Bridge   3         Broadstairs   2

1 James Essinger  (155) 0-1           David Horton (164)
2 Patrick Burns (e136) 1-0           Bob Page (141)
3 Lee Butcher (e128) 1-0           Andy Flood (113)
4 Tim Spencer (e120) 1-0           Bob Cronin (101)
5 Ian Redmond (86) 0-1           Michael Doyle (80)

Bob Page writes:

Alas, it was a case of ‘so near yet so far’ in the Mick Croft Final. Having carefully selected a team with the maximum grade total of 625, we were dealt a double blow with the withdrawal of first John Couzens and then Alan Gosman. Not surprisingly, Bridge managed to find a team with an aggregate of 625 so our hastily rearranged team (599) was always going to find it a struggle. It was obvious from a glance at the two line-ups that it would be difficult for Andy and Bob on boards 3 and 4 so if we were to win the match, we would probably need to win on the other three boards.

Not for the first time this season, Michael pulled a rabbit out of the hat and was the first to finish on board 5. He admitted that his opening was dodgy at best but the ending was neat (see diagram). I was the next to finish but it was not the result I wanted.  Trying too hard to win, I overplayed my hand, left myself with a rook that went AWOL and a poor position: desperately disappointing. On board 4 Bob had a even game for a while but then lost a piece and the end came with a king and rook fork.  Andy fought gamely against Lee Butcher, who had a grade of 163 as recently as 2009, but eventually he was ground down and the match was lost.

Meanwhile on board 1 it would have been easy for David to take a draw at this stage.  He won a pawn against James Essinger early on but later sacrificed rook for knight and suddenly the game looked much more even. Both players fell short of time, James offered a draw but David played on, won a rook in time trouble but still James fought back, threatening to queen a passed pawn. However, David got his in first and won with less than two minutes left on his clock. What as shame it wasn’t the point we needed to win the match.

Many thanks to all those who played in the Mick Croft Cup this season – both matches!

White: Ian Redmond (86)                     Black: Michael Doyle (80)

Mick Croft Cup Final (2015)

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