South Wales Premier League 2005-6
Report by John Trevelyan
The second season of the SWPL is now complete. Monmouth travelled to Caerphilly on Thursday evening for their final round match. Monmouth were playing for first place in the SWPL and needed only a drawn match to achieve this. Caerphilly were playing to avoid bottom place, and needed a win. This might suggest a one-sided match, but not so. The result of this match, like so many of this season, was uncertain until the end.
I probably arrived about half an hour into the match. The middle three boards looked about level, but things were already happening at both ends. Ioan Rees had played the North Sea Defence, which appears to be alive and well, against Joseff Thomas. Ioan had grabbed a pawn but had paid for it with his slow development. I suppose that's normal with this opening. On board five John Waterfield, playing a Morra Gambit, had a huge development advantage against Colin Gilbert. This game didn't look as though it would last too long.
The board two game, between John Thornton and Mark Adams, seemed to be favouring Mark slightly. Or maybe it's just my experience in the first round of the Welsh championships that makes me see all the negative points of the White side of an open Sicilian. Nevertheless it was the first to finish, with a draw.
The game on board one became very double-edged, with Joseff's attempted sacrifices conjuring up some serious threats, but a mistake cost him the exchange and the game was soon over. On board 4 Kevin Thomas, had mis-sacrificed a piece (there was a better way of doing it) against Dave Perrett earlier in the game and now had a fairly level ending. But Dave, who was getting very short of time, blundered a rook and resigned instantly.
The match, so far, was level. The board 3 game, between Jac Thomas and Gwynfor Rees, became more exciting around the time control as Gwynfor, short of time, was defending some serious mating threats. He managed to survive the time pressure, and the threats, and the game was agreed drawn soon after.
The match now hung on the board 5 game. John Waterfield hadn't been able to do much, except to win his pawn back, with his far superior development but the position had been slowly drifting in his favour as the ending progressed. So much so that he'd refused the offer of a draw shortly after the time control. I didn't notice the offer myself but I think that the board 3 game was still in progress at the time, and so maybe it was still possible that a draw wouldn't be enough.
As a Cardiff player, maybe I should have watched the end as a win for Colin would have put Cardiff in bottom place.
But, as SWPL director I'm totally impartial, so I went to the pub in stead.
John eventually won the game, the match, and first place for Monmouth.
Caerphilly 2-3 Monmouth
Ioan REES 1-0 Joseff THOMAS
John THORNTON 0Ѕ Mark ADAMS
Gwynfor REES 0Ѕ Jac THOMAS
Dave PERRETT 0-1 Kevin THOMAS
Colin GILBERT 0-1 John WATERFIELD
Congratulations to Monmouth for winning the SWPL in a very hard fought season in which all of the matches, except for three, finished 3-2 or closer!
My thanks to all of the captains, and players, for again making my task as director so easy.
The final league table looks like this: