At one time it looked like this match could decide the runners up
spot. South Bristol gifting a 6-0 walkover to Downend, and a late run
by Bath, meant that the best we could hope for was third, probably
fourth. Still, we wanted to do the double over Downend A so we went
into this match thinking we had chances of winning it.
Peter Kirby was on international duty representing Guernsey in the
Faroes, so Prakash stepped in, and we made a tactical switch of Brent
on to top board. He’s been playing well all season, and so it seemed
right to give him a crack at a top player.
Jon was first to finish, dropping a piece in a game where he had been
on the back foot all the way through. I took a half next, as both Mike
B and I thought there was not going to be much in it. Chris had a rook
for a Bishop and pawn, but Nigel had two active bishops so they
settled for a half each. 1-2.
Prakash had a good looking attack against Jerry and for a time it was
possible he was going to level the match. But this too petered out.
Hope was not dead as the top two boards looked to be doing okay. Mike
had a rooks and pawns ending in which he seemed to have a slight
initiative, but short of time. Brent had a nice position in which his
minor pieces were occupying the centre.
But then Brent found himself on the receiving end of an apparent piece
sac where recapturing would have resulted in a calamitous discovered
check. With no good squares for his queen, he resigned.
On board 2, Steve had managed to infiltrate one of his rooks and Mike
was down to seconds on the clock. Instead of playing passively, he
sent his king charging down the g and h files, forcing his h pawn on
to promotion. With one rook each, Steve was compelled to give up his
rook for the new queen, but then Steve’s two connected passed pawns
were going to be unstoppable. Whilst trying to find a way out, Mike’s
flag fell. 1.5-4.5.
And so ends a remarkable season. This was our biggest defeat, but once
again we were heavily outgraded, an average of 22 points. Back in
September I was very pessimistic about our chances because I couldn’t
see where we were going to get enough match points. However, the wins
started to come and they kept coming; no matter that nearly all of
them were by the slimmest margin, we were beating good teams. We did
the double over Bath A (who may now finish runners up), beat the
reigning champions on their own turf, and also drew with Clifton A.
Our own title-winning A team were the only team to beat us twice. We
may finish fourth, but it could be fifth if University A do not lose
to Horfield A next week. Still, a top half finish is fantastic, and we
have bragging rights about being the top B team in the League.
We scored slightly less than 50% in game points, but won 9 and drew 2
of our 18 matches. Special mention must go to Mike who scored 50%,
playing board 1 or 2 all season, and Brent who scored 59% and must
easily be a 170+ player now. Also to our ‘super subs’ from the C team
(Bob, Mike L, Matias, Prakash and Nigel) who won 8 drew 5 and lost
only 2 between them – it should be no surprise that the C’s have
secured a promotion spot in division two.
(1) Brent Perrin 0 – 1 Richard Savory
(2) Mike Harris 0 – 1 Steve Meek
(3) Chris Jones 0.5 – 0.5 Nigel Hosken
(4) John Richards 0.5 – 0.5 Mike Brigden
(5) Jon Fisher 0 – 1 Michael Meadows
(6) Prakash Chatterjee 0.5 – 0.5 Jerry Humphreys
HORFIELD B 1.5 – 4.5 DOWNEND A
NB: Horfield were black on boards 1, 3 and 5