Wolverhampton WDCL Pittaway Cup Semi Final

Thurs 13 Dec 2012. Venue: Wolverhampton.

Pittaway Cup Semi Final - Wolverhampton vs Stourbridge
Mike Townsend (193)            0 - 1    Greg Dyett (160)
Rob Marshall (185)             0.5 - 0.5 David Scriven (153)
Phil Bull (164)                    0.5 - 0.5 Steve Jukes (150)
Dave Wightman (157)            1 - 0    Paul Sharratt (136)
Peter Pearson-Jones (145)  0.5 - 0.5 John Loynes (123)
Phil Porter (144)                 0.5 - 0.5 Colin Woodall (115)
Jonathan Hunt (141)           0.5 - 0.5  Steve Alcock (103)
Gordon Sands (136)              1 - 0    Helen Kirkby (Ung)
(1265)                               4.5 - 3.5          (940+1 Ung)
Stourbridge travelled to Wolverhampton for the second time in a fortnight for a season-defining clash.  Having won the WDCL 2 match, which is likely to be the title decider, the return match determined who would go through to the Pittaway Cup final.  Wolverhampton were again missing key players, this time their Boards 1 and 5, but were relieved to find that Stourbridge had faced even greater difficulties in raising their best team, missing Boards 1 to 3.  This gave Wolverhampton a healthy 27 point grading advantage over the top 7 boards for which grades were available.  However, as has been the pattern for the season so far, things did not turn out quite as expected.  Gordon Sands was the first to finish, winning quickly on Board 8 and Phil Bull drew on Board 3 to give the home team a good start.  After that, the match settled into a pattern of solid defence and probing for opportunities.  Rob Marshall, Peter Pearson-Jones, and then Mike Townsend all went a pawn up at various stages, but slowly draws were agreed by Rob Marshall, Peter Pearson-Jones, Phil Porter and Jonathan Hunt on Boards 2, 5, 6, and 7 respectively.  This left the score at 3.5 - 2.5 with just two matches left, but then Mike Townsend lost on time, throwing the match back into the balance.  At 3.5 - 3.5, Stourbridge had the advantage on board count, meaning that a win was required on Board 4.  Dave Wightman had been nursing a tiny advantage, an isolated black pawn in the centre, for most of the game until, with the time control approaching, he was able to convert the pressure into a pawn advantage.  Two pawns and a knight against a bishop and a pawn is tricky ending for either side, and Dave Wightman was quite relieved when the black flag fell, giving the home side the match and a place in the final by an extremely narrow margin.  Congratulations to Stourbridge for a fine team performance on the night, and Merry Christmas to all.

Courtesy of Dave Wightman