Today the WDCL Div Four team’s promotion was confirmed following their win over Lichfield C on Tuesday. The team still have two matches left in which to take the championship. They remain unbeaten throughout the season and all credit must go to Captain and top board Dave H who is also unbeaten.
The build-up to the season finale continues a pace. The Pittaway Cup final has been confirmed as being on Monday 13th May @ Warley Quinborne’s new venue. The opponents Stourbridge should not be under-estimated having just beaten Halesowen in Division One. However, Mercia get a 2¼ handicap and should outgrade them on all boards. What can go wrong? Mercia have been in the final twice but never won the Trophy since its inception in 1972. Full history can be seen here.
Another dramatic night, with last minute emergency team re-selections, calls to and from Austria and late arrivals. The off-the-board stress has been much more than anything over-the board this season. Spanish star Phil cleaned up nicely on board one and everyone else took the liberty of a draw. The two points were the most important thing for the team as they leap-frogged Kiddy B to go top. Promotion will be secured with just a draw from one of the final two games against Halesowen B and Stourbridge B. Many thanks to the players who made the long journey especially at short notice. We are pleased that the emergency is over and things are on the mend. Matchcard is here and next match is Thu 28th Feb @ HAL.
Dave H sadly lost a long and solid match against current Champion Nick Arkell in the Rock Cup quarter finals. The game is now on Merciabase. In draws for the Semi-finals Andrew M faces Lee Grinsell in the Rock and Stu D will play Mike Groombridge in the Bidgood.
The Jan’19 grades bring some surprises to some! Andrew M goes up to 186, his highest grade for nearly 10 years. Tony S was expected to leap up but improves only by 2 to 172? Lee drops back as Jon H rises to 159. Both John P and Ken F go south as Dave H rises to a new record high of 124. Many others remain at the same level but the season is but half over and there are plenty of opportunities to improve over the final three months! See the Members page here.
Big win for the first team as they gave visitors Brewood a thrashing. To be fair though the scoreline flattered the over-the-board situation. Jon H arrived last and left first and must have been only 30 mins in the building! He sacked an unsound-ish Bish for the h7 pawn and after some pressure found a way through. Mark T did the opposite. Dropped a piece during a complex piece exchange and just didn’t have enough for it. His opponent now has 7 out of 7 for the season with an average in the 190s! Next Lee F managed to grind down a persistent opponent who had held out doggedly. Phil H on his debut also outplayed his opponent in the endgame with a B vs N and 4 pawns each. The Bish proved stronger and this was an excellent result. Andrew M gained a piece for two pawns early on thanks to an unsound sac. He withstood some pressure and collected the win fairly easily. Lastly, Tony S had turned down three good reasonable draw offers only to risk the loss to gain the victory. He managed to swindle the endgame having been level for 3 hours. Many thanks to all players who made it out in icy and snowy conditions. Matchcard is here. Next up St Georges at home in two weeks in the WDCL. Next week is MC at home in the BDCL.
A much weakened Mercian side made the second journey of the season to the Bowman and still picked up the valuable point needed for promotion. Jon H lost with the white pieces on two but John P recovered from last week to even things up. Dave W was a B+N for R up but missed a Q fork and could only manage a draw. With the other boards all drawn a 3-3 result was just the ticket for Merica. Next up Mutual Circle at home in two weeks. Here is the matchcard.
Our first victory for the B team, an in-form Dave W winning on board 5 and first to finish, all other boards drew. A big relief all round, we now go to WQ with high expectations even though we will be without Ken. Note that the WQ match has been moved to Monday 21st Jan at a new Venue (Stag and Three Horseshoes).
Mercia started the new year with a solid win against a moderate South Birmingham side. Jon H’s position on three looked blocked from the start and an early draw was agreed. John P went a whole pawn up early on but had a Rook trapped in the corner by his own Knight. Some deft footwork by his opponent won a piece and John lost in the end game. Mike S on five was a B for N up but the N was handily placed in the middle and nothing could shift it. A draw was the only option. On six Barry S had a very blocked position but a great N in then centre. His opponent missed a fork late on and Mercia gladly took the point. Andrew M on top went pawns then a R up early in the game and converted easily. Lee was two pawns up at one stage then just one in the end game. Perhaps another 100 moves and more time and he would have also converted. However, a draw was enough for the full points so the match was ended 3½-2½ but could have been more. Next up Rushall away next Monday where a draw would be a good result. Link to tables is here.