While the sporting world is gripped by the Premier League title race between Manchester City and Liverpool, two teams are both tantalisingly close from Shropshire Chess League glory of their own.
Maddocks B missed the chance to clinch the division two title after losing 3-2 away to Telepost B, who are now their nearest challengers. Their conquerors from Abbey Foregate will now place twice more before Maddocks are in action again – and if they win both they will overhaul Maddocks at the top and leave the Oakengates club needing to win their final game against Telepost C on May 26 to win the division. But any slip ups would present the title to Maddocks.
Meanwhile, Telford B need just a point to secure the division three title. Their cause was helped by a shock defeat for their rivals Maddocks C, who were defeated by a bottom-of-the-table Telepost E side that had lost all nine of its previous matches this season. The top two will meet at Dawley’s Royal British Legion club on Wednesday (May 18), and anything other than a Maddocks win will see Telford crowned as champions.
The two close title races are a far cry from division one, where Maddocks A serenely sealed the title several weeks ago and are aiming to finish the season with a 100 per cent record.
In division two, Maddocks B arrived in Shrewsbury knowing a point against Telepost B would be enough to clinch the title. They started well as Simon Maydew defeated Rob Nield on top board. But Kate Walker equalised with victory over Tony Preece on board two, and after draws on the bottom two boards the match was decided on board three where Telepost’s John Westhead converted a piece advantage against Steve Tarr.
It proved to be a red-letter week for the Telepost club, as its C team won 3.5-1.5 away to Telford A – ending their hosts’ lingering title hopes and moving themselves off the bottom of the table in the process. Telford fielded a strong team, but Telepost C had an ace up their sleeve in the shape of Trevor Brotherton – one of the highest rated players in the county – making a first appearance of the season on top board. Brotherton defeated Richard Parry on top board, Westhead made it two wins in three days with an impressive victory over Toby Neal on board two and Fred Bench defeated the experienced John Footner on board three. Roger Brown secured a consolation victory for Telford on bottom board against Nick Holmes while Richard Szwajkun and James Holyhead drew their encounter on board four.
In division three, it was a special night for Telepost E duo Matthew Ryan and Jack Gough as both picked up their first competitive league wins in the 2.5-1.5 victory at Maddocks C. Ryan defeated Michael Reynolds on board three and Gough won against John Hill on bottom board. Mark Billington replied for Maddocks by beating Martin Ayres on top board.
Meanwhile, Shrewsbury B are a step closer to winning Shropshire Online Chess League division two after one of their closest challengers Newport Juniors defaulted their match after being unable to raise a team. The Bs are seven points clear, although Telford have three games in hand and the clash between the two in late June looks likely to be pivotal.
Telepost B 3-2 Maddocks B – R Nield 0-1 S Maydew, K Walker 1-0 T Preece, J Westhead 1-0 S Tarr, F Bench 0.5-0.5 M Morrison, G Shepherd 0.5-0.5 M Billington
Telford A 1.5-3.5 Telepost C – R Parry 0-1 T Brotherton, T Neal 0-1 J Westhead, J Footner 0-1 F Bench, R Szwajkun 0.5-0.5 J Holyhead, R Brown 1-0 N Holmes
Maddocks C 1.5-2.5 Telepost E – M Billington 1-0 M Ayres, I Jamieson 0.5-0.5 T Keegan, M Reynolds 0-1 M Ryan, J Hill 0-1 J Gough
Online division two:
Newport Juniors 0-3 Shrewsbury B (match defaulted), Newport A 3-0 Shrewsbury C, Telepost D 0-3 Telford, Telepost C 0-3 Telepost B