Atticus 3
138 4.0 : 2.0 Skelmersdale 1 141
Stuttard, David
Melia, Steven
Ewart, Brian R
McGreal, Mike
Lambert, John F
Cowell, Russell
Ellington, Ben
Stanfield, David snr
Blasczyk, Martin
McHugh, Bart
Burge, Steve J
Quickfall, Andy


Tonight’s match was on a knife-edge until very late in the piece, and that we were able to ultimately take home the points was due to some solid and some quite scintillating performances across the team. 

By prior arrangement, Steve had kindly agreed to act as stand-in captain on the night, since due to work commitments I could not be sure to arrive in time.  The denouement of this particular episode of “Planes, Trains and Automobiles” saw my taxi from Manchester Airport arrive at the door the Cross Keys at 7.28pm, which afforded me the luxury of being able to watch the games from start to finish. 

Ben was first to finish.  There is a brutal poetry to his chess right now, of the kind that would surely have appealed to Norman Mailer.  Starting briskly from the opening bell, he dropped his opponent to the canvas inside the opening few rounds, and continued to rain blow with deadly accuracy until the towel was duly thrown. 

Shortly afterwards Steve locked up a further half-point, in a fashion that is starting to haunt my dreams with its familiarity.  Like his beloved football team, he is yet to lose this season and long may that last! 

Brian was next to finish, playing a textbook game which began with kingside pressure, developing into a breakthrough in the centre establishing a strong, centralised knight pair before finally infiltrating his opponent’s position with queen and rook who took personal responsibility for the surrender treaty. 

Martin had looked in a precarious position from early on, with an exposed king, but fought hard and turned weakness to strength in the form of counter-play as his h-pawn began to march.  The result was still hanging in the balance when a late tactic sealed the point for his opponent in the cruellest fashion. 

John looked rock solid in his game, with a slight positional advantage for much of the game, but Russell was able to fight back and equalise. 

Which left all eyes on the game between Steven Melia and Dave Stuttard.  Steven is a class act and will not drop many points this season.  Coming out of the opening he looked handily placed to prevail, but Dave managed to find some sharp play which culminated in piece versus marching kingside pawns where Dave was able to force resignation with just seconds remaining on his opponent’s clock.

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