28 April 2022
The Hastings and St Leonards second team played their final match in the Mid-Sussex League at home against Horsham 2.
Once again Hastings was facing a stronger team, with an average grade of just 1756, compared to Horsham’s 1844. Hastings got off to a good start with an early win by Paul Kelly, against David Roberts. Paul has been the anchor of the Hastings team, having played in every match, and achieving 3 wins and 2 draws. The visitors then caught up with a win by Philip Stimpson, against Hastings board 1 player Henry Cove. The next game to finish was Adrian Cload against Alex Taylor. This was always going to be a tough match for Adrian, as he was giving away 262 rating points. However, he played a strong game and lasted 42 moves before he was defeated.
With Horsham leading 2 points to 1, the result of the day rested on team captain Martin Fletcher, who was facing Roger Waddingham. Martin sacrificed a pawn early in the game in exchange for a positional advantage, and continued to press this advantage throughout. Roger was almost able to win the endgame with an advance of three central pawns, but Martin was able to use his king to stop the attack. And on move 58, when Martin moved his pawn to a7 it was clear that Roger was unable to stop this becoming a queen on the next move, and he resigned.
With this 2:2 draw, Hastings achieved a very welcome point, and finished the day in fifth place on the league table. A couple of the teams below them still have a game or two to play, so this may change. But Hastings will definitely not finish at the bottom of the table. For a second team in Division 1, this is a good achievement.