Horsham 1 beat Horsham 2 by a comfortable margin

When a club has more than one team in a division in the Mid-Sussex League, it is normal for all the club's team to play each other, before playing the other teams. With Horsham 1 and 2 both in Division One, this meant that Horsham 1 vs Horsham 2 was the first match of the season.

Because of three first team players being unavailable, boards 3 to 5 of Horsham 1 were occupied by players one might normally expect to play for Horsham 2; admittedly two of them had played many games for the first team in previous seasons.

The match was well contested, with most of the games remaining competitive for a while, but in the end Horsham 1 ran out comfortable winners.

Peter Harbott unusually was the one sacrificing material, against Julie Denning on board five. Certainly, his piece sacrifice looked dangerous and as Julie was unable to find a defence, he notched up the first win for the first team.

Phil Stimpson was held to a draw by Paul Richardson, who once again show himself to be a solid defender.

Lucy Bennet-Stevens, making her first team debut, was under some pressure against Ian Comley, but defended with her customary determination, and managed to secure a draw by repetition.

James Mansson against Alex Taylor saw James under pressure early on, as he made an error in the opening, but Alex was unable to take advantage; the game eventually ended up in an endgame that was favourable for James, and he managed to outplay his opening to secure the win.

Chris Heath was somewhat bamboozled by Gavin Lock's choice of line in the French Defence (1 e4 e6 2 d4 d5 3 Nc3 Nc6!?) and was eventually outplayed in a long, complex battle.

This gave Horsham 1 a 4-1 win over Horsham 2.

This match was the first to feature the new Mid-Sussex League time control (65 minutes each, with a 30 second increment), and so far the experience of it was positive for the players. The games on 3 to 5 would most likely have been completed anyway under the old rules, but the change allowed the top two boards to play to the finish in a satisfactory fashion.

Board Horsham 1 (Home) Result Horsham 2 (Away*)
1 Gavin Lock 1-0 Chris Heath
2 James Mansson 1-0 Alex Taylor
3 Lucy Bennet-Stevens 1/2-1/2 Ian Comley
4 Phil Stimpson 1/2-1/2 Paul Richardson
5 Peter Harbott 1-0 Julie Denning

Note that Horsham 2, technically the away team, were White on odd-numbered boards.