A Flattering Score Line
Given the struggles the C team had last year against Hanham it was with some trepidation that we took on a weakened team in the first round of the minor KO. Having lost their top board to Clifton this year we significantly out graded them on every board, but the old adage of beware of an injured animal was to ring true again.
We got off to a good start with Richard and Neil getting early wins after their opponents miscalculated some exchanges. Oli was controlling his game nicely, and Ian and Andrew looked solid enough in the opening. I on the other hand had contrived to make a complete mess of my position and allowed a strong passed pawn to advance to the 6th rank early in the game. Oli converted his strong position into a win and we were 3 up. However, Ian had lost a pawn which then turned into a piece for 2 pawns, though he had some attacking chances. Andrew's position was still solid but he was getting low on time. It was starting to look like a drawn match.
Allen was building the pressure on my blockade of his pawn and the position looked hopeless. In a last ditch attempt I started an attack of my own on his king. This shouldn't have worked, but it distracted him enough that he made one fatal mistake that allowed me a mating combination, and the match was won.
Andrew and Ian were now playing for pride, and with very little time left Barry made a mistake allowing a very novel mate from Andrew. Despite a strong attack from Ian, the advantage of the extra piece eventually told in a very interesting end game, resulting in Hanham's only point.
5-1 the score sheet reads, but it felt more like 3½-2½, we progress to the next round, but we will have to be much better next time. Well played Hanham you put up a great fight.