Ian was looking in good shape, with some promising minor piece activity, but his opponent found a sudden bit of counterplay to pin Ian's queen to his king, and managed to swap off enough pieces before finally grabbing the queen so that Ian was forced to concede.
Geoff got a nice opening set-up but found the Chigorin Defence he was playing against just a little too solid to break down, and seeing his opponent's doubled pawns as too small an edge to work with, he agreed a draw, getting us off the mark.
Terry Cowling played the Albin Counter-gambit against me... one I apparently need to brush up on. For want of any more imaginative ideas, I grabbed the offered pawn and hoped to prove his counterplay wasn't enough. But eventually he won back the pawn, and my middle unconnected pawn looked vulnerable for a while, until I found way to wriggle it out of danger, but with no real prospects of a win, agreed a draw.
With that, we'd lost the match but on the remaining board were benefiting from the B-team's rotation policy, with Paul rested and reasonably fresh after the B-team's nailbiter of the previous night. Seeing his opponent's position looking a little rigid and crowded on the kingside, he pushed on on the queenside, getting a runner on the a-file and slowly dominating on that side of the board before finding a nice tactic to overcome some desperate defence and decisively get the little guy over the line - nicely done Paul.
At this point in the season we seem to be just getting edged in the tight matches, but having had a great run mid-season (4 wins from 5!) we've already improved on last year's wooden spoon with our final, very late game of the season still to come away to Altrincham a week on Tuesday.
Board Marple C East Cheshire C
1 Terry Cowling (135) 0.5 - 0.5 Myles Heywood
2 Jeff Barlow (117) 0 - 1 Paul Bamford
3 Neil Dainty (100) 1 - 0 Edwin Cooke
4 Toby Brown (106) 1 - 0 Ian Vaughan
5 Trefor Thomas (88) 0.5 - 0.5 Geoff Smith
Result Marple C 3 - 2 East Cheshire C