|28 Oct||Leicestershire v Lincolnshire||6½-9½|
|18 Nov||Lincolnshire v Worcestershire||11½-4½|
|20 Jan||Nottinghamshire v Lincolnshire||7½-8½|
|3 Mar||Lincolnshire v Warwickshire|
Leicestershire v Lincolnshire
Report from Nigel Birtwistle
The MCCU fixture list always provides Lincolnshire with some difficulties in selecting a team in alternate seasons. Last year we had the luxury of two home games in Lincoln and two matches at neutral venues. This season we are faced with two matches away from home and two matches at neutral venues. So getting a strong team for every match will not be easy due to the amount of travel involved and the fact that Lincolnshire are also current the defending Minor Counties champions makes us the team that everyone wants to beat.
The first fixture of the season saw us travel to play Leicestershire at Thurmaston. I was very pleased to be able to field a strong team and I was hoping that the team could win an away fixture against Leicestershire for the first time since 2009. When myself and the new Leicestershire captain John Denton exchanged team sheets it was clear that the sides were very evenly matched on paper. Our matches against Leicestershire are always very hard fought contests and it looked like this would be no exception.
Surprisingly however the match didn’t quite pan out as I had anticipated. Lincolnshire were always in control of the match and after a few drawn games the wins started to come in and we never relinquished our lead. By the time Leicestershire had registered just their second win of the day Lincolnshire had already recorded five victories of their own to secure the match. The final two games in play were drawn to leave Lincolnshire winners by a 9½ - 6½ margin.
This was an excellent team performance by Lincolnshire in their opening fixture especially away from home against difficult opposition. Another milestone in my captaincy was also achieved when we won away against Leicestershire for the first time since I became captain in 2009. Hopefully we will be able to continue our good form when we travel to play Worcestershire at a neutral venue on Saturday November 18th.
|Leicestershire (Home team)||Lincolnshire (Away team)|
|1||W||Bao Nghia Dong||Loughborough||215||0-1||Chris Dorrington||Grantham||228|
|2||B||Martin Burrows||Wigston||196||½-½||Nigel Birtwistle||Grantham||199|
|3||W||Shabir Okhai||Syston||202||½-½||Samuel Milson||Louth||195|
|4||B||Alan Agnew||Leicestershire||199||½-½||Paul Cumbers||Grantham||193|
|5||W||Phil Horspool||Wigston||183||1-0||Nick Stead||Grimsby||192|
|6||B||John Denton||Melton Mowbray||180||0-1||Stephen Prior||Grantham||192|
|7||W||Graham Sharpe||Heathcote Arms||177||0-1||Jason Dilley||Grantham||188|
|8||B||Sean Sheahan||Shepshed||178||0-1||Stuart Williams||Grantham||182|
|9||W||Robert Taylor||Syston||178||0-1||Ivan David||Grantham||177|
|10||B||Ray Burgess||Thurnby||176||1-0||Joe Kilshaw||Grimsby||175|
|11||W||Paul Colburn||Braunstone||172||½-½||Keith Palmer||Louth||168|
|12||B||Constantin Gramaticu||Syston||170||½-½||Denis Georgiou||Scunthorpe||166|
|13||W||Karl Potter||Syston||163||½-½||Francis Bowers||New England||161|
|14||B||Mike Salisbury||Braunstone||150||½-½||Chris Holt||Grantham||159|
|15||W||Graham Booley||Heathcote Arms||149||½-½||Andy Hebert||Grantham||158|
|16||B||Jim Bingham||Braunstone||146||½-½||Arya Parnian||Grimsby||139|
Lincolnshire v Worcestershire
Report from Nigel Birtwistle
After winning their opening match against Leicestershire last month, Lincolnshire travelled to the neutral venue of Frolesworth in Leicestershire to face Worcestershire. The Lincolnshire team was much changed with six players who played against Leicestershire being unavailable. However I was able to call upon the services of several players who might not normally be in the team on grading when everybody is available. These players are always keen and enthusiastic to play when given the chance and once again they did not let the team down.
I was pleasantly surprised to see that Worcestershire also had several players unavailable and that we out graded them on every single board. Still the match was never going to be won on paper and the tag of being the favourite is never an easy one.
Joe Kilshaw got Lincolnshire off to a perfect start when he launched a sacrificial attack on his opponents castled king and chased the monarch all the way over to the queenside where he administered the final blow. After this early win Lincolnshire never looked back and eased their way to a comfortable 11½-4½ victory. I was impressed with the manner of our victory with all of the players who deputised in this match performing excellently.
Lincolnshire’s next match will be on Saturday January 20th 2018 away against Nottinghamshire. I am expecting a strong response from Nottinghamshire who will no doubt be very keen to gain revenge for the heavy 13-3 defeat we inflicted on them when the two sides met last season.
|Lincolnshire (Home team)||Worcestershire (Away team)|
|1||B||Nigel Birtwistle||Grantham||199||1-0||Kevin Hurney||Worcestershire||191|
|2||W||Paul Cumbers||Grantham||193||½-½||Dan Lambourne||Redditch||181|
|3||B||Nick Stead||Grimsby||192||½-½||John Edge||Halesowen||178|
|4||W||Stephen Prior||Grantham||192||1-0||Lee Davis||Malvern||176|
|5||B||Murray Smith||Lincoln||185||1-0||Gary Jackson||Worcestershire||172|
|6||W||Stuart Williams||Grantham||182||½-½||Brian Turner||Malvern||170|
|7||B||Ivan David||Grantham||177||½-½||Geoff Marchant||Malvern||167|
|8||W||Joe Kilshaw||Grimsby||175||1-0||Stephen Woodhouse||Worcestershire||166|
|9||B||Denis Georgiou||Scunthorpe||166||½-½||John Wrench||Kidderminster||161|
|10||W||Peter Cusick||Grantham||162||½-½||Mike Hadley||Halesowen||160|
|11||B||Ian Burridge||Newark||162||0-1||Nigel Towers||Redditch||160|
|12||W||Chris Holt||Grantham||159||1-0||Ray Collett||Worcester||145|
|13||B||Graham Ladds||Newark||146||1-0||David Smith||Worcestershire||145|
|14||W||Chris Hill||Grantham||145||½-½||John Chester||Kidderminster||137|
|15||B||Ian McDonald||Lincoln||142||1-0||John Varilone||Kidderminster||134|
|16||W||Arya Parnian||Grimsby||139||1-0||Dave Spowart||Kidderminster||130|
Nottinghamshire v Lincolnshire
Report from Nigel Birtwistle
An away fixture against Nottinghamshire is never an easy prospect and Lincolnshire travelled to Bramcote in Nottingham knowing that if they could win then it would be the first time that had won away against Nottinghamshire during my tenure as captain. Nottinghamshire fielded a very strong side and were obviously keen to avenge the 13-3 defeat that they suffered when they visited the Atrium last season.
My pre match preparations were not helped when both Jason Dilley and Chris Holt were forced to withdraw from the team on Friday evening due to the effects of flu. Fortunately I was able to call upon the services of two very reliable substitutes in the shape of Stuart MacDonald and Ian McDonald. Both of these players were to play a very important part in the match that followed.
Lincolnshire didn’t get off to the best of starts when they lost four of the first five games to finish which included a shock defeat for the usually reliable Chris Dorrington on board 1. At 4½-½ down a heavy defeat looked on the cards and many teams would have folded at this point. However over the last few seasons Lincolnshire have become a difficult side to beat and showed great resilience to dig in and slowly claw back the huge lead that had been built up by our opponents. Both of the late substitutes Ian and Stuart scored impressive wins which once again highlighted the importance of having strength in depth and having players who were prepared to step in and play at short notice despite not having been selected in the original sixteen man team.
With two games left to play the match was still tense and was tied at 7-7. Both myself and Paul Cumbers held an advantage in our games but there was still work to do. Although I was a pawn up in a Queen and minor piece endgame the win was not easy so I tried to keep the pressure on whilst keeping an eye on the other game. Then Paul’s opponent allowed his bishop to be trapped which assured Paul of an easy victory. I quickly decided to force a repetition of moves to gain the draw which took us to 7½ points and Paul duly converted his advantage in to a win to leave Lincolnshire winners by an 8½-7½ score line.
After a disastrous start this was a fantastic team performance by Lincolnshire. The character shown by our team showed tremendous team spirit and grim determination to achieve victory in the match. This result means that Lincolnshire has qualified for the knockout stages of the Minor Counties competition with a game to spare. Our last match is on Saturday March 3rd against Warwickshire. Hopefully we can continue our momentum with another win as we look to defend the trophy that we won last year.
|Nottinghamshire (Home team)||Lincolnshire (Away team)|
|1||B||Craig Whitfield||Nottinghamshire||188||1-0||Chris Dorrington||Grantham||228|
|2||W||Robert Richmond||West Bridgford||188||½-½||Nigel Birtwistle||Grantham||199|
|3||B||Jiri Jires||Gambit||180e||0-1||Samuel Milson||Louth||195|
|4||W||Brian Thompson||West Bridgford||180||0-1||Paul Cumbers||Grantham||193|
|5||B||Alex Combie||Newark||180||0-1||Nick Stead||Grimsby||192|
|6||W||Peter Mercs||Gambit||178||1-0||Murray Smith||Lincoln||185|
|7||B||John Swain||Gambit||177||0-1||Stuart Williams||Grantham||182|
|8||W||Daniel Broughton||West Bridgford||175||½-½||Ivan David||Grantham||177|
|9||B||Andrew Walker||University||171||0-1||Joe Kilshaw||Grimsby||175|
|10||W||Richard Truman||West Bridgford||169||1-0||Keith Palmer||Louth||168|
|11||B||Andrew George||Newark||167||1-0||Francis Bowers||Lincolnshire||161|
|12||W||David Flynn||Nomads||166||½-½||Andrew Hebert||Grantham||158|
|13||B||Mike Naylor||Gambit||165||1-0||Graham Ladds||Newark||146|
|14||W||Florian Biermann||Gambit||147e||0-1||Ian McDonald||Lincoln||142|
|15||B||Julian Cast||Long Eaton||163||0-1||Stuart MacDonald||Grimsby||142|
|16||W||Oliver Graham||Gambit||162||1-0||Arya Parnian||Grimsby||139|