Now, perhaps, we can put our feet up and relax!
We faced Bath about 99% certain of division one survival for another year. By my reckoning there was one obscure set of results that could keep us in a struggle against relegation so it was just as well we were almost at full strength, with only Andrew unavailable. As it turned out, Bath were not at full strength either so two fairly evenly matched teams contested the points.
First to finish were Steve and Oli. Steve steadily reached a drawn Q, R & P ending while possibly along the way he may have missed one sequence which would have put Adam under more pressure. But Oli made no slips in a rook ending of his own against Arda and avoided any tricks as he very nicely nursed home an irresistable advantage.
On boards 3 and 4, Mike was defending against possible piece sacrifices by Horia while I had more space and possibilities of attack against Tom. In the event, Horia did go for the win of a couple of pawns for a piece but Mike had seen through it all and emerged comfortably from the brief fracas. Shortly after, Tom offered me a draw which, considering I had used rather too much time, I was happy to accept as it clinched at least a drawn match.
Attila and Dave were still fighting. Dave had a slight edge against Peter in a R, B and P ending but it became a won game when he pulled off a nice coup to win a piece and finish with B and pawns against just pawns and his King also well placed to see one of his pawns though. With four points now in the bag it was all eyes on Attila against Roy in a game where they were both playing on incremental time. Both made mistakes which could have swung it either way and it was a pity when Attila made the decisive one but he has performed brilliantly for us in the year or so that he has been in the country. We wish him well as he returns to Hungary.
In addition to Oli's solid win, it was especially pleasing that Mike managed to complete a game (and record all his moves!) in a very competent defence against what he was able to demonstrate to be a faulty attack, while Dave navigated through many complications and finally saw off his opponent with a very nice killer move. One that doubtless we shall be reminded about for a while to come!
4-2 in the end and this almost brings the season to an conclusion, with only one match to come while other clubs still have five or six. Nevertheless we have achieved some very good team and individual results and can at least wait for the final game with a relaxed outlook.