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Ballynafeigh Do It Again

Ballynafeigh Division 2 squads both entertained opposition on Tuesday night: Paddy Magee's team took on NICS while the 4th team lead by Dennis Wilkinson setup ready for Belfast South's Kelly's Heroes. Anything could happen in either match.
Ballynafeigh Do It Again

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Ballynafeigh 4th vs Kelly's Heroes

Belfast South put out a mean looking squad led by Neil Green on top board supported by Bernard Jaffa, Martin Kelly, Cathal Murphy and George Jackson. A tough outfit for the junior Ballynafeigh team giving up a few hundred points and masses of experience on every board.

Lavery (Ballynafeigh) vs Jaffa (Belfast South)On board 2 Bill Lavery opened against Bernard Jaffa. Bill has been slowly getting back to his old form in the past few matches with clean, efficient results. In an aggressive game of only 20-odd moves the board had cleared down to Queen & Rook facing off against each other. It looked like Bill had Bernard's King trapped in the corner but there was a back rank  mate possibility just waiting for Bernard to pull the trigger [see diagram - White to move]. In the end both agreed a draw and indeed with some hard after-game analysis there was no immediate win for either player.

Ballynafeigh vs Kellys Heroes: Board 2-5This tight finish was echoed in most of the other games in the match: Dennis Wilkinson took a good draw from Neil Green, Eoin Carey, under time pressure, had to accept a draw from Cathal Murphy while John Price and Tanya Jones conceded boards 3 & 5 to Martin Kelly & George Jackson respectively. Kelly's Heroes ran out match winners by 2 points but that score-line does not really reflect how close the local boys came to forcing another upset after their 4-1 demolition of Muldoons last week.

 

Ballynafeigh 3rd vs NICS

NICS fielded their usual weaker team missing Cuban-stylist on board 2 but still managed to dominate their opponents by a significant rating margin. Of course, as recent performances indicate, the Ballynafeigh lads are seriously under-rated.

Ballynafeigh vs NICS boards 2 & 3Drew Ferguson opened for NICS on board 2 against Barney McGahan. Both players squared up to each other on the first 3 files. Barney got a pawn advantage for his efforts but evidently reckoned he had the weaker position and forced a trade-down that managed to lose him a minor piece and control of the centre. With Black reduced to only a black Bishop Drew was able to occupy the white squares and push pawns through leaving Barney in a hopeless position. NICS Mark Newman opened against Mark Hewitt and dominated the game from the off. Black opted for a passive, defensive role letting White prepare and co-ordinate. When the onslaught came, Black hardly got a look in as NICS took their second game to lead the match.

Magee (Ballynafeigh) vs Burns (NICS)Paddy Magee arrived late to a running clock as Alan Burns waited patiently on board 2. Alan played his usual game letting Paddy come forward while he beavered away on the King's-side setting up his usual dreaded pawn and Knight combination. As ever confident in his defensive capabilities, Alan shrugged off several forays from Barney; there was no way through. Still, the piece count was reducing and while Alan at various times had mate-on-the-move, Paddy was able to find a response to thwart White's threats [see diagram - Black to move]. As pieces came off, Alan struggled to maintain his threats while Paddy's core attack was largely still intact. Eventually Alan had to succumb to the inevitable and conceded the game.

Board 5 Paul Devlin defended against NICS Pete Storey. A useful attack from Pete sucked Paul's King first down the g-file and then bullied into the centre. White's Rook on the c- and f-files contained the King as Pete manoeuvred for position. But this gave Paul time to develop his Rooks which had been stranded on their starting squares. Pete was already in time trouble trying to find a mating combination; this let Black back into the game as the position got ever more complicated. Time just ran out for Pete, tying the match 2 games a piece.

Ballynafeigh vs NICS boards 4 & 5Final game on board 4 where Paul Anderson opened against Adrian Donford-Smith for NICS. Paul appeared to be under pressure but spotting a vulnerable Rook, used a neat distraction tactic to get the Rook for virtually nothing. But as a consequence, Paul's pieces ended up poorly co-ordinated and partially impotent behind the extensive pawn chain. Adrian had better opportunities and was able to push a couple of pawns through to the 7th rank. Paul still had difficulty co-ordinating his pieces to get any sort of counter-threat going; meanwhile Adrian was suffering from a 20 minute disparity on the clock. Adrian got the move order wrong for promoting his pawns, missing a check and letting Paul recover to neutralise the threat. With Paul's material superiority and his remaining pieces now working in concert, Adrian was forced to capitulate.

Ballynafeigh 3rds ran out match winners with a 3 boards to 2 result. Another surprising result  for the novice team. Well the surprise was only on paper, NICS were well beaten over the board.

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