For our trip to Whitchurch to play one of the league leaders we were missing three regulars but happily were able to call on excellent reserves in Adam, Oli and James. It turned out that South Bristol B also had problems fielding their best team so we started with a slight edge on paper.
Adam was first to finish with a well played opening that won a pawn and, after an oversight by Mohammed, a piece too. After that he was able to bank the first point with little difficulty. Meanwhile Oli, on the other high White board, was also exerting pressure. Andy chose to relieve it by giving up a piece for a couple of pawns but Oli was able to force a winning ending to give us a 2-0 lead.
Then the Duffer and our Andrew both took draws to ensure a drawn match at the very least. James spotted an exchange sacrifice which allowed him to invade on the dark squares against Gareth but unfortunately there weren't quite enough holes in the position to enable him to reap the reward of his enterprise. Finally Richard had a small plus against Jason, who then played a rather horrid 31st move to offer the exchange of a pair of rooks and also a draw. Richard accepted the draw to clinch the match but later it transpired that they had both missed that after the exchange Richard was bound to win a piece. One that got away!
After the pressure a week ago of being uncertain of holding on to a place in division two (not exactly panic but a degree of discomfort nevertheless), we suddenly find ourselves completely safe. So now we can face the last two matches against title contenders with a degree of relaxation. It would still be nice to shock them both, though.