Thames Valley League division 2 match played at St Luke’s Community Hall, Maidenhead on 25 October 2021
We lost 4-2 in our first away match of the season. The teams were evenly matched on paper but traversing the M25/M4 corridor in a dark evening is tiring and guarantees a home energy advantage. On top board, Maidenhead’s John Wager (w) beat Julian Way. Team captain Stephen Moss lost to a stronger player on the bottom board and muttered about dropping himself from the squad, a feeling which overtakes us all from time to time. The remaining games were drawn. John Shanley played his first competitive game in many years having returned to chess only recently. The final game to finish was John Foley v Tony Milnes. The opposite bishops endgame was about to be adjourned (yes we still have adjournments in the Thames Valley League) but having sealed the envelope, the players analysed the position and concluded that a draw was inevitable and so another trip to St Luke’s parish hall was avoided.
There was more interest off the board. A junior managed to get locked into the disabled toilet and set off the alarm. The home team ingeniously eventually picked open the lock. Later on, the caretaker, an elderly gentleman collapsed in the kitchen and was immediately attended to by John Shanley who in real life is a doctor at Kingston Hospital. Two home players stayed on at the end of the match waiting for an ambulance. In the end, the patient decided he wanted to go home – so they made sure he got home alright and he was going to see the doctor the following day. John calmly returned to the board to secure a draw. The Maidenhead captain Nigel Smith sent his club’s thanks for providing medical assistance.