Market Harborough Chess Club is celebrating a remarkable double title winning season as both their league teams gained promotion.
The first team went through the season unbeaten and were crowned Leicestershire and Rutland Division Three champions after a 3 -1 triumph over Ashby’s second team, known as Ashby 2. The amazing run saw Harborough amass a total of 25 points from a possible 28, aided by a defeat of nearest rivals Wigston 3.
Club Secretary and first team captain Romilly Ilersic said: “Without doubt this has been the most successful season we have had in our sixty-four-year history.
“The consistency of the first team players was shown by the fact we did not lose a single match and of course the second team excelled too. We’re all looking forward to next season which promises to be much tougher.”
Last year the club announced a 50 per cent rise in membership, allowing them to field the second team, named Market Harborough 2. Captain Cyril Hill pledged to give rookie members game-time opportunities yet his second-string outfit clinched Division Five when they won away to eventual runners up Kirby Muxloe 2, at the start of May.
Hill said: “It was a fantastic performance by the newly formed second team. I didn’t think we would win promotion let alone be champions. Competing at the top against three strong, well established teams was a tough challenge.
“Our policy of giving inexperienced members an opportunity fortunately didn’t seem to undermine results. Wins were achieved in key matches by having strong players available on the top boards. In the end, we won the league quite comfortably - four points ahead of our nearest rivals.”
Harborough will collect their league trophies in September when the new season begins with the first team promoted to Division Two and the second team promoted to Division Four of the Leicestershire and Rutland League. A third team will also be fielded in Division Five as new recruit and captain John Oliver joins from Braunstone.
Throughout the summer the club will welcome newcomers who want to take part in friendly matches. Meetings will be held every first and third Thursday at The Catholic Club on Coventry Road with a 7.15pm start time. Weekly meetings will resume in the Autumn.