It has been an overall positive season, marked by solid and occasionally spectacular form in all four divisions of the league, as well as numerous good runs in the individual KOs. A first ever victory in a National Club KO rounded out the season in style.
The A Team finished in 6th position out of 9. The highlight was a 3.5-0.5 win at Daventry, which also saw Dan Aldridge hand the 207-rated Chris Ross his only defeat of the season.
After a bad start, the B Team rebounded to finish 4th of 7. They achieved a rare 4-0 win; somewhat improbably, this came away from home against eventual winners Banbury.
The C Team came 7th of 9, although they might have finished substantially higher if not for miscommunications which led to multiple games being forfeited. The highlight was a 2.5-0.5 win at eventual champions Shirley.
After a good start, the D team were disappointed to finish 7th of 9 with a record of W5 D2 L9, though they did finish a long way ahead of the bottom two. There were also some good wins; like the B and C teams, they won against the eventual champions, 2.5-0.5 at Olton.
Leamington entered one team in the Open, two in the U700, and one in the U120. However, as these teams combined for 1 win in 5 matches, perhaps the less said about these the better! There were several close defeats, and reason to believe that we can improve on this showing next year.
Leamington were represented in each of the four finals. Andy Collins came up against frequent champion Colin Searle in the Open final, and took the opening game after a long and fluctuating struggle. Colin fought back in game 2, however and after a win each in the tie breaker won an epic match in game 5.
The U150 final was contested between two Leamington players, Tom Darling and Ben Graff. After escaping with a draw in game 1, Tom edged the 2nd game to win the title.
In the U120, Guy Greenland made it all the way to the final. There, he fought back from a defeat in game 1 to force a tiebreaker, but his opponent, Stuart Calderbank, ultimately prevailed.
Peter Leggett was our representative in the U90 final. He was unlucky to come up against a player in Michael Woodford whose grade has since risen into the 150s, but still managed to rebound from an initial loss by forcing a creditable draw in game 2.
Dan Aldridge, who had to withdraw from the previous year’s Knockout, won back his title after seeing off Steve Burnell (on the 2nd rapidplay tiebreaker), Tom Bridson, Andy Price and Ben Graff. Meanwhile, a strong Plate competition saw Ola Olaleye defeat Steve Burnell in the final.
In the All-Play-All, Tom Darling edged Steve Burnell by half a point for the title, helped by playing 7 more games than his rival. The U125 award went to Peter Leggett.
Tom also won the Club Championship, defeating Dan 1.5-0.5 in a pair of rapidplay games courtesy of a risky gambit in the 2nd game.
The George Boots Shield, given for the best single game performance was won by Andy Collins, who overcame a 38 point gap to defeat C Searle (128 v 166) in game 1 of their Open final.
ECF National Club Intermediate Championship
Leamington secured victory after a dominant showing against clubs from Bushbury, Alwoodley and Maidstone. Across the three matches, which were played in Leamington, Leicester and London, the team won 7 games, drew 4 and lost just one, and every player who took part returned a plus score (Steve Burnell 2/3, Ben Graff 1.5/2, Tom Darling 2.5/3, Andy Collins 2/3, Guy Greenland 1/1).
Our gratitude goes to two members who are leaving after a number of years of service. Guy Greenland is moving away from the area; he had been a member of the club for over a decade and also helped to run numerous tournaments in the region. Reg Warnes is retiring after half a century at the club; he has remained a strong player well into his 80s and took an A-Teamer to a replay in his very last club Knockout match. Both players will be missed, and we wish them both well in the future.