The A team went into the New Year in first place in Division 1, despite some less than convincing performances. Certainly our form has not been as impressive as last season, but luckily others also seem to have been playing worse. The league looks like being a four way fight between ourselves, Shirley, Daventry and Stratford, with perennial champions Olton A currently well off the pace. Our 3-1 win over them was the highlight of the season so far, with Paul Lam scoring a massive win on top board. We kicked off 2014 with a slightly disappointing 2-2 draw against Shirley, where I conspired to lose from an advantageous position, thus cancelling out a good win by Andy Baruch. But everything’s still to play for - could this be our first title since 1988?
The B team has been finding the going tough in Division 2, and has suffered from being unable to have anything like a settled team – ten players used so far! – and a couple of defaults have not helped. (Though on one occasion Stuart responded manfully to an 11th hour call and allowed us to field a full team.) 2014 has started well, though, with an excellent draw away at Leamington even though we were heavily outgraded. Stuart (again!) and Dave Shurrock were our two heroes from this match, and subsequently we only just went down by the minimum margin against runaway leaders, Solihull A. It’s a great shame that Joshua has had to miss a few matches due to clashes with the Coventry League, as he has racked up a very impressive 5.5/6 so far on Board 1.
Much more success to report for the C team in Division 3, where we currently lie joint top with Solihull C, albeit having played a game more. Mike, Nick and Rod have been the mainstays of the team, though when players were short, Mike roped in Daniel Rowlands from Coventry and a long time inactive (and ex Coventry team mate of mine) Royal Oak visitor, Eddie Gibson, to complete the team – and they notched up 3/3 between them!
The D team has not been setting the world on fire so far and currently sit next to bottom of Division 4. We can only hope for an improvement in the coming months – onwards and upwards!