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B&D League - how do they stand after three weeks?

Fruithill 1 and Strand make a strong start in Division 1, while Civil Service 2 are the early front-runners in Division 2.

Division 1

Week 1

  • Fruithill 1 5-0 Kelly's Heroes
  • QUB 1 1-4 Lisburn A
  • Strand 3-2 Civil Service A

Week 2

  • Lisburn A 1-4 Strand
  • Kelly's Heroes 2-3 QUB 1
  • Civil Service A 1-4 Fruithill 1

Week 3

  • Fruithill 1 3-2 Lisburn A
  • QUB 1 0.5-4.5 Strand
  • Kelly's Heroes 3.5-1.5 Civil Service A


Fruithill 1 lead by half a point from Strand after both sides racked up three wins in the opening three weeks. The West Belfast side whitewashed Kelly's Heroes before comfortably beating Civil Service A in week 2 and edging past Silver King holders Lisburn A in week 3. Meanwhile, Strand narrowly won the Stormont derby against Civil Service A before claiming more comfortable wins against Lisburn A and Kelly's Heroes. Lisburn A, Kelly's Heroes, and QUB 1 have all claimed one win each, while Civil Service A bring up the rear after having lost all three matches so far - although they have played both Fruithill 1 and Strand.

The highlight of week 4 will undoubtedly be the top-of-the-table clash between the leading pair this Wednesday night at Stormont - will either side be able to gain a clear advantage at this early stage? The likely board 1 contest will be between Fruithill's John Cairns (2072) and the current Ulster Champion, Strand's Scott Crockart (2124). The form guide suggests that the Strand man will come out on top, having claimed wins over Gareth Annesley. Mandar Tahmankar, and the nine-time Ulster Champion Steve Scannell so far this season. Cairns, meanwhile, is looking somewhat shakier on 1.5/3 - indeed, he is the only Fruithill 1 player to have lost a game so far, against Scannell - but, to paraphrase the late, great Brian Clough, chess is not played on paper, it's played on whatever material the chess board happens to be made out of (which can, ironically, include paper, but in this case will most likely be vinyl).

Fruithill 1 3 18
Strand 3 17.5
Lisburn A
3 9
Kelly's Heroes 3 7.5
QUB 1 3 6.5
Civil Service A
3 4.5

Division 2

Week 1

  • Greenisland 3.5-1.5 Lisburn C
  • Fruithill 2 1.5-3.5 Citi Knights
  • Malone 3-2 Lisburn B
  • Civil Service B 2.5-2.5 QUB 2

Week 2

  • Fruithill 2 4-1 Greenisland
  • QUB 2 2.5-2.5 Lisburn B
  • Lisburn C 0-5 Civil Service B
  • Bangor 3.5-1.5 Malone

Week 3

  • Civil Service B 2.5-2.5 Fruithill 2
  • Lisburn B 5-0 Lisburn C
  • Bangor 3-2 QUB 2
  • Citi Knights 2-3 Greenisland


In what is looking like a very evenly-matched Division 2, Civil Service B lead by 1.5 points from Lisburn B, despite only having won one match each - in both cases, a whitewash over Lisburn C, who appear to be the only team in the division who one can confidently say will not be in title conention at the business end of the season. Third-placed Greenisland and fifth-placed Bangor are the only sides on two wins, although these were narrow 3.5-1.5 and 3-2 wins for each team. Bangor, however, do have a match in hand, and are the only team in Division 2 still on a 100% record in terms of match points - they will be a team to watch for sure.

Just like Division 1, there will be a first-versus-second battle in week 4 as Civil Service B visit Lisburn B on Thursday night. The line-ups will be less easy to predict, but a glance at the squad lists indicates that Lisburn B would be around 100-point-per-board favourites if both teams were to field their strongest sides. One player to watch is Lisburn B's Mark Robinson (1455), who romped to victory in the under-1600 section of the recent Ulster Masters with a perfect 5/5 score, including a win over Civil Service B's Cathal Murphy (1446).

Civil Service 2 3 14
Lisburn 2 3 12.5
Greenisland 3 11.5
Fruithill 2 3 11
Bangor 2 10.5
QUB 2 3 9
Citi Knights 2 7.5
Malone 2 6.5
Lisburn 3 3 1.5