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End of Season Report

posted Jun 3, 2018, 1:29 PM by Phil Morgan

4NCL Report 

Here is the report of our 2017/18 4NCL Season in Division Three(North).

There were five weekends – two at Doncaster and three at Bolton.  The League was dominated, not surprisingly, by the Irish Champions Gonzaga who finished with 21/22. Gonzaga were extremely unlucky in 2016/17 to lose out to Manchester Manticores 1 and Manx Liberty.  The latter, bolstered by even more grandmasters won the Division 2 Championship with 14/14 and now go on to challenge Guildford’s dominance of Division One.  Manchester meanwhile performed poorly but at least didn’t have to play in a relegation pool.

The second promotion spot from our League was a dogfight between several teams and whilst Ashfield-Breadsall 1 were never in the mix to go up, our Round Ten and Round Eleven results were pivotal in deciding the final positions. In Round Ten we were brushed aside 5½-½ by Bradford Knights “A” – the result not reflecting a match where we had three of the last four games in play. In Round Eleven we faced Shropshire 1 who had already reached 16/20 – a Shropshire win would certainly have seen them through but the Salopians were defeated by 3½-2½ with Alex Combie winning the deciding game – the last game of the Division to finish. With third placed 3C’s2 losing to Cheddleton, Bradford came up on the ropes to finish with another win and draw level with Shropshire on 16/22 outpointing them on board average by 40 to 38.

Ashfield-Breadsall 1 finished 6th with 13/22 and 38½ game points. This is one point and one place better than last season. However it should be said that the Division was weaker than last year and included in the points total were two 6-0 wins.  We were hampered by an inability to turn out our top players – Louis moved to London at the start of 2018, Esteve didn’t play at all because of a (non chess-playing) injury whilst Paul and Glenn managed just three games between them. These were the players who I would have expected to be playing the upper boards and there is no doubt they were missed.  Andy Walker had to step in and play  Board One for all six games at Bolton, an honour I’m sure he wasn’t expecting.  There were, however, two exceptional and outstanding results for the team  - Alex Combie scored 8/10 (+8 -2) and Mike Naylor 8/11 (+6 =4 -1), Alex in particular keeping us entertained with his clock management when he, usually, seemed to be working on 30 second increments.  Everyone else put in a shift and there were plenty of good individual results along the way.

It was a very disappointing season for Ashfield-Breadsall 2 who finished 17th out of twenty teams with 7/22 which was worse than last year.  Whilst the Division was weaker at the top, the lower reaches certainly strengthened up from 2016-17 and this was reflected in results with only 23½ game points obtained. Again there was one player who made a substantial contribution to the total in Dave Flynn with 7/11 (+4 =6 -1). None of the remaining players who made up the usual team (Bob, myself, Maurice, Armaan & Terry) managed to reach 50%.

Can I now move on to Team Management issues?  The squad was certainly weakened with the withdrawal of Derek Jarvis who has been a regular and ever present since we began. It was clear that we needed reinforcements by the time Week 3 had arrived and I’m indebted to Terry Lavelle who stepped in and bolstered the squad. In addition we had to use three wild cards and again can I thank Nigel Wright, Pete Mercs and Andy George for their assistance in playing.  As well as this, Somton, who was nominated reserve, also had to play some games when he would have been expecting to be sitting out and watching Anita. Can I remind everyone that there is a £1.50 match fee per game – if I’ve not caught you yet please get in touch and I’ll advise on methods of payment to reimburse me!! 

Finally I have been in touch with Mike Truran and I’m sorry to say that we can’t slot back into Division Three(South) when we re-enter the South Divisions at Daventry next season. Both teams will have to start in Division Four (South). For our first team this will mean we must strengthen up to get back into the Third Division – for the second team some easier opponents but lots of undergraded juniors to play.  I’ll be in touch in due course.  Dates for next season are here :-       so mark them in now!