Maddocks A have completed the final leg of an historic treble after defeating fellow finalists Telepost B 2.5-1.5 to lift the Cox Trophy.
The Oakengates side squeezed home against the tournament’s surprise package to add the knockout trophy to the Shropshire Chess League and Shropshire Rapidplay Chess League title secured earlier in the season. It crowns a season of unparalleled dominance for Tony Preece’s side, who also had to overcome the unavailability of key players during the season to retain their league title and add further silverware.
They didn’t have it their own way against Telepost B, whose fairytale journey to the final was ended by a narrow loss. The Bs finished bottom of the Shropshire Chess League division one table but beat Oswestry A 2.5-1.5 in the quarter final before knocking out clubmates Telepost A on tiebreak in the semi final after a 2-2 draw. In a match broadcast on the internet using live boards, favourites Maddocks made it home thanks to wins for Andy Grillage and Preece on boards two and four, meaning Shane Greenwood’s win over Glyn Pugh on board three was no more than a consolation for Telepost.
Meanwhile, Newport A were the winners of a fiercely competitive Shropshire Team Quickplay Championship, held over a single day at Maddocks Social Club. Six teams played each other twice in a 10-round all-play-all league format. Telepost were top of the table at the end of the league stage – but Newport A emerged as champions on tiebreak after the grand final between the two sides finished as a 2.5-2.5 draw. Fred Bench of Telepost was among the star performers with 11/11, while Newport’s Nick Rutter scored 9/11 on top board, including securing the vital win in the final over Telepost’s Phil Zabrocki.
Despite the regular league season drawing to a close, Shropshire players of all ages have still been able to shine on the competitive stage. Oswestry’s Charles Lowick Higgie captained Wales Cymru at the recent European Senior Team Championship in Poland, scoring a very respectable 4/9 on board two as his side flirted with the top 10 before defeats in the final two rounds against strong opposition from France and Sweden. He was also joined by clubmate Rudy van Kemenade, who scored 3/9 on top board.
Following a successful UK Chess Challenge Megafinal held once again at Charlton School in Wellington in June, a number of junior players made it through to the regional gigafinal at Wright Robinson College in Manchester. Juniors belonging to Newport, Telepost and Telford chess clubs as well as local schools and colleges competed.
Despite fierce competition – in some sections more than 100 players were competing for just two spots in the national terafinal – the Shropshire players acquitted themselves well. Among those competing were Rudi Bedford and Freddie Wyatt, who scored 4.5/7 and 3/7 respectively in the under 10 boys, Henry Bedford and Ellick Spiers secured 3.5/7 in the under 12 boys, while Archie Flavell scored 3/7 in the under 18s.
Shropshire Junior Chess Club also took part in a friendly in Market Drayton against Potteries Junior Ches Club based in nearby Staffordshire. The visitors narrowly scraped home 7.5-6.5, but it is hoped the match will become an annual fixture and will enable more juniors to gain valuable experience.
Cox trophy results:
Telepost B 2.5-1.5 Oswestry A – D Hilditch-Love 1-0 R van Kemenade, S Kempsell 1-0 R Bryant, S Wilson 0-1 A Bailey, C Bethune 0.5-0.5 G Slegg
Maddocks A 3-1 Maddocks B – A Ansari 0-1 W Bates, A Grillage 1-0 S Tarr, G Pugh 1-0 G White, T Preece 1-0 M Morrison
Newport A 1-3 Shrewsbury A – N Rutter 0-1 F Best, C Lewis 1-0 M Smith, I Jamieson 0-1 D Lockett, P Love 0-1 I Salter
Telepost A (bye).
Telepost A 2-2 Telepost B – N Ferrington 0-1 D Hilditch-Love, T Brotherton 0.5-0.5 R Nield, P Zabrocki 0.5-0.5 J Westhead, F Bench 1-0 J Holyhead – Telepost B win on bottom board elimination
Shrewsbury A 1-3 Maddocks A – F Best 0-1 A Ansari, P Kitchen 0-1 A Grillage, M Smith 0-1 T Preece, D Lockett 1-0 S Tarr).
Maddocks A 2.5-1.5 Telepost B – A Ansari 0.5-0.5 D Hilditch-Love, A Grillage 1-0 S Kempsell, G Pugh 0-1 S Greenwood, T Preece 1-0 A Flavell