CSC/Kingston 1 power on with dual victories at 4NCL

Two wins by Peter Hasson ensure a successful weekend for CSC/Kingston 1 to keep their promotion hopes alive, but the second team struggle as life in division 4 gets tougher

CSC/Kingston 1 didn’t expect to be playing in division 3 of the 4NCL this season – their promotion was a fortuitous one after another team dropped out – but so far they are making a wonderful fist of it, and by winning both matches at this third 4NCL weekend they kept their outside hopes of a further promotion alive.

The Saturday match against Brown Jack was tough. CSC/Kingston had a healthy rating advantage, but Brown Jack (named after the pub in Wroughton, near Swindon, where it meets, which presumably is itself named after the famous racehorse of the 1930s) fought hard, and five of the six games were drawn. Only Hasson managed a win, but that was enough to give CSC/Kingston a vital victory by 3.5-2.5.

Sunday’s match was more straightforward – a 4.5-1.5 victory over Shropshire & Friends, with wins for Peter Finn, Clive Frostick and Hasson again. The weekend left CSC/Kingston joint second in the table with three other teams – a remarkable performance given that the team did not take part in the first weekend and were given two half-point byes. Both the byes were awarded against teams in the lower half of the table who we would have hoped to beat, and that may come back to haunt us at the end of the season. But for the moment the mood is upbeat and hopes of a second successive promotion high.

CSC/Kingston 2, who were not as strong as on the two previous weekends, found the going harder, though to lose on Saturday by only 3.5-2.5 against the higher-rated Full Ponty team was a very creditable performance. On paper, CSC/Kingston had a much easier task against Barnet Knights C on Sunday. But ratings mean little where juniors are concerned, and Barnet’s youth-orientated team gave a very good account of themselves, drawing the match 3-3. Nick Grey had a good win and, having drawn with Black with a higher-rated player on Saturday, enjoyed a good weekend.

CSC/Kingston 2 are now joint tenth in the table and have little realistic hope of promotion. But we always saw this season as a tentative return after the pandemic and, if the club can revert to running three teams next year, the hope will be to field a stronger second team that will target promotion and a third team that can both play with less pressure and give game time at 4NCL’s pleasingly long time control to newer players.

Stephen Moss