Winston Glory

"Chess Notes" from County Down Spectator, 25 Mar 2004

For most of Bangor Chess Club, last week was the end of the League Season. Not so Winston who played two matches last week with another to come in a fortnight.

Richard Morrow's Winston Team celebrated on Tuesday night after their match against RVH. Despite some close calls and the odd draw, the team have struggled to gain bonus League points. Now, just as the season ends, they score their first full win claiming both bonus points.

Old campaigners, Evan Bell and Owen Wilson both lost their games and had to step aside to let the youngsters shine. Richard Morrow, David Symmington and Gary Johnston all scored excellent wins to give the team the match.

The team were unable to repeat the result against Randalstown on Thursday night. Ken Browne and David Symmington, both attacking as White on boards 2 and 4, succeeded in claiming good wins. The rest of the team fared less well with disappointing play. Evan Bell got his Queen trapped early on and Gary Johnston also carelessly gave up his Queen. Richard Morrow's game was last to finish and Richard looked to have the stronger position to recover the match for the team. But Jim Waddell managed to turn the tables and steal both game and match for Randalstown.

Carnegie Vindicated

With Eddie Whiteside unavailable, Arlo White stepped in for Carnegie's final match at North Belfast on Thursday. North Belfast fielded their best team but Carnegie were up for it; Arlo's win on board 1 balanced Mark Seidman's loss on board 5. Mark Newman, James O'Fee and Alan McConnell all secured good draws to even the match and claim a bonus point.

This result confirms Carnegie's position in fourth place well clear from Civil Service. A wonderful recovery for the team who languished at the bottom of the league for most of the season. In fact, the team have improved on last year's performance; undoubtedly being able to field a regular squad each week has helped Mark Newman build an effective team which has grown in confidence as the season progressed and hopefully will continue to do so next year.

Groomsport Relief

For Groomsport's last match, the team faced league contender Clifton House. With Albert McCarter unavailable, captain Richard Proctor cannot have relished the match especially as the outcome could well lead to relegation depending also on the result of RVH's match against Fisherwick.

However, Richard must have been cheered when Clifton House arrived a man short - Groomsport were instantly a game up for the match. Steve Scannell gave his usual excellent performance to win on board 1 while Damien Lavery forced a good draw on board 2. Board 3, Ron Henderson, looked very promising with a very strong position for Ron. But the clock was against him and ran out to give the game to Des Moreland. The match result now depended on Richard Proctor playing up on board 4. Although Damien Cunningham was able for Richard's aggressive style the end-game approached with the advantage in favour of Richard. Both players were under time pressure but Damien's defensive pawn structure complicated play just enough to hide an illusive mate for Richard; instead Damien claimed the game.

Overall, still a good result for Groomsport gaining the team a bonus for the drawn match. RVH's match on Wednesday was an incredible, clean 5-0 win for Fisherwick. This leaves Groomsport well clear of the bottom and hopefully safe from relegation. It also demonstrates, in rather convincing style, the dominance of Fisherwick who win the league 12 points clear from Clifton House.

Templar Bow Out

Templar played their final match on Thursday against RVH. Although holding third place, the team expected to drop a place to Bombardier with 3 matches in-hand. Perhaps at the end of the season with little to play for, the team had lost their edge.

Martin Moorcroft scored a convincing win on board 1 though he was forced to defend well against a robust attack from Michael Kane. David Grzymek did not play to his usual sparkling form accepting a draw in an awkward position from Colin Fenton. Philip Todd courted disaster with a strong King-side attack from Philip Morrison but managed to wriggle free to capitalise on White's over-committed position and with material advantage, gaining a strong win. Kevin Agnew dominated his game against K.Fisher but failed to make the most of his opportunities and gradually lost advantage eventually conceding. Richard Montgomery quickly gained the initiative in his board 5 game. By the middle-game, Paul Logan was being forced back, defending against Richard's Queen-side pawns advancing toward promotion. Paul's experience told when Richard was struggling for time; Paul forced a series of checks which should have drawn the game by repetition but Richard's flag fell before the draw could be claimed.

Although the matched ended in a draw gaining Templar a bonus point, the team must be disappointed to end an excellent season in such a way. Still, the team have performed brilliantly in their first season exceeding everyone's expectations; youngsters David Grzymek and Philip Todd - and now Richard Montgomery - continuing to show great promise, and welcome returns from Martin Moorcroft and Kevin Agnew.

Fixtures

There is only one more league match - for Winston - in 2 weeks time when Hillsborough come visiting. The next few weeks will be club nights when there will be plenty of opportunity for visitors to get a game from 7:30 onward at Groomsport Parish Halls. Club tournaments will be played before Easter and the club closes till next season.

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