Trophy delight as summer competitions reach crunch time

A league and cup double has been completed while a two-legged playoff was needed to decide the destination of another trophy as Shropshire’s summer chess competitions draw towards a conclusion.

Telford A made it a memorable season for all the right reasons as they defeated clubmates Telford B 3-1 in the final of the Minor Knockout. It comes after the Dawley-based side won the Shropshire Chess League division two title in impressive style with 12 wins from 12 matches earlier this year, earning them a return to the top flight after a five-year absence.

Meanwhile, Telepost’s James Holyhead is celebrating after winning a two-legged playoff against Shrewsbury’s Robert Green to claim the Minor Individual title. And no fewer than nine players are in the running to win Shrewsbury Town Championship going into the fifth and final round, with the tournament once again being contested extremely competitively.

In the Minor Knockout final, the top two boards finished as draws as Stefan Tennant and Ryan Barton held the A team’s top two Mark Keady and David Hollands. But the As’ greater depth told on the bottom two boards, where Toby Neal and Richard Szwajkun won their games. In the Minor Individual, both Holyhead and tournament debutant Green finished on 6/7. Green boasted an unbeaten record and defeated Holyhead earlier in the tournament, but Holyhead went into the playoff with the greater tiebreak score based on accumulated scores – meaning he only needed to draw the two-legged playoff to claim the title. Holyhead secured the point he needed by winning the first game, but generously waived his tiebreak advantage and agreed to play the second game. He won that too to win the playoff 2-0 and deservedly claim the crown.

The final round of Shrewsbury Town Championship will be played this month – and a whole host of players are still in the running. Telepost’s Dan Hilditch-Love is the sole leader on 3.5/4 – but eight players are in the chasing pack on three points. They range from the top two seeds Nigel Ferrington and Trevor Brotherton to nine-year-old Rudi Bedford, who himself pushed Hilditch-Love hard in round four before losing on time. The final round draw has thrown up some intriguing ties – Hilditch-Love has black against Shrewsbury’s Dan Lockett, Brotherton is black against third seed Peter Kitchen while Ferrington is also black against Telepost clubmate Fred Bench, who defeated Brotherton in the last round. Of the others in contention, Shane Greenwood has white against junior Sam Hollands, who came extremely close to an upset win over Kitchen in round four. Bedford has white against Shrewsbury’s Mark Smith while Nick Holmes faces Telepost A captain Matthew Clark.