Ballynafeigh 1 power ahead

(B&D Leagues 2014/15 Week 7) With one-third of the season gone, the league tables are beginning to take shape. Lindores 2 and Belfast South 2 are gearing up for a tight battle for the John Strawbridge Cup, while Ballynafeigh 1 are pulling away in the race for the Silver King.

Division 1

Muldoons 1 2.5-2.5 Lindores 1

Muldoons 1 temporarily took the lead in Division 1, but only by half a point after this draw with Lindores 1. Stephen Wood got the home side off the mark with a win over Fred MacDonald in a sharp game, while Des Moreland and Ross Harris agreed a draw shortly afterwards. Lindores then took control as Gabor Horvath beat Gareth Annesley thanks to a Greek gift sacrifice, while Calum Leitch reached a winning rook-and-pawns ending against Nicholas Pilkiewicz. This meant that all Richard Gould had to do to win the match for the visitors was to draw against Danny Mallaghan; however, he found himself two pawns down and in time trouble, and Mallaghan converted his advantage to draw the match.

Ciaran Marron (Fruithill) vs David Houston (Ballynafeigh 1)Ballynafeigh 1 5-0 Fruithill

Ballynafeigh 1 (Houston/Scannell/Jensen/D. Lavery/Jamison) went straight back to the top of the table with a routine whitewash of Fruithill (Marron/Carrothers/Collins/Linton/Monaghan), who never looked likely to do much damage against a team with 11 Ulster Championships between them and a 500-point rating advantage per board.

Belfast South 1 3-2 Ballynafeigh 2

Belfast South 1 avoided a second defeat to a Ballynafeigh team in successive weeks with this win over Ballynafeigh 2. David Ruben put the home side in the lead against Paul Anderson before wins for Ian Woodfield and Thomas Donaldson gave the visitors the lead. The pendulum would swing back in the other direction, though, as Ray Devenney defeated Damien Cunningham, and after being offered a draw while a pawn down, Sam Flanagan beat John O'Doherty to claim the match for Belfast South 1.

Bangor 3.5-1.5 Fruithill

Division 1's bottom teams met in this rescheduled fixture from week 3. The home side recorded their long-awaited first win of the season as they moved off the bottom thanks to wins from Andrew Todd and Alan McConnell. Stephen McCann pulled one back for Fruithill, while Paul McLoughlin drew with Frank Carrothers.

Standings

PlayedPoints
Ballynafeigh 1 6 36
Muldoons 1 6 29.5
Ballynafeigh 2 6 23
Belfast South 1 6 21
Lindores 1 5 17
Bangor 6 8
Fruithill 5 5.5

Division 2

Belfast South's and Lindores' promotion-chasing second teams were both in action at Ballynafeigh on Tuesday night. Lindores 2 started the night with a half-point lead, but Belfast South 2 had the easier opposition.

Ballynafeigh 3 2-3 Lindores 2Shane Keers (Lindores 2) vs Stephen Rush (Ballynafeigh 3)

Eoin Carey (1361) continued his 100% start to the season with an excellent win over Jim McLean (1601) - with the black pieces and in less than 20 moves, to boot. Robert Lavery and Paul McNaughton agreed a draw soon afterwards, and while Ian Kilpatrick seemed to be in a strong position against Gerard Bannon, he couldn't quite claim the full point. This left the match poised at 2-1 to Ballynafeigh 3 with two games still remaining; Andy Hughes against Tyrone Winter on board 5, where it was a matter of when and not if Winter resigned, and Shane Keers against Stephen Rush on board 1, in which Rush was a pawn up with some compensation for Keers. Just as the match appeared to be heading for at least a draw for the home side, Rush made a crucial error, allowing Keers to infiltrate his position, create an unstoppable passed pawn and win the game. After the formality of Winter's resignation, the visitors came out narrow winners.

John McKenna (Belfast South 2) vs Mark Hewitt (Ballynafeigh 4)Ballynafeigh 4 0-5 Belfast South 2

There was not as much drama in the night's other match, as "Kelly's Heroes" (McKenna/Jaffa/Murphy/McDonald/Truesdale) re-took the lead with a whitewash of Ballynafeigh 4 (Hewitt/McEvoy/McGahan/Price/C. Logan), although McKenna had to survive a dangerous-looking attack along the way.

QUB 4.5-0.5 Muldoons 2John Wood (Muldoons 2) vs Leon Hulleman (QUB)

QUB recorded an excellent win against Muldoons 2 in which only Leon Hulleman failed to bring home the full point, against John Wood. Matthew Chapman, Chris Roe, Paddy Magee and Chris Cao all won their games to move up to sixth in the table.

NI Civil Service 5-0 Ballynafeigh 5

NICS (Newman/D. Jackson/Ferguson/Dornford-Smith/Hindley) leapt into third place with a whitewash of a four-man Ballynafeigh 5 team (Rainey/B. Jackson/Weir/Charles).

Standings

PlayedPoints
Belfast South 2 7 37
Lindores 2 7 35.5
NI Civil Service 7 27.5
Muldoons 2 7 26.5
Ballynafeigh 3 7 23.5
QUB 7 21.5
Ballynafeigh 4 7 18.5
Ballynafeigh 5 7 5
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