Kings of the chess world! The fantastic Jesmond Road juniors in 1972
Check this out ... a Hartlepool school chess team was making the Mail headlines in 1972 for its progress in a national competition.
Who can remember the talented Jesmond Road Junior squad which did so well that year.
The six-strong outfit was made up of Michael Boyd, Peter Singleton, Nicholas Collins, Christopher White, John Bridel, and Alastair Rae.
The Hartlepool Mail caught up with them when they fought out a brilliant 5-1 win against Ley Top Junior School from Bradford.
But it was no easy win as every game was closely contested, and our reporter said at the time: “They really had to fight hard for their win.”
There was a lot of commitment to the event from both sides. The Bradford team travelled to Hartlepool in a van, which was driven to Hartlepool by their teacher.
They arrived in Hartlepool eager to start, said the Hartlepool Mail report of the time.
It added: “Before the matches, the boys got to know each other better with a game of football in the school yard.
“This was followed by a hearty meal and the main event of the day – the chess competition.”
The whole match lasted about an hour and a quarter before the result was known.
Our reporter added: “Naturally, the visiting players were disappointed to be knocked out of the competition, but this was quickly overcome when they stopped to play on the beach before returning home.
“For some of them, it could have been the first time they had seen the sea.
“Now the pupils of Jesmond Road are waiting patiently for the next round to be drawn in about three weeks.”
A round earlier, the team had been drawn away to Croxby County Junior School in Hull. They left Hartlepool at 8.15am to travel by train and “had a wonderful time, meeting children at Hull and touring around the school where the match was played”.
The Hartlepool team was “very impressed with the chess pieces which the Hull children had copied from the Lewis set dating from the 12th century, which was found in a cave in France.”
Just like the third round, the Hartlepool side won 5-1 and arrived back in Hartlepool at 8pm.
To pay for the whole experience, the members of the side were taking turns to bake fundraising toffee cakes each evening, which they were then selling at school for 1 pence each.
The Mail report at the time added: “They began playing chess over a year ago when a teacher suggested it to them as a good way to fill their dinner time.”
It led to a chess club with more than 50 members and plenty more wanting to learn the game.
Who remembers the team which did so well – and can anyone tell us how they fared in the rest of the competition?
Share those schoolday memories.
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