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Groomsport Slay Division 2 Goliaths

Early pacemakers QUB face a difficult test this week against Division 2 hopefuls Bangor Groomsport. Bangor Groomsport - undoubtedly a well rehearsed side under the captaincy of Richard Proctor and generally a team that strike a serious promotion challenge year in year out.
Groomsport Slay Division 2 Goliaths

Captains Richard Proctor and Chris Millar with William McGrattan's blue rope around Richard's neck. Calum, obviously taking defeat badly!

Groomsport no doubt will have done their revision for QUB and guessed at particular match–ups, although William McGrattan the in-form Groomsport board 2 was surprised that QUB’s 1800e player Vladimir Pucovsky wasn’t playing. A match- up in which McGrattan was anticipating with anxiety as a little bird told him he was 2300. The same bird was spotted playing board 5 for Bombardier.

Groomsport arrived with a bang – no literally as William McGrattan perhaps in his trepidation drove his car into a pipe. At this stage, the only Bangor player present in the match room was board 5 Stefan Andreasson who was eagerly preparing for a simultaneous. When the Bangor team entered, Andreasson - instead of feeling relieved was disappointed instead.

There were changes in the Groomsport line-up from last year’s team with the absence of Martin Moorcroft and the return of Ron Henderson. On paper, Groomsport look a very handy team capable of promotion.

QUB welcomed back Claudio Fierro and Fred MacDonald to replace the feared Vladimir Pucovsky and Tommy Nolan. John Masterson pulled out also with QUB drafting in league debutant Robert Lavery at short notice to replace.

It was the debutant Robert Lavery, who was first to finish this week against supposed simultaneous expert Stefan Andreasson. The game itself was a tense one in which Stefan gained a one pawn advantage; to contest this Robert played a well worked out tactical combination which unfortunately led him to a losing King and Pawn endgame. Hard lines for Robert, but an assured Stefan claims the first point of the night to Groomsport and once again QUB are going to have to come from behind if they are to win.

At the other end of the room on Board 1, saw Alan McConnell of Bangor and Claudio Fierro of QUB involved in a dull Queen’s pawn game. In terms of excitement it failed to reach the heights accumulated by the fireworks throughout Belfast during the previous night. The only result which was ever likely throughout the game was a draw, which was agreed after a multiple of exchanges. The scores now stood at 1.5-0.5 in favour of Bangor Groomsport.

Fred MacDonald – the QUB board 2 was looking to continue the fine form he showed against Malone against William McGrattan. Earlier, McGrattan had caused chaos in the Fisherwick neighbourhood by damaging his car. McGrattan sat down to face his opponent, believing that Fred was the 2300 Russian in whom he had been anticipating playing. To save another few minutes, McGrattan went in search for a rope to try and salvage his cars exhaust (at least that’s what we think he wanted the rope for). When he returned to find out that his opponent was not a Russian, but instead a resident of Holywood. A reassured McGrattan played a sparkling game and won comfortably after an oversight from Fred. Making the score 2.5-0.5 to Groomsport and guaranteeing them at least a draw.

On board 3 saw Calum Leitch take on Richard Proctor, a match–up which usually produces fireworks, rivalling those of October 31st. Last year, the pair met twice with Leitch being victorious on both occasions, rather fortuitously on the 2nd occasion. The opening started interestingly for Leitch, playing a line which not even Fritz knows – never a good sign. Leitch’s lack in development and greedy ambitions caused him to enter move 10 in a lost position. Proctor, who is well known throughout Ulster chess for his ability to find a checkmate in any position, will instead be grateful to Leitch for his assistance in this demolition and thus attaining his revenge from their last meeting. Yet, Leitch fought for nearly 3 hours with nothing to show for his efforts. A valiant yet forgetful display in which saw his King - dispatched, his development – deficient, his moral – deteriorated and his team – defeated.

The remaining match was on board 4 between the solid Chris Millar and the steady Ron Henderson. Pre-match notes from Leitch predicted a draw, especially with the score at 3.5-0.5 and Millar’s ever-growing reputation of being a draw specialist. But Chris Millar, like any good captain stood head and shoulders above the team on the night and fought fearlessly for a win. To reclaim some pride for QUB resulting in a 3.5-1.5 win for Groomsport.

Groomsport have reason to feel overjoyed at this win, a spectacular performance which will no doubt boost their promotion bid.

QUB will have to regroup for the in-form Portadown, already QUB showing signs of frailty and the team can’t afford any more performances like this if they are to achieve promotion. Captain Chris Millar also will face a selection crisis in future matches due to competition for places and key players being sidelined. 

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