|Home Team: Northampton||Away Team: Bedford C|
|1||Chris Ross||207||1||0||Richard T Bodily||168|
|2||Greg Smith||173||0||1||Steve Pike||161|
|3||Shane Ashley||138||0||1||Giuseppe Valerio||154|
|4||David P Curran||123||0.5||0.5||Peter S Gill||134|
|5||Tom Malone||0||1||Richard McMorran||130E|
The C Team travelled to Northampton expecting a team determined to extract revenge against the only Team to have beaten them this season. We were again boosted by guest stars Richard Bodily and Steve Pike to take on Northampton’s marquee players on boards 1 and 2. As luck would have it two of their best players were missing but Richard and Steve were still out graded by 39 and16 respectively. Overall we had a slight plus, because Northampton had to drag in Tom Malone on Board 5 at the last minute. Tom hadn’t played for some time and was giving 52 grading points to Richard McMorran.
After a few minutes Richard had developed all his pieces and established an imposing pawn centre, whist Tom had still only got a lonely Knight off the back rank and had hardly got a pawn beyond the third. The end came quickly when Tom had a choice between losing his bishop or being check mated and chose the latter.
My game against Dave Curran also finished quickly on Board 4 when I proposed a draw – my computer agrees there was nothing in it but I must admit it’s a long way to go to play 15 moves. I must mend my wimpish ways!
Steve was next to finish against Greg Smith on Board 2 albeit about an hour later. His was a tight affair which came down to Steve’s Rook and Knight against Rook and Bishop with rival pawn majorities. Greg got in behind Steve’s pawns and seemed to be on the brink of a breakthrough. But Steve kept finding saving moves until he spotted a chance to create a passed pawn which raced to the Queening square.
So with the match already drawn attention turned to Joe. His opponent Shane Ashley had given up a pawn to prevent him castling. But Joe, crafty soul, never had any intention of castling and as his flag got closer and closer to the time control (no increments at Northampton – analogue clocks!) he was hell bent on demonstrating a mate seemingly even if that meant losing on time. He managed his 35 moves with a second to spare and after that, with the luxury of an extra 15 minutes, was on the verge of mate or gain of Shane’s only active piece when Shane resigned.
So the match was won but all eyes now turned to Richard’s rematch against Chris Ross, whose wonderful dog was, going by his very loud snores, not at all interested in the game. Richard put up a terrific fight, frightening Chris with an unexpected move, but just failing to hold a rook and pawn ending a pawn down.
Afterwards there was some silly talk of our catching Northampton to win promotion in case the A Team are demoted. It is mathematically possible but would require us to win all the games in our remaining matches and them to lose all theirs. So not very likely – but nor was our doing the double against them!
Peter Gill, 29th March 2018