The first 6-0 loss for the B-team in years
With Javier unavailable, Ian volunteered (or was volunteered) to join the fun. A few hours before the match however, Stephen also found himself unavailable and as such, the blame for all that follows lies squarely on his shoulders and not on the weak play of those present.
Compounding our difficulties, Buckers had managed to pull together an almost full-strength team and their strongest of the season. We'll have to take solace from our reputation preceding us there, though perhaps it was the A-team's reputation considering Bath's confusion as to who they thought they were facing.
Lewis started with one of those hypermodern white openings that seems to be incomprehensibly fashionable. David obliged by taking the centre and after a few exchanges Lewis found himself with an airy king and a knight awkwardly pinned by a troublesome bishop. I was optimistically responding to an aggressive opening with passive play that left black's pieces struggling to get off the third rank. Mike was taking advantage of Matthew's preparation for the A-team and was pushing in the centre. Matt appeared to be striking back on both wings, but it looked far more reasonable for us than the boards above.
Andrew amassed a solid four-pawn centre, but with the wrong colour bishop to make immediate headway. Ian, who was later heard to say that he "wasn't a fan of any of his moves", soon found himself an exchange down and with a long grind facing him.
After castling on the opposite side to Lewis, David was able to launch his attack and crash through before Lewis' h-pawn could get rolling. Winning an exchange followed by returning the material shortly after, let black's pieces swamp the king and the game was over. Despite Mike making some good progress with the space in the centre, Matthew appeared to have made a counter-invasion and a queen and knight pair finished the game in Bath's favour.
Ian also succumbed to the grind as the rook overpowered the bishop in his endgame. I hoped that I was holding my position together tactically but Aitor found a series of accurate moves that took advantage of his whopping space advantage and a blunder on my part hastened the end to my misery.
Andrew had won a pawn but was struggling with serious time trouble after a draw offer was declined. Instead of launching a passed pawn across the centre of the board, Andrew was aiming to consolidate which cost too much time. With his king trapped on the first rank, progress became much harder to make and Adam's quick play won him the match on time.
Really, there's not a lot to say in our defence (largely because we didn't play any). We were a weakened team facing a strengthened one, but on the night we were simply outplayed. Well done to Bath!