The last couple of weeks have featured rapid action for Telepost teams in the form of the Shropshire Rapidplay Leagues, with two of our teams topping their divisions. The leagues, which feature teams of four players and a time control of 20 minutes per player, are played over a number of match nights throughout the season, with each team hosting one night and those attending playing three matches each.
In Division Two, which is restricted to players with a rapid rating under 1640, Telepost hosted the latest evening and Telepost B scored three wins out of three to move nine points clear at the top of the table and needing two more match points to secure the title. Kate Walker on board two excels at this format and has a 100% record, backed up by Graham Shepherd and James Holyhead on 75% and 79%. Graham, on board one, had to survive a scare in the final match against Telepost C, when C team captain Steve Wilson had a winning position but ran out of time. The C team also did well on the night, with two draws against higher rated teams.
The A team travelled to Maddocks for their second Division One match night and came away with two wins and a loss to Maddocks A, with whom they are now joint top of the division. The division has always been hotly contested by the county’s strongest players, and this season looks like continuing that trend. Telepost’s Phil Zabrocki is in his element in this competition and is unbeaten with five wins and a draw, while Nigel Ferrington on top board has 5/6 and new recruit David Hodge 4.5/6. The team return to Maddocks in March for a rematch of the top of the table clash.
In the standardplay league, Telepost C temporarily moved back to joint top of Division Two with a 4.5-0.5 derby win over Telepost D, before Telford A regained a two point lead at the top with a win in their own derby match against Telford B. The C team’s win was far closer than the scoreline might suggest with Jack Gough on board one and Martin Ayres on board five both reaching strong positions that they were unable to convert. Alex Brims prevented the whitewash with a fine draw against James Holyhead. Telepost E, meanwhile, travelled to Newport B and came close to an upset with a 3-2 loss that featured a first league win for Graham Humphreys on board five.
Holyhead is the sole leader of the Shropshire Minor Individual as it reaches the end of round three, with three wins. Dennis Bonner, Alex Brims and Nick Holmes are one point behind. In the senior County Individual, Telepost’s sole representative Matthew Clark lost to third seed Rudy van Kemenade and now faces Shrewsbury’s Richard Vernon.
The new 4NCL Online season began with tough gigs for our teams. Telepost Dark Knights 1 faced a group of very able Scottish juniors in Lenzie Basilisks and had Matthew Ryan on board four to thank for avoiding the whitewash with a nicely finished, patient win. TDK 2, meanwhile, were heavily outrated and hunted down by Worcester Wolfpack 2. The 4-0 defeat marked the 4NCL debut for Richard Pugh who is playing for us from New Zealand, with matches taking place in his early morning – welcome Pughie!