Two evenly matched sides contested the return battle of the B teams and the evenness quickly manifested itself in the first results.
None of the top four boards lasted too long. Andrew's game with Peter was over even before I had a chance to come out of my corner for a look. A relatively wild opening was soon followed by a shaking of hands.
Steve's Caro Kann against Mike followed fairly safe lines and after multiple exchanges a dead level position was reached.
By move 5 our Mike's game with Chris had evolved into a Dragon but with an early e5, leading to all sorts of possibilities. Interlocked pawns provided a buffer against anything too dramatic in the centre and hostilities were terminated around move 20.
I thought Oli had some chances in a rook ending because of his opponent's split pawns but John's active rook produced equality.
I obtained a poor opening against Jon, having embarked on a dubious and time consuming sequence. An even poorer move 20 was fortunately not pounced on and I was able to achieve a fairly safe ending, maybe even slightly better but with too little time to try to capitalise.
Which meant that five draws left it all to Dave, who was playing an excellent game as Black. By move 18 he had all the play, with Bob's King stuck in the centre. One missed move allowed White to castle and the game drifted into a difficult Rook ending where all the time spent earlier meant that Dave had too little remaining to find the drawing lines. A huge shame, after outplaying his opponent for so long and, indeed, playing with more creativity that all the rest of us.
Over the two matches we had won 6½ to 5½ but, on this occasion, we didn't have quite enough fire in our bellies to capitalise on a number of promising opportunities.