Telepost C celebrate gaining promotion ahead of their final match. Left to right, Nick Holmes, captain Dennis Bonner, Vinnie Crean, James Holyhead, Kate Walker
Final placings for our teams in the Shropshire League see Telepost C as the sole honours winners, securing promotion to Division 1 to replace Telepost B who head in the opposite direction. Telepost A finish mid-table in Division 1, with Telepost E and D taking the bottom two positions in Division 2.
Telepost C captain Dennis Bonner, who steered the campaign with his customary tenacious positivity, commented:
“Many congratulations to our C team who have finally achieved promotion to the hallowed halls of the 1st Division. We finished four points above our nearest rivals to achieve the runners up position, second only to Telford A. All of the C team achieved astounding results and well deserve this accolade.”
The C team’s promotion was confirmed ahead of their final match against Telepost E, which meant that fixture was a chance for recently joined club members to gain league experience playing for the E team. Standout performance came from Archie Flavell on board one, who gained material and a strong position to defeat Kate Walker. Kate had an excellent season on top board for the Cs, with 7.5/11, making Archie’s win all the more impressive. The youngster had also impressed in a 4NCL debut, where his win after enduring a four-hour train strike-beset journey helped Celtic Tigers secure a vital win – more details here. Another excellent performance came from junior Merry Curtis who showed excellent temperament in drawing against a typically solid Vinnie Crean in a long game on board 3.
The E team, which has featured new players throughout the season, finished with a creditable 6 points, ahead of Telepost D. The D team closed out the season by giving champions Telford A a close run in a 2-3 defeat notable for Alex Brim’s excellent win in a very sharp game against Telford’s dangerous board 2, Richard Szwajkun. Top board saw decades of experience meet as reserve Graham Shepherd beat Telford’s John Footner. A default on bottom board for the Ds meant the visitors retained their 100% win record.
In Division 1, Telepost A partially avenged their 5-0 thumping at Oswestry A with a draw in the return fixture before finishing the season on a high by beating champions elect Maddocks A in their final game – this was Maddocks’ only defeat of the season, though perhaps influenced by some pre-match celebrations in a local Abbey Foregate hostelry. Telepost B, meanwhile, defaulted one board on their trip to Oswestry A, but the 4-1 loss masked a superb win for Daniel Hilditch-Love on top board against the 2031-rated Rudy Van Kemenade. The B team have the chance to match their opponents’ points tally if they win their final match away to Maddocks B, but the Oakengates side’s superior points difference means the Bs’ wooden spoon status is baked in.
The conclusion of Rapidplay Division 1 was a nailbiter for Telepost A. Player unavailablity meant that three reserves joined Nigel Ferrington for the penultimate match night. Crucial draws against title rivals Maddocks A and Newport A, plus a win against Maddocks B, left the A team with a precarious one-point lead going into the final night. The in-form Dan Hilditch-Love beat his own time trouble to score three draws and his services were retained for the decisive round – which took place less than a week later – as regular team members Phil Zabrocki and David Hodge were both still out of the country. A repeat of the draws against Maddocks and Newport meant the title was in reach, but a last-match 1.5-2.5 loss to Shrewsbury A meant Maddocks grabbed a classical and rapidplay double by one point. Ferrington finished with 12.5/15 – the top performing board one player in the competition.
Ferrington also leads the table as the Telepost Club Championships reaches the final round. He has a half-point lead and a game in hand over both his final-round opponent John Westhead and Matthew Clark, but Rob Nield is lurking in the shadows a point behind, with three games still to play. To keep in trim for the final round, Nigel has agreed to stage two simultanous exhibitions. The first is for our Junior players, on Monday 12th June at 7pm at the club. A week later, Nigel takes on 18-plus members, starting at 7.30pm. This is a chance to pit yourself against one of the strongest players in the county in what is usually a competitive but social atmosphere – let Dennis Bonner know if you would like to attend.
Congratulations to Juniors Rudi and Henry Bedford who finished second in the U10 and U12 sections respectively at the Herefordshire Megafinal. The next Megafinal action is here in Shropshire – June 10 at Charlton School – details here. Also, a number of Juniors are taking part for Telepost C in the final match night of Shropshire Rapidplay Division 2, hosted at Telepost on Monday 22 May. Further, less formal, competition for the Juniors comes in the form of a new ladder introduced by mentor Paul Billington – play as often as you like and move up the ladder as you accumulate points.
Finally, best of luck to James Holyhead, who is in a three-way tie for the title as the Shropshire Minor Individual enters the last round. Telepost have won the competition in alternate years since its inception and this is a “Telepost year” – no pressure, James! John Casewell is in a strong position for a grading prize.