions B 2-3 Condover & Church Stretton A
M Morrison 1, T Brotherton 0;
G White 0, S Rooney 1;
Default 0, G Shepherd 1;
M Carbin 0, M Bukojemski1;
S O'Dell 1, E Elwell 0.