Alnwick v Reivers

This fixture took place at Morpeth on Wednesday March 4th with the following line-up:
1. G. Ellames (147) v Jeremy Handley (144)
2. R. Firth (123) v Derek Blair (135)
3. J. Pharoah (116) v Phil Taylor (115)
4. V. Cowley (u) v Steve Larkin (107)
5. C. Cox (37) v Peter Booker (77)
A quick finish on top board where Jeremy was so focussed on his own plans that he failed to spot a pawn check leading inevitably to the loss of his queen. He resigned on move 14. 1-0
On board 5 Peter, who was comfortably ahead, was likewise so engrossed in his own strategy that he allowed his opponent back into the game. Fortunately he was able to retrieve the situation and his opponent resigned when faced by a barrage of passed pawns. 1-1
Steve’s game should have been a straightforward win against a weak opponent, but it came down to a rook and pawns ending with Steve holding just a one pawn advantage. It took him forever to queen a pawn and force mate. 1-2
Phil likewise went into a rook and pawns ending one pawn up, but while his king was in the corner of the board, James’s was in the centre supporting a passed pawn. The pawn queened, obliging Phil to sacrifice his rook, and he resigned shortly afterwards when it was clear that he could not stop a second pawn from queening. 2-2
With the match result hinging on this game, Derek found himself in a complex position which was materially even but where he was very much on the defensive, as well as being down on time, so when the offer of a draw came he was happy to accept it. 2.5-2.5
So with one match point, the Reivers remain in 4th place in division 3, half a point behind Alnwick but with a game in hand (this was Alnwick’s last match of the season, while the Reivers have still to play South Shields B), so a third place finish is a distinct possibility.

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