Our B team faced into the final match 1 point behind Blanchardstown and 4.5 ahead of Elm Mount. So, 4 points required to ensure promotion and bettering Blanchardstown’s score by 1 point for first place, given Rathmines won the head-to-head.
Our C team sat down against Lucan needing a win of any type to avoid relegation and putting Lucan in the drop zone
We had a strong B team playing but we knew that every point would count. We got a good start with Abul picking up a quick win. This was followed by draw from Marin in completely dead R+P ending. John had a good attack going but that too petered out to a draw. Franklin found his way through some middle game complications to break open the position and get the win. Our score of 3-1 was matched by Blanchardstown so it was neck-and-neck.
Scott was under pressure on his queenside but he stirred things up on the kingside and broke through for a win. At this stage we were guaranteed promotion so it was now all out for the title with three games left. We had promising positions in all three but none were clearcut.
Meanwhile, the Blanchardstown score looked like it was heading for 6-2 so needed the final 3 points so the guys were playing ‘no draw’ games.
Michael had a tricky middlegame to get through having won a central point at the cost of some counterplay for his opponent. He negotiated the complications and broke through for the win. Two to go. Tomasz was a pawn up but heading for a double R+P ending while Derek’s position was resolved into a Q+P ending. Equal pawns but Derek had a passed pawn and the intiative which he expertly converted.
This left Tomasz needing to win as Blanchardtown had indeed scored 6-2. Tomasz traded a pair of R’s and all the Kside pawns leaving a R+3 v R+2 but crucially all the pawns were on the Qside and following the exchanges his opponent’s K was cut off on the Kside. Tomasz converted the position securing the final point in an excellent 7-1 result.
So, after a nail-biting finish we were joint first with Blanchardstown but won the title on tie-break.
Meanwhile, our C team battled to avoid relegation with Lucan. Unfortunately, fortune didn’t got their way and some delicately balanced positions didn’t yield the required results. Our guys lost a close battle 4.5-3.5 and relegation resulted.
The top division results mean that next season we will have an Armstrong, a Heidenfeld and 2 Ennis teams.