Round 7 on 4th April saw our eight Wessex teams going into battle across all five divisions.
We played on 29 boards; sadly we had three defaults – two “real ones” where our players realised the matches were on too late to join and one which with slightly surreal techno-babble issues.
From the 29 games played, we scored 18 wins, 8 draws and just 5 “real losses”, a great set of results.
This translated in match terms into 5 wins, 2 draws and just 1 loss.
Our A team drew its final match. With 10 points from 7 matches, we finished very comfortably in 3rd place after a solid season in which we lost just one match to the eventual champions, Charlton Cobras A.
Our B team lost and with 4 points from 7 matches, we’re relegated to Division 2 – as our C team was promoted I assume they will swap places with the B team – given 4NCL rules will require the higher graded players to play in the higher division team I’ll then need to re-brand the teams back to B & C again to avoid total confusion ….
Our C team did well to win their round 7 “double-pointer” against Ashfield Anonymous B despite an unfortunate default on board 2 – wins from Roger & John plus a draw from Mircea took us “over the line” and saw us promoted with 9 points from 7 matches with a shot at becoming Div 2 champions in the play-offs (next week). You can see Roger’s smooth win at the end of this report.
This match was marred by a change of pairings AFTER 4NCL published them at 18:30 so my apologies for my confusing WhatsApp’s / emails when I was trying to work out what had happened – I was then distracted by a deluge of messages between various captains and 4NCL arbiters which continued for the next 24 hours…
Our D team again overwhelmed a lower team, this time Watford Juniors, with wins from Bill, Jamie C, Jamie D and Graham (who kindly stepped in to make his season winning debut)!
With 9 points from 7 matches, we finished in 3rd place – narrowly missing out on promotion.
Our E team had a strange default loss when both Richard and his opponent issued challenges which were not accepted – Richard & I are still struggling to understand what happened although as his account bizarrely showed him as “not active on lichess for one week” we had to gracefully concede it. Luckily Chris, Frank and Robert all won to win us the match by 2.5 – 1.
With 6 points from 7 matches, we’ve managed to stay up – indeed we manged to take 5th place from 8.
Our F team edged a tight match 2.5 – 1.5 with wins from Phil & Ed plus a hard-fought draw from Gillian.
With 7 points from 7 rounds we’ve finished mid-table.
The G team drew their match as Manuel won on board 4 (and Andrea & Chris got draws against higher graded players) – unfortunately under the brutal 4NCL rules because we did not register the result by 23:00 (due to incompetence from both captains) it was somewhat harshly scored as a 0-0 so the match was technically lost 2-1. It had been a tough evening with a number of issues and many emails, WhatsApp messages, defaults and phone calls so I can only apologise to Manuel and our G team that I somehow missed this one ☹
So in my “real world” we drew the match with a win from Manuel and draws from Andrea & Chris.
With 8 points from 7 matches we finished in 13th place from 35 teams by my real world result – ignore the 4NCL official table!
Our H team edged a close match, as wins from Florence and Larissa plus a draw from Steve took us to 2.5 – 1.5.
With 6 points from 7 matches we finished in 23rd place (from 35).
Overall a pretty good season with our one relegation balanced by a promotion and our C team in with a chance of Div 2 championship.
It’s been particularly tough fielding 32 boards this season and I’ve had to draw heavily on our loyal “play if desperate” reserves. Unless we get an influx of a few more “keen” players I’ll drop to 7 teams next season to reduce wear and tear on my nerves and your in-boxes!
At an individual level an outstanding performance from Jamie Doyle saw him take the “golden boot” (golden king?) with 6/7.
Allan Pleasants, unbeaten, with 3 wins and 4 draws took the silver boot with 5/7.
Manuel Herrera, Larissa Cuthbert, David Pye & Bill Adaway will have to fight over the bronze boot as they all scored 4½.
7 players played all 7 rounds – a remarkable number with the amount of OTB chess nowadays – a big thank you to them for their support – please take a bow….Jamie Doyle, Manuel Herrera, Tim McCullagh, Andrea Bucchi, Roger Marsh, David Pye & Allan Pleasants.
Grade-wise our top performers were the ever impressive Gavin Lock with a 2359 performance, followed by Oscar Garcia who had so many exciting & nerve-wracking games with a 2271. Rolandas Lukosius also had a great season to record a 2223 performance with David Pye just behind on 2215.
We’re on a break (except for the C team match next week) now until September so I wish you all well and thank you for your support over the last 7 seasons. Please feel free to recruit more players as I’d like to maintain 8 teams if possible 😊
Keith Gregory, 21st April 2023