Battling Tans give themselves a lifeline

Squeaky bum time has definitely arrived at the Dyvels! Tynedale Tans are in relegation trouble at the bottom of division one, with three difficult matches left to save themselves.

Tynemouth Trojans came to the Dyvels as favourites, but the Tans were ready for a fight.

The Tans’ prospects took a quick hit, as Dave Foster sr came unstuck on the opening. Chris Smith had a bit of pressure, encouraging Dave to enter into a series of exchanges that seemed to free his position. Unfortunately Chris had seen a sting in the tail and after the dust had cleared Dave found he couldn’t save his rook from the glare of Chris’s queen.

Parity was restored fairly quickly, as David Wrigley had some good fortune against David Henderson. DH seemed to have a nice initiative, and it looked like he might get a strong kingside attack, but DW found a couple of good moves to keep the position balanced. The game was decided by a two-move tactic. DH retreated his knight to try and regroup his attack but it was only guarded by his queen, which could be deflected. A piece down without any compensation, DH resigned.

Meanwhile, on board 2… Dave Weldon had Mick Riding on the ropes straight out of the opening: he won a pawn and completely paralysed Mick’s queenside pieces with tactical threats. It looked like Dave was going to win a piece, (both said afterwards that Dave had indeed missed a chance), but in the line Dave played a backrank threat meant that Mick could keep level on pieces, though Dave still had his extra (now passed) pawn. The position on the board was still better for Dave, though not entirely clear, but the game was decided on the clock. Dave’s time trouble caught up with him, and he blundered the exchange, which was enough!

Tim Wrigley had an absolute stormer of a game: his aggressive opening choice brought him early dividends as his pieces quickly found themselves on good attacking squares. Gary Cornwall played a couple of slightly slow moves and Tim took his chance. An attractive temporary rook sac won two pawns and exposed Gary’s king. Gary tried to find a way back into the game and he put his queen offside to try and generate some threats against Tim’s queenside. In doing so he allowed Tim’s queen to fork king and rook, so the game was over there and then.

So the match is level at 2-2 and the pressure all falls on Peter Crichton‘s shoulders. As Tim finished, Peter was a knight for pawn down – Darren Laws had been putting Peter under pressure in the middlegame with his powerful bishops, and Peter missed a tactical trick. However, Peter’s rooks were well placed and he had a well supported e5-f5 pawn centre. Darren forced an exchange of Bishops which seemed to benefit Peter more than him: Darren was left with doubled pawns, and his knight was awkwardly placed. Peter won another pawn with a rook fork and suddenly the outcome was far from clear. Darren’s clock was also becoming a bit precarious, and he offered Peter a draw (having declined one himself a few moves before). After a quick check on the match position, Peter agreed, a moral victory after a tenacious fightback.

So the Tans nick a draw. Despite grading disadvantages across the board we went toe-to-toe with Trojans, which bodes well for the crunch matches still to come.

Tynedale Tans 2½-2½ Tynemouth Trojans

David Wrigley 1-0 David Henderson (184)
Dave Weldon 0-1 Mick Riding (170)
Tim Wrigley 1-0 Gary Cornwall (168)
Peter Crichton ½-½ Darren Laws(143)
Dave Foster sr 0-1 Chris Smith(127)

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