I thought snow would be the problem but, no, it melted over the weekend. No, the problem outbound was rain, lots of it, as though the Bristol Channel was being emptied over the B3128. I aquaplaned my way, hoping that the rest of the team would make it okay (being not particularly ecological, we were in 5 cars). On arrival, it seems no one had told Clevedon Cricket Club there had been a thaw and I had to follow the wheel ruts through the still deep snow. Two home players had just got there, and heaters were switched on in a rush.
It’s fair to say that Clevedon have had a struggle this season and have accumulated a few postponements that are going to be tricky to fit in. They have some decent players, but all have been out of form and so the results have not come. Draws against South Bristol A, Downend B and Downend A (! our A team send their thanks) were all they had to show for their efforts, until their last match when they went to South Bristol with just 5 players and came away with both points. Perhaps this was the start of a resurgence.
Things started well for me on bottom board, when I got the sort of position I like: great piece activity with zilch for my opponent. James said later that he thought he played the opening too aggressively – perhaps. It became a slow grind that was only going to end well for me. 1-0.
There was still an hour to go, and a lot of play in the remaining five boards. Peter had a bishop and pawns ending on top board. There was a bit of dancing around before he and David decided this wasn’t going anywhere. Mike, on two, also had a level position and shook hands. Board five also ended peaceably. 2.5-1.5.
So, just one point needed and where was it going to come from? Certainly not on board 4, where Brent had managed to fend off a nasty queen and rook attack, but had lost the exchange in the process. His rook and bishop were trying to hold off two rooks, but I wasn’t holding out any hope. Also Brent was low on time, down to 12 seconds.
No, it had to be board 3, where Chris was pushing a passed pawn to the 7th. Could DPK’s two rooks stop Chris’s rooks forcing the pawn through. I turned my back on board 4 and watched to see how Chris was going to win. Unfortunately, it wasn’t easy. A pair of rooks came off, and so did the dangerous pastie. Chris now had a rook and g and h pawns, against a rook and h pawn. It was starting to look horribly drawish.
But then I realised that the spectators had vanished from board three. Turning round, I saw that Brent had somehow managed to win a rook, and was moving a pawn down the board. David was the one low on time now, and he overstepped the limit. 3.5-1.5.
With the match in the bag, Chris offered the draw to make it 4-2. This was our eighth win of the season but, amazingly, our biggest margin of victory.
The rain had stopped, so we set off on what will probably, unfortunately, be our last visit to Clevedon for a season at least. Homeward bound, the problem was a different one – fog!
(1) Egginton, David C ½ – ½ Kirby, Peter
(2) Townsend, Michael ½ – ½ Harris, Michael
(3) Painter-Kooiman, David ½ – ½ Jones, Christopher
(4) Peters, David 0 – 1 Perrin, Brent
(5) Chapman, Andrew N ½ – ½ Fisher, Jon
(6) Beardwood, James P 0 – 1 Richards, John E
CLEVEDON A 2 – 4 HORFIELD B
NB: Horfield were black on boards 2, 4 and 6.