Welsh Correspondence Chess Federation

Rydym yn Ffrindiau - Amici Sumus

Welsh Victory in EU Team Cup Quarterfinal vs Sweden

....with a draw in the 35th game to finish, Adam Davies pushes the Welsh team over the line with five games to spare!



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Congress Proposal Voting

The voting for the ICCF "Virtual Congress" proposals 2020 has now completed and the results shown below.

Online voting was a real success this year, with 85% of possible votes having been cast by national delegates. Some proposals recieved as many as 50 votes out of a possible 56, this is probably a record for an ICCF Congress!

For the first time, all votes were cast by the official delegate for each federation, with no need for any proxy allocations.

ICCF officials will now start the work of implementing the successful proposals, in most cases starting from 1st January 2021.

2020-001Approve Services Committee Budget for 2021470Passed
2020-002Optional Preferential Voting (OPV) for Election of Officials3212Passed (2/3 majority)
2020-003Approve the 2019 Minutes500Passed
2020-004Approve Financial Reports471Passed
2020-005Players' Record Keeping Requirement409Passed
2020-006Players' Requirement to Update Personal Address480Passed
2020-007Counting FIDE GMs417Superceded by 2020-008
2020-008Eliminate Requirement of "5 GM" Opponents for GM Title3711Passed
2020-009Making the Triple Block Time Control System an Official Option417Passed
2020-010Clarifying a Requirement for a Title Tournament416Passed
2020-011Congress Allowances for ICCF Auditor2620Passed
2020-012Limiting the 10-Move Draw Rule398Passed
2020-013Lowering Entry Fees500Passed
2020-0142020 and Onwards - CCE and CCM Medals1927Defeated
2020-016Add a Second Payment Processor to the Server Entry Process463Passed
2020-017Validity of “Half Qualifications” for WCCC417Passed
2020-018Assumed Ratings425Passed
2020-019New Tournament Format426Passed
2020-020Special Provisions for the 70th ICCF Jubilee Events3117Passed
2020-023Clarifying Rules about Resetting Clocks after Extended Period of Down Server481Passed
2020-024Establish “Regional” Tournaments3115Passed
2020-025Norm Tournaments: Switching of an Entry When the Player's Rating Changes490Passed
2020-027Updates to the ICCF Voting Regulations and Electoral Procedures [2/3 VOTE]3510Passed (2/3 majority)
2020-028Electronic Awards2028Defeated
2020-029Allowing FIDE GMs to Play Free in ICCF GMN Events387Passed
2020-030New Title: International Organizer (IO) and its Scales TO Level 1 and TO Level 21827Defeated
2020-031Allowing TCs to Make TC-initiated Substitutions Directly3810Passed
2020-032ICCF Congress 2021-Clydebank Glasgow471Passed
2020-033Title Norms in Chess 9601533Defeated
2020-034Limitations to the Number of Open Tournaments Organised by MFs406Passed
2020-035Final "B" in Different Rounds of the Tournament1830Defeated
2020-036New Tournament: World Team Cup398Passed
2020-037Friendly Matches Viewing Rules1529Defeated



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WCCF 2019 Christmas Special

Well played Rhys Jones for winning the recently completed 2019 Christmas Special with an impressive score of 5.5/6!



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3rd Chess 960 European Team Cup

ICCF-Europa invites all its member federations to enter a team to a new team tournament to be played on the ICCF webserver. Each member federation may enter one team of 4 players (and a team captain). 

The tournament is likely to be organized in 

one or two stages 

(it depends on the number of entries). Pairings will use a Double Round Robin system whereby players play 2 games with alternate colours against each opponent (both games against the same opponent will start with the same randomized position of the pieces but these will vary against other opponents). Time control is 

30 days for 10 moves

 and the games will be 

rated in ICCF Chess 960 rating system

. Members of the first three teams in the final will be awarded medals and certificates. 

Start date
The tournament will start on 15th of September 2020

There is no entry fee for this tournament.

The first Cup attracted 9 teams, the second Cup was played with 12 teams. I invite all national federations to join this tournament and let players enjoy play at chess 960.


If you are interested in being part of the Welsh team please get in touch by 23/8/2020

#960 #EuroTeamChamps

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CCE Title for Andrew Smith

Fast on the heels of his previous norm Andrew has completed another Norm and gained the CCE Title in WS/CCE/A/4

Andre becomes our 18th CCE titleholder

#AndrewSmith #CceTitle

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Wales - Brazil Friendly underway

The friendly match is underway on 29 boards   WLS - BRA 2020

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CCE Norm for Andrew Smith

Congratulations to Andrew Smith in picking up a CCM Norm in the George D. Pyrich Memorial Team Tournament SF1 Board 3

This is Andrew's second CCE Norm but more games will be required to complete the title.


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Return to the Engine Room

It's been sometime since I was last in the Engine room and quite a bit has happened in the world of Chess Engine development in that time!

ASMfish is no more. This port of Stockfish into Assembler had proven very popular with enthusiasts due to its additional speed boost but it is now so far behind Stockfish in terms of development that any speed advantage pales into insignificance compared with the deficits in search and evaluation.

It appeared CFish had gone the same way but in recent weeks an effort has been made to bring the code up to date. CFish offers some speed benefits, so this is worth watching to see if the efforts are successful.

Houdini has had no new releases in several years but in recent months, what is allegedly the source code has appeared in public forums. Whilst the veracity of this is not of interest, it would be surprising to see an updated version of this engine appear in some form.

In terms of other engines outside of the main players the main newcomer has been Ethereal. Whilst not quite at the same level as the top engines it does have an interesting playing style.

Neural net development has continued to advance           

Significant work has been undertaken to make LC0 far easier to install and many specialised nets have been developed, Elo improvement has slowed, and development of Stockfish has been spurred on to compete with LC0.  A neural net is an essential part of an aspiring CC players arsenal, but it is now much easier to achieve for two reasons:

Fat Fritz has been updated and runs well on CPU based hardware (as opposed to LC0 which really requires a high-quality graphics card). Fat Fritz is based on a different network development method but does add to players options.

Stockfish development has thrown up two fascinating projects. Stockfish NNEU is a method to create a neural net which operates with Stockfish. It is early days yet, but early testing shows performance approaching Stockfish itself. In my own research it does show some interesting moves and runs much faster than a LC0 network but as I said early days!  The other project is Stockfish WDL, which is an attempt to generate a Win-Draw-Loss score for Stockfish. This is in exceedingly early days now but does appear to show some promise.

With the release of Fritz 17, we saw the appearance of the Fritz 17 engine (which I believe many users think is Fat Fritz!). Whilst a pleasing upgrade from Fritz 16 (which was simply Rybka modernised) this engine is a long way of the pace in CC terms and should not be utilised as a main engine

Honey is a specialised development of Stockfish which adds several features especially useful for CC players, for example Defensive mode and Deep Profound Analysis. Each release does provide several versions which include the best tweaks of several other engines. Personally, a favourite!

Eman is something of a controversial engine, for non-chess reasons I will not go into and ridiculously hard to get hold of but does provide interesting features including an ability to sniff out interesting moves. Well worth the effort to get hold of!

Bluefish is something of a marmite engine. Its “Bluefish” mode is somewhat misleading as it is simple reports the depth and node count incorrectly. It does, however, tend to utilise a narrower search giving a greater depth. Dependent on position this can either be a game winner or a game loser. Worth a look but personally I would never use it as a main engine

ShashChess has just updated as is an interesting engine, with former CC World Champions and Grandmasters involved in its development. It has three different modes, which either the engine self-selects, or the user can select, which approach the position differently. Well worth a look.

Raubfisch has been around for a long time and includes a lot of CC specific features, including ICCF Mode. Worth close examination.

Komodo has two modes – traditional and Monte Carlo. Both have a following with CC. If you want to use a Monte Carlo engine with a CPU then you probably need to use Komodo. Do not be fooled into thinking Stockfish is far superior simply based on ratings. Komodo plays a much more solid game and tends to be popular with those who prefer solid positions. It of course one of the few commercial engines in this review.

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Friendly Match vs Aruba

Wales have just started a new friendly match vs some new players from Aruba


We are hoping that this will be a great introduction to CC for our new Aruban friends, and that eventually they will consider starting a new national CC federation and applying for membership of ICCF.

#Aruba #Friendlies #FriendlyMatch

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CCE Norm for Peter Bevan

Congratulations to Peter Bevan in picking up a 2nd CCE Norm in George D. Pyrich Memorial Team Tournament SF1

To complete the Title a third norm will be required.


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ICCF Congress Voting

The final list of approved proposals for the 2020 ICCF Congress is now available on the ICCF website:


Because of the difficulties in organising a full Congress due to the disruption caused internationally by the COVID-19 virus, Congress will be held virtually this year, with member federations submitting votes electronically from 8-28 July.

The WCCF Executive Committee are currently discussing how Wales will vote for each of these proposals; if any WCCF member would like to raise an issue about any of the proposals, please contact the WCCF Secretary at [email protected] before 8th July and this will be fed back to the EC.

If any Premium member would like to join with the EC's discussions and contribute to the internal voting process, please also get in touch.


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The British Correspondence Chess Championship (BCCC)


The British Correspondence Chess Championship (BCCC) is the premier tournament on the British CC calendar.
Running continuously since 1921 and open to all British players, the BCCC has carried ICCF title norms since 2016.
The BCCC caters for players of all levels and consists of a final, a candidates section and a number of reserves sections.
The BCCC is organised jointly by the English Federation for Correspondence Chess (EFCC), the Scottish Correspondence Chess Association (ScoCCA) and the Welsh Correspondence Chess Federation (WCCF).

Further details of the tournament, including the full rules and a list of previous winners, are available on the EFCC website: http://efcchess.org.uk/bccc.html .

Last season’s crosstables can be viewed here:
Championship https://www.iccf.com/event?id=81192
Candidates https://www.iccf.com/event?id=81193
Reserves A https://www.iccf.com/event?id=81194
Reserves B https://www.iccf.com/event?id=81195
Reserves C https://www.iccf.com/event?id=81196

There is a first prize of £100 and a second prize of £50.

Entries close on August 31 and play is due to commence in September 2020.

Entries can be made directly to Tournament Organiser - Phil Beckett or via the National Federation ;

EFCC - https://efcchess.org.uk/index.html (Online Fee Payment (use reference BCCC)),

Scottish - [email protected],

Welsh - https://welshccf.org.uk/content/18.

Entries and the entry fee of £12 should reach Phill Beckett no later than 31st August 2020.

Posted by Gordon Anderson (Scotland), Phill Beckett (England) and Russell Sherwood (Wales).


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Marc Wakeham International Arbiter

Congratulations to Marc Wakeham on being confirmed as Wales 3rd International Arbiter.

Should anyone wish to start out on the journey to this award please get in touch.

#Ia #MarcWakeham

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Interview with IM Andrzej Szerlak (POL)

I am 63 years old, I live in Poland, in Lubin close to the border with Ukraine, work in the City Hal, I have a daughter and son who are now completely independent people.

I played and still play only Correspondence Chess, I did not have time for another form of competition, or maybe, I did not feel like it, I do not regret my choice.

I played the first Correspondence Chess tournament in 1976,playing in the semi-finals of my city championships,I still remember some games played there, later I abandoned chess and returned to them several times, now I actively participate in chess life continuously from 2014.

Correspondence Chess gives me a substitute for real rivalry and, because they take place away from other people, they allow me to experience the sadness of failure or joy of victory only with my loved ones And of course thanks to them I met many fantastic, clever and unusual people. 

I think that I am now at the peak of my chess career, because victories come to me more and more difficult, probably because the rivals are also getting stronger. Therefore, I do not plan my career any more, although I hope that I will be able to play many successful tournaments or even an interesting game .

I think the best chess teacher is practice, which is why I recommend playing as many games as possible with those who have more skills than us. Well, and studying books, but mainly classics - less analysis in them, more wise and needed advice.  

Before starting the tournament, I don't work out how to play it, sometimes I change the way the game openings, and I think that's all. 

It's no secret that in today's correspondence chess, chess engines play a big role in making decisions about making moves, but ultimately it is the man who makes the move. After assessing the position, I try to find my moves, then verify them with the engine, if my idea according to the engine it's OK, no problem, but if the engine has a different concept of the game, I analyse the position using a different engine, or in terms of the consequences of making a move - I like positions with uneven material on the chessboard, I'm not afraid of simplifications and I subconsciously strive for such a game.  

Certainly, the draw plague is dangerous for chess, but I have the impression that it concerns the whole of this sport discipline. Well, more and more available aids such as literature, computer programs, more and more effective teaching of the game makes the level difference practically blurred. That the chance of victory is given by non-sport factors such as the will to fight, ambition, perseverance and devoting time to the game at the expense of other pleasures such as watching TV. In my case, sometimes it brings good results.  

I don't have great aspirations about my chess successes any more. I would like to play a little more, maybe I could win something there, the greatest joy is hearing from a rival after a game of words such as "it was my most exciting game in my life" - and that's it happened more than once.  

I don't think I have favourite chess openings, I think that with wide access to chess knowledge, it doesn't matter, it's important to play items that suit us, match our style of play and bring us success, recently they are English White and Black Sicilian Defence and Slav Defence - openings perhaps without a great philosophy, but allowing you to run an interesting game not without sharper moments  

I think I would like to meet Paul Morphy the most and ask him how he likes today's chess  

My favourite chess book is-Aron Nimzowitsch-My System  

I will not be original and say that Robert Fischer, I admire him for his will to fight and face the entire galaxy of Soviet players, not only at the chessboard. Maybe this statement is a bit of a policy, but for someone who lived in Eastern Europe at that time it was important moments and the real hope Fischer gave.   

I do not know if you need to change something in correspondence chess, we are a large group of enthusiasts of chess, I think that our ranks are not shrinking, we lead a lively tournament life, we have our many chess friendships - it is all right

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7th International Clergy Correspondence Chess Championship

Details attached

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7th International School Friendly

Details attached

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Rating Differences

In the postbag (well the electronic one anyway!) I have been asked several questions about the ICCF rating system.  One wide misunderstanding  is about rating points being gained or lost playing against lower rated opposition. 

Looking into it two factors have the most underlying effect on the result – your k value and the difference in rating.

The k value is defined as part of the rating equation:


I put a K calculator into the spreadsheet to make life easier, but we can see from the above the k value gets smaller as your rating and number of games completed increase.

From looking at the formula we can see that the k value starts out around 25 and then trends down to around 10 for the majority of players – or 20 if your rating is below 2000. Where do you find your k value – either on the spreadsheet or in your rating forecast on ICCF.com

Once we know this we can determine that the number of rating points lost or gained in a game is calculated from your actual score in the game – your expect score multiplied by your k value.

Your actual score can only take one of three values 0,0.5 or 1. 

Your expected score comes from the difference between you and your opponents rating, by the formula:


In practice this means

Rating difference



By a very long and painful journey we come to a number of generalizations, which have been the questions I have been asked:

  1. You have to be rated more than 100 elo more than your opponent to lose more than 1 point from a draw (for most people with a K factor around the 10 mark)
  2. In a two game match (Friendlies in particular), this drops to 50 elo for a “double draw” costing more than 1  point
  3. If the difference in elo is less than 300, than 1.5/2 will be a net rating gain for the higher rated player 
  4. Once the gap is more than 300 elo then 2/2 is required to not lose rating points.



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Wales - Brazil Friendly

We are organizing a friendly match with our Brazilian Friends. We hope to field 20-25 boards with ratings paired as closely as possible  Time control is to be confirmed but will Time Control will be Triple Block utilizing guaranteed 3 day reflection time after Move 50. If you are interested please get in touch by 1st  of July 2020 

Expected start date August - September 2020. 

As a reminder Friendly matches are free to enter for Welsh flagged players.


Andrew Smith WCCF Friendly Match Coordinator

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Sweden versus Rest of Europe

Dear Players,


ICCF Zone 1 and SSKK - Sveriges Schackförbunds Korrschackkommitté are delighted to announce that a friendly match Sweden versus Rest of Europe will be organized in September, 2020. 

1. The match will be played on ICCF webserver, ICCF Playing Rules will apply. Time control is 10 moves in 50 days with duplication after 20 days.

2. Number of boards is expected 50 to 60.

3. Any Zone 1 (Europa) National Federation (except for Sweden) may nominate up to 3 players for the Rest of Europe Team (usually some NFs are not represented in friendly matches, however it would be good if all players will be set in order). Deadline is August,31, 2020.

4. Each player will play two games (one with White, one with Black) against her/his opponent on her/his board.

5. Start date is September 30, 2020.

6. Team Captains are IM Sture Olsson (Sweden) and GM Artis Gaujens (Rest of Europe). 

7.Tournament Director is GM Mrkvička, Josef (Czech Republic).

8. Order of boards will be set in accordance with ICCF ratings being taken from

up-to-date rating list (i.e. 2020/3).


Any Welsh flagged play interested in taking part should get in touch with Russell Sherwood by the 24th of August 2020. 


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Neural Nets on the cheap

As I finalize an article on setting up Neural Net based engines, it is worth sharing that you do not need to upgrade to an expensive new machine or graphics card to make use of neutral nets.


It is possible to put together a stand-alone unit for a little for a fraction of the cost of a high end PC.  The unit is not super-powered but will out perform most CPU powered versions.  If you are interested in this approach, get in touch 


 Thanks to SIM John Claridge for the tip on this!


p.s. An even cheaper alternative is https://leelanalysis.com/  which is currently free but in Beta Stage


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Counties and Districts Update

The 2019-2020 C&D CCC is moving towards an interesting finish, with 20 games remaining on the top tier


Hertfordshire top the table, having completed their games but with expected results Essex A look to be heading towards the title chased home by West Wales and Lancashire. The shock of the event is that former powerhouse Yorkshire look to be have been sucked into the relegation battle.

Probably the most interesting game of the event is https://www.iccf.com/game?id=1143988



In the 2nd Tier West Wales B look set for promotion 

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Offer to host the 2021 ICCF Congress

The Welsh Correspondence Chess Federation have offered to host the 2021 ICCF Congress at the Imperial Hotel in Llandundo from 15-20 August 2021; delegates will vote on whether or not to accept this offer between 8th and 28th July 2020.



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Euro Team Cup Update

Following a number of new results our position continues to strengthen in this event.

Currently, we stand at 16-11, with 13 games still in play - so we only need to score 4.5 from 13 to advance, which is looking more than likely

Congratulations to Tony Balshaw, Paul Keevil, Phil Morgan, Fred Clough and Sean Denton in securing wins!

In the other fixtures.

Team AA ScoreB ScoreTeam BRemaing GamesLikely to Advance
Netherlands15.513.5Romania11To close to call


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Interesting Annotated Games

Tim Spanton publishes some interesting annotated games from the BWSTT on his blog



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Welsh Provisional 2020/3 Rating List

   2020/2ForecastRating Change
ICCF IDTitleNameGamesRatingRank+/-RankRating 
451416IMJohansson, Thomas262578   25780
810209SIMYeo, Gareth3212476101248711
210855IMBalshaw, Anthony525246220224675
810160SIMClaridge, John B.322244530324450
211672IMLockwood, Austin256240140424076
810183IMJones, Ian36423935052392-1
810161CCMSherwood, Russell9902357716238326
810243CCMEvans, Craig18823836-172373-10
810182CCMDean, Philip100234991823556
810212CCMSherwood, Alexander52923568-192351-5
810174CCMBishop, William103232514410234924
810202LGMSherwood, Helen902233013211234818
810208CCMDavies, Adam114233711-11223458
810179 Varley, Peter25233512-11323350
810139CCMAdams, Mark215234210-4142324-18
810163CCMKeevil, Paul17723231511423241
810233CCEScott, Paul34723011601623021
810137 Thornton, John D.2522931701722930
810175 Williams, John L.4422811801822810
810057CCMSinnett, Glyn20622791901922790
810211CCECannon, Dale8822742002022740
810221CCEGibbons, Andrew7422602102122600
810278 Jones, Rhys162149319222258109
810180 Nettles, Paul Eric68224622-12322460
810184 Yüce, Aytaç118223823-12422435
810259CCEDenton, Sean110220728325223023
212222 Morgan, David Philip18222225-12622242
810152 Clough, Fred181221326-12722218
210426 Fordham-Hall, Christopher M.248221326-22822130
810075 Wakeham, Marc R.651223724-5292205-32
810247 Hatchett, Paul6021843003021840
810222 Smith, Andrew173218529-2312173-12
810195 Bevan, Peter M.1272143320322130-13
212420 Thomas, Michael D.132100330332096-4
810061 Griffiths, Martyn J.11220853403420850
212422 Davies, John1220743503520839
810156 Ricketts, Martin88203037136206030
810165 Bailey, Stephen246200438137205046
219118 Robertshaw, Andrew M.239203636-23820360
810248 Hurn, Robert53197441239202450
810256 Jones, Phillip76200339-14020030
810272 Flew, Nick30197441041200026
810189 Alex Bullen29193944242196930
810197 Thomas, Vaughan61191545243194732
810268 McCarthy, Maurice46194043-14419400
810276 Coles, Jon39198340-5451933-50
810204 den Drijver, Danny3519024604619020
810255 Morgans, Justin741893470471880-13
810216 Collins, Eleanor2618744804818740
810133 May, Adam J.5618004904918000
810187 Wilson, Mark3817975005017970
810240 Jones, Dewi1217705105117700
211773 Clark, Richard I.39317705105117700
810237 Rizvi, Nasir2617405305317400
810128 Evans, David R.14167759554171841
810167 McFadden, Wayne4078235517051705
810219 Denham, Colin144170454-25617040
212421 Robinson, Nicola24170454-25617040
810218 Beck, Anthony16169856-25816980
810205 Meara, Paul34169158-15916910
810220 Davies, Jonathan32169856-4601678-20
810251 Soar, Timothy44167660-16116760
810213 Griffiths, Hywel D. R.12167561-16216750
810162 Roberts, David150165362-16316530
810192 Baron, Margaret241162463-1641610-14
810235 Ford, Stephen28158464-16515840
810241 Sipho, Donovan1215706606615700
810257 Burrows, David72158265-2671553-29
810253 Bray, Peter74151469168154127
810198 Thomas, Dennis29152867-2691511-17
810102 Guy, David T.311152168-2701493-28
810181 Hallwood, Reg24148370-17114830
810199 Dahlgren, Paul P.44145671-172147317
810177 Wilding, Arthur83144072-1731425-15
810217 Richards, Michael236133473-17413340
810249 Szakmány, Bence1213077507513070
810254 Jones, Steve74132174-2761299-22
211735 Merrifield, Peter12125876-17712580
810176 Chugg, Malcolm132124577-1781228-17
810293 Jones, Gareth0078-17900
810279 Powell, Andrew0078-17900
810287 Parsons, David0078-17900
810286 Robinson, Josh0078-17900
810294 Walters, Martin0078-17900
810281 Williams, Duncan0078-17900
212907 Dunning, Stephen0078-17900


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