Telepost A are within touching distance of winning their first Shropshire Chess League title since 2014 and ending Newport’s long reign after a decisive 3-1 win in the rivals’ crucial encounter. Newport A have won the championship for the last five seasons but with only one match left in their campaign are a point behind the leaders and also with a worse “goal difference” than the Shrewsbury-based table-toppers who themselves have two further matches to play.
With Telepost 2-1 in the running score, the result turned on the encounter on top board, where Nat Paul was facing his old Newport clubmate Gavyn Cooper. Paul built up a winning advantage which he converted into the full point with the luxury of knowing that he could still have taken a draw to seal the match victory.
An important moment in the match came when Nick Rutter made a rare mistake against Phil Zabrocki which lost a piece and, with Zabrocki too good a player to let him wriggle off the hook, ultimately the game. Newport’s only winner on the night was Alex Taylor when opponent Matt Clark, whose swashbuckling play had pinned Taylor to the ropes, overlooked a checkmate threat.
With all matches now finished in Division Three, Shrewsbury C have romped home to secure promotion a full eight points clear of second-placed Telepost D. To drive the point home to their county town rivals, they beat them 3-0 in the final match.
Division One – Maddocks 3, Shrewsbury A 1: D Gostelow 0.5, F Best 0.5; G Pugh 1, T Eales 0; S Maydew 0.5, P Kitchen 0.5; S Tarr 1, I Salter 0.
Telepost A 3, Newport A 1: N Paul 1, G Cooper 0; P Zabrocki 1, N Rutter 0; R Archer 1, N Clarke 0; M Clark 0, A Taylor 1.
Division Three – Telepost E 0, Oswestry C 3: N Holmes 0, J Smith 1; P Billington 0, S Tulett 1; M Ayres 0, A Evans 1.
Shrewsbury C 3, Telepost D 0: P Kitchen 1, S Sweeney 0; J Wilkinson 1, J Holyhead 0; I Salter 1, J Casewell 0.
Shrewsbury D 1.5, Newport C 1.5: J Birch 1, P Love 0; A Purser 0.5, A Jones 0.5; R Nayman 0, D Lovegrove 1.