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Muldoons 1 held to draw as title race takes another twist

(B&D League 2016/17 Week 20) Muldoons 1's title defence hit a snag as they were held to an unexpected draw by Ballynafeigh 2 - and it could have gone worse for the Corporation Square side.

Division 1

 

  • Ballynafeigh 2 2.5-2.5 Muldoons 1
  • QUB 1 2-3 The A Team

 

Muldoons 1 were held to a draw by Ballynafeigh 2  - and were probably lucky to avoid defeat - after the home side produced some of their best performances of the season. Stephen Wood scored a quick win over Robert Lavery, but on the other boards it was quickly apparent that an upset was a real possibility. John O'Doherty (1591) drew with Stephen Morgan (1904), and the home side were on the attack on each of the three remaining boards. On board 1, Gareth Annesley was able to steady the ship against Mikhail Pavlov and even appeared to be winning for a while, but had to settle for a draw by perpetual check. Chris Kelly (1552) reached a winning endgame against Nicholas Pilkiewicz (1847) after missing earlier opportunities to win, leaving the score at 2-2 with just Eoin Carey against Danny Mallaghan still in progress. Carey had an overwhelming attack, but had spent a lot of time to obtain it. Time trouble ensued, and Carey was unable to find the finishing blow, allowing Mallaghan to escape with a draw by perpetual check. The result leaves Muldoons 1 just five points ahead of Ballynafeigh 1, with the Ormeau Road side having a match in hand. The title rivals still have a match to play against each other, and with the easier run-in Muldoons 1 are still the favourites, but their job just got a little harder. In the week's other match, The A Team got their first win in five matches as they beat QUB 1 3-2. With Ballynafeigh 2 having completed their season, The A Team need to avoid a whitewash in their last match against Muldoons 1 to escape last place.

PlayedPoints
Muldoons 1 14 71
Ballynafeigh 1 13 66
QUB 1 14 48.5
Ballynafeigh 2 16 33.5
The A Team 15 33

Division 2

 

  • Ballynafeigh 3 2.5-2.5 QUB 2
  • Muldoons 2 4-1 Fruithill
  • Kelly's Heroes 3.5-1.5 Ballynafeigh 4
  • Bangor Webbs 1.5-3.5 Civil Service

 

Newly-crowned champions Ballynafeigh 3 drew with QUB 2; yet again, both Zelenchuks played well above their ratings, with Daniil beating Ram Rajan and Dmitry beating Bernard McCaughey. Fruithill beat Muldoons 2 4-1, although newcomer Anton Quenten showed some promise in his win over Michael Toal. James Barbour (1074) claimed the upset of the week with his win over Norman McFarland (1444), but it wasn't enough to stop bottom side Ballynafeigh 4 from slumping to defeat against Kelly's Heroes. Finally, Civil Service won 3.5-1.5 against the Bangor Webbs.

PlayedPoints
Ballynafeigh 3 (Champions) 20 97.5
QUB 2 19 75.5
Civil Service 20 75
Kelly's Heroes 19 73
Fruithill 18 64.5
Bangor Webbs 19 57
Muldoons 2 20 50.5
Ballynafeigh 4 19 45

Division 3

 

  • Ballynafeigh 7 1-4 QUB 3
  • QUB 4 3.5-1.5 Ballynafeigh 6

 

Despite Vincent Crean's (1404) surprise loss to David Seaby (1066), champions QUB 3 still cruised to a 4-1 win over bottom side Ballynafeigh 7, who now appear to be nailed-on for the wooden spoon. Wins for Kieran Hunter and Ross Kerr helped QUB 4 to victory in a match which, uncharacteristically for this level, featured three draws.

PlayedPoints
QUB 3 (Champions) 15 92.5
QUB 4 14 48.5
Ballynafeigh 6 15 47.5
Ballynafeigh 5 15 37.5
Ballynafeigh 7 15 31