Leaders of the Pack
Heathcote Arms 1st, ½ v 4 ½ Market Harborough 2nd
By Mike Garland
Market Harborough 2nd team were ahead only on board difference (same as goal difference) against second place Heathcote’s 1st team when the two sides meet in early December. Market Harborough also had a game in hand against their opponents but knew that a lose would see them overtaken going into the mid-season break. Market Harborough won this match 4.5-0.5 the score maybe doesn’t reflect that this was 1st vs 2nd in the table but on the night Harborough’s strength and determination to win meant they could enjoy Christmas on top of the table. Championships are never won by Christmas but can often already be lost by this point of the season. The second half of the season awaits and they know that every team they face will be out for revenge.
On board 1 has been the every present, if sometimes slightly late, Mark Waterfield and even Heathcote’s captain Peter Harrison couldn’t stop Mark from racking up another win. Winning is the only result Mark knows how to get for the 2nd team, having won all his games thus far. Mark also joined Cuatro team last year and is now established himself in the Harborough team.
Board 2 has been Dave Curran’s spot in the team, less one game where Mike filled in. Board 2 like board 1 has been an unwinnable mission for any oppression player challenging this team. Dave with two wins and a draw added a second draw to his score for the season against John Manger.
Board 3 saw Jon Redding, who’s also played on board 4, played as white for the third game in a row and won again; this time against Michael Cowley. This gives Jon 3 wins from 3 in his debutant season in over the board. Having been a key part in the 4ncl team Jon has taken to over the board like a duck to water. Given the weather outside during the match a duck would have been loving it.
Board 4 saw Captain Mike Garland win again this time plying Ray Beach. Mike has played on boards 2, 3 &4 this season and has only been broken once when he got too attacking. He was almost every present during two seasons of 4ncl losing only once, sounding familiar. This is Mike’s first season as captain of a chess team and seems to be managing this new team to a achieve their goals. He has new players to nurture and try’s to play extra boards to give more players the chance to perform but knowing the team squad is key to its triumphs.
Board 5, Having been played previously higher up the order board 5 is becoming Alistair Geear’s home. Alistair has had a draw and a lose this season to go with his two wins but facing Gordon Milner Alistair acquired another win. Alistair too is in his debutant season in over the board having come from 4ncl Cuatro squad.
This team that has been formed from mainly players of the successful Harborough Cuatro 4ncl teams; they know that every game counts and every piece on every board in any game in the end, might be the different come the close of the season.