In spite of Devon’s miserable season in the West of England stages through the winter, they never the less qualified for the National Stages of the U-180 Section. This was because, before the season even starts, all counties must decide whether they wish to go forward into the National Stages, and if so, which of the several available sections they would opt for. Devon chose the Under-180 section as it suits the number and strength of Devon’s active players. As none of the other WECU teams had opted for this section, there was no barrier to Devon going forward.
So, without only a handful of their strongest players who were thus ineligible, they met a strong Warwickshire team at Frampton-on-Severn on Saturday. The teams were very evenly matched and it was clearly going to be a tight match – and so it proved.
It started with five draws, followed by a win for each team. Later, Warwickshire reached 7 – 5 up with 4 games still in progress. Toms and Thompson then won to level the scores and Kennedy drew after stout defence against a strong attack.
This left Brian Gosling vs Fahy as the last men standing, locked in a tense struggle and a fast finish. Both had chances and all 3 results were possible. At the critical point both players had a pawn on the 7th rank waiting to queen. Deep in time trouble and with an engrossed crowd around the board, Gosling missed the strongest winning continuation, but found instead an ingenious line that involved under-promoting his pawn to a knight which crucially gave check and bought a vital tempo to deal with the opposing pawn threat and emerge a piece up with a winning position.
As the tension was suddenly released, the crowd burst out into spontaneous applause – one of the highlights of Gosling’s chess career, so far.
Devon now go on to meet Yorkshire who swept aside their rather under-strength opponents, Cambridgeshire.
Details of both matches:-
|1||Brian Hewson||176||½||½||Nick Roberts||176|
|2||Mark Abbott||177||½||½||Keith Escott||179|
|3||Alan Brusey||175||0||1||Alan Agnew||178|
|4||Robert Thompson||173||1||0||Simon Smith||175|
|5||Trefor Thynne||177||0||1||Dave Ireland||175|
|6||Dr. Jonathan Underwood||172||1||0||Robert Walker||171|
|7||Dr. Dave Regis||166||½||½||Mark Cundy||169|
|8||Andrew Kinder||166||1||0||Robert Wallman||165|
|9||Bill Ingham||164||0||1||Tom Robinson||159|
|10||Jon Duckham||165||½||½||Robert Reynolds||155|
|11||Paul Brooks||160||½||½||Mike Doran||153|
|12||Dr. David Toms||159||1||0||Ed Goodwin||157|
|13||Alex Billings||148||0||1||Roy Lawrence||156|
|14||Brian Gosling||156||1||0||John Fahy||151|
|15||Ivor Annetts||155||½||½||Gary Hope||151|
|16||Phil Kennedy||151||½||½||Andrew Moxley||154|
|1||A. Stewart||169||½||½||M. Webb||178|
|2||R. McCorry||175||0||1||A. Lang||175|
|3||M. Misson||171||½||½||R. Jennings||178|
|4||B. Duff||169||0||1||J. Hamm||176|
|5||J. Daugman||167||0||1||I. Lewyk||177|
|6||C. Davison||155||1||0||A. Slinger||172|
|7||M. Szymanski||157||1||0||C. Davies||169|
|8||P. Ribbands||151||0||1||P. Weller||163|
|9||G. Alcock||150||0||1||A. Hards||164|
|10||J. Beck||147||0||1||A. Bak||162|
|11||M. Lim||149||0||1||I. W. Smith||165|
|12||S. Foster||151||0||1||M. Edwards-Wright||162|
|13||J. Dunn||147||½||½||H. Baxter||164|
|14||S. Bazuk||134||0||1||J. Carpenter||164|
|15||J. Cooke||130||0||1||D. Patrick||160|
|16||C. Richmond||118||0||1||M. Bramson||159|