First of all many many thanks to all of you who made the effort yesterday.
We lost 10-6. We were just a few too many players short to be successful, although it must be said everything that could go wrong seemed to go wrong on the day! David Innes answered the call very late on Friday night after Richard Gavin withdrew with flu. Many thanks, David.
Played at the excellent East Midlands bridge centre, we kicked off the 4.5-hour match with Dave Aspinall playing an opening that looked strong, creative and had his opponent looking bewildered.
Unfortunately, Dave went wrong somewhere early on and suddenly he was lost! 0-1. Dave Innes looked to have a strong central pawn but again a mistake leads to dropping a piece and the game. Early doors and 0-2 did not augur well for the afternoon, especially across the boards only Steve Ward looked to be ahead, having decided to snaffle his opponent’s rook and allowing a dangerous looking initiative for his opponent.
The match then went quiet for one hour. Looking at the boards they all looked fairly even apart from Steve’s. A spate of draws now took place in even looking games. 0-2 became 2.5-4.5 in no time at all. Clearly, Essex had taken on board their 2 point advantage and realised they could wait for us to try to over-reach. My game was typical. My opponent played risk-free chess and what appeared an aggressive opening from me petered out after several pieces swap off to a dead draw.
With the onus being on trying to breach the gap, results started to go against us. John Whitfield and Rob Tokeley both had reverses from hopeful positions and suddenly the game was virtually out of our reach, 3-7. Steve Ward converted to offer some hope at 4-7 and John Addison’s win took us to 5-7 and with Phil Taylor looking good, some faint hope remained. But Steve Potter was having to resiliently defend on one with his time running down. A couple more dead draws took Essex to the line at 5-8. Suddenly Roger Chapman went down in a tricky queen and pawn ending and Essex had won. Phil Taylor won a good game to make it 6-9 but Steve Potter went down in the last few seconds to complete a 6-10 defeat.
This was a bad day at the office for the team. Essex deserved winners on the day and we relinquish our national title. However we’ve had these reverses before and we will be back next year – with hopefully the few strong players who could not make it this time.
The U120 team were in action again on the 3rd March, at the Bridge Club in Bury. A very close match in the end, with Lancashire running out winners 6.5 – 5.5. The U120 team qualify for the next stages in the ECF County Championships.
Lancashire v Yorkshire (Score 4.5 – 7.5), report from John Lyth (captain) – full match scores to follow.
A disappointing result, ending
a run of wins for Lancashire over our traditional adversaries. The match
began with a series of draws but several complex games looked in the balance
until late on. However, all but one of these went against us in the
end. Brett Lund, Nugith Jayawarna and David Phillips, in particular,
eventually lost games which really could have gone either way. Roy
Ellames, though, ensured that we did at least win one game.
Important though this match
was, it is fair to say that the knockout stages remain the key matches and we
hope to strengthen our side as the season progresses and as we move to 16-board
matches. The aim must be that I myself don’t play any chess for the
county, so that sixteen players stronger than me can do all the hard work while
I just watch from the sidelines.
Lancashire v Yorkshire (Score 4.5 – 7.5) full match score to follow.
Report from Bill O’Rourke (captain)
Many thanks to all the players who made the effort. Sickness claimed a few players, so we were a little under par. However we clearly had a bad day at the office – 9 draws, and 3 defeats (two of them very late on for John Whitfield and Cliff Rutlidge, hard luck men) gave Yorkshire a comfortable 7.5-4.5 victory,
John Addison was unlucky to not be able to convert an advantage in a very tricky knights ending. In my game I thought I saw an early sacrifice in the middle game that trapped his king in the centre – unfortunately couldn’t quite make it work (been reading John Littlewood’s middle game book too much!). i had to watch my defeat be compounded by 9 straight draws. To be honest, apart from John’s game, none of the games really offered any real hopes of victory for ourselves. A late incursion by the opponent’s queen into John Whitfield’s position proved fatal, and Cliff Rutlidge on board 2 finally had to succumb after his opponent’s rooks coordinated better for an eventual queen-side breakthrough.
The U140 team also played on the 2nd of December for the annual battle of the roses over the chessboard. The U100 report is elsewhere! The U140 team expected a battle with team selection hampered due to a clash with the Preston Congress.
In the end, a good victory, but as always the games could have gone either way. Lancashire running out victorious 7.5 to 4.5.
Grindrod , John
Grobler , D
Lee , S
Innes , David Malcolm
Ross , Andy
Litherland , Jim
Taylor , Derrick
Varley , John
Almond , David S
Grice , Alec
Widdup , Jason
Pollard , M
Flaherty , Steve
Andrews , Graham
Jerzynek , Neil
Grasham , J
O ' Rourke , Ben
Matthews , G
Swales , Andrew
Strickland , Ian
Lysons , Chris
Burton , Stephen