|Wolverhampton A||Halesowen A|
|1||189||Townsend Michael P||0.5||0.5||Fishburne Stewart K||190|
|2||165||Wightman Dave R||0||1||Hunt Malcolm A||178|
|3||153||Bull Phil||0.5||0.5||Hadley Mike||154|
|4||146||Wood Frank (Cap)||0.5||0.5||Ambrose Andy||148|
|5||135||Porter Phil D||0||1||Peck Windsor WA||135|
|6||131||Rosser Geoff C||1||0||Evans Paul J||116|
They say that it isn’t over until the fa…what is that noise? It sounds like singing. Wolverhampton and Halesowen met in what could only be described as a straight relegation decider. On the night, the two teams were very evenly matched and so a close game was in prospect. This was exactly how it turned out, with no player gaining a significant advantage for most of the evening. Phil Bull was the first to finish, agreeing a draw on Board 3. Shortly afterwards, Geoff Rosser won suddenly, thanks to a blunder, and Frank Wood then went a passed pawn up. This gave the home side real hope of survival, but it was not to last. Frank Wood was pulled back to a materially level position, albeit still with a connected, protected passed pawn. Phil Porter ran into severe time trouble, needing to make more than a dozen moves with just a few seconds remaining, and his position worsened steadily with the loss of a piece and then a pawn. Dave Wightman then blundered in an already inferior ending to lose immediately and Phil Porter finally ran out of time in spite of valiant attempts to generate counter play against the white king. Mike Townsend agreed a draw, leaving Frank Wood the task of trying to convert his slender positional advantage to save the match. Unfortunately, with only a bishop pair left on the board, there was no way to displace the black king from the crucial square and the pawn could not be advanced. A draw was agreed and the match was lost.
So, Wolverhampton are all but relegated for the second time in three seasons. They stand on the brink, needing an unlikely win against title challengers Walsall Kipping in their final match to stand even a mathematical chance of staying in Division 1. Thanks are due to Halesowen for an exciting match, played in a tremendous spirit, and good luck in Division 1 next year.
By Dave Wightman