Let’s begin a busy week of coverage with Hebden Bridge ‘B’s visit to Courier A. Things didn’t get off to a great start when it became apparent that the ‘B’ team were going to be casualties of a league schedule which dictated that both divisions would begin on the same day. Normally, team Captain Martin Syrett would have been able to draw on reserves from the ‘C’ team but, as they were playing a home fixture, he was unable to field a full side.
Courier ‘A’ have been significantly strengthened by the return of John Morgan after a year away from the league. He is a board 1 strength player but this year he will play on board 3 due to the continued presence of Dave Patrick and Robert Clegg who both have marginally higher grades. The strength of this line up would have made the away fixture difficult for the ‘B’s at the best of times but the absence of a board 5 player made the encounter very difficult indeed.
Unusually, it was the top board that finished first. Robert Clegg and Dave Shapland raced through the opening as they banged out 10 moves of mainline Sicilian Dragon theory reaching the position below.
|Clegg vs. Shapland|
Position after 10...Nxd5
|Colledge vs. Kerrane. |
Position after 7.Qa4?!
Meanwhile, on boards 2 and 3 respectively Andy Leatherbarrow and Martin Syrett were struggling to stay in touch with strong opponents. John Morgan put Martin out of his misery fairly swiftly after Martin’s light squared bishop got itself into hot water fairly early on in one of those strange flank opening’s that John like’s to play (1.f4 and later 4.b4!? on this occasion). However, Andy made Dave work very hard on board 2, forcing his opponent to chart a course through a labyrinth of forcing lines before finally snuffing out Andy’s desperado attack late in the evening.
The final score card is given below. On this evidence Courier 'A' could be very competitive indeed if they can get Peter Hughes out regularly on board 4 and Dave Colledge on board 5. For the ‘B’ team, better times will lie ahead but they are going to have to score well in their home fixtures where they will be able to put out their strongest line-up.
Courier A vs. Hebden Bridge B
R.Clegg ½ - ½ D.Shapland
D.Patrick 1 - 0 A. Leatherbarrow
J.Morgan 1 - 0 M.Syrett
D.Colledge ½ - ½ J.Kerrane
T.Joemagi 1 - 0 Default
4 - 1