W G Grace. The man who pretty much single-handedly created modern cricket. Certainly the nexus of rising living standards and leisure time, the Victorian mania for codification, and their desire for heroes who embodied the zeitgeist meant he was the right man at the right time. But he was worthy of his status, he was so much better than his peers. Examples of his nonpareil; in 1871, at the age of 23, he scored 10 centuries and 2739 first-class runs at 78.25. The next best average that season was 37.66 with just one hundred. Between 1868 and 1876, he scored 54 first-class hundreds; the next highest didn’t even manage 10. I mention this because all of us need to talk more about the development of sport in the second half the nineteenth century but also because almost as impressive as the good doctor from the Downend hinterlands is the club’s recent domination of the KO competition.
Downend were without Steve Meek and Peter Chaplin but managed to whistle up a replacement from Norfolk who didn’t remotely prove to be a turkey. We were without Steve and Andy as well as Rob and John meaning anything we got from the bottom three boards would be a bonus.
The first result was on board 7 where Luke had stayed just about equal into the middle game then moved his queen into a pin and lost a knight and the game. On board 6 Nigel and I had played about 20 moves of theory and I was comfortable enough, then I lost focus and gave up the exchange. I played on, on the off chance of a swindle, but Nigel wasn’t going to misplay a straightforward position and it was 2-0 to the home team. A little bit of hope as Callum pulled a point back by beating Oscar on board 1. The game had been even but black got in a tangle and gave up material allowing white to take the game. Soon afterwards Matias levelled the score with a win over Michael on board 2. The game was very even but in the time scramble white went wrong giving up a minor piece then a rook and the match was level.
Next to finish was board 4. Peter and Oli got off to a slow start with all pawns and pieces remaining on the board and a lot of manoeuvring in a balanced position. After pawn and piece exchanges on the queenside white was left with a slight advantage in a knight, rook and 5 pawns each endgame where black had an isolated a-pawn. This was probably heading for a draw but a miscalculation in time trouble led to the a-pawn being lost, and a subsequent knight and 5 vs knight and 4 winning endgame for Oli. He doesn’t mess those up and Downend were back ahead on the night. Phil had lost a pawn to Reinhold in the middle game on board 5 but was still in it and as clocks ticked down an oversight by Reinhold meant white could have won black’s knight but playing on the increment Phil didn’t see it and Reinhold was able to break through and secure the game.
Two games left and Nigel had managed to stay in the game against Dave after a tough opening but once queens were off the board white’s outside passed pawn was too strong. Match secured. Finally on board 3 Derek had spent the game trying to break down Aron’s defence. The game moved to a bishop vs knight endgame and white creating a passer on the h file which was too far away from black’s king. A pleasing consolation.
So 5-3 to the mighty Downend kings of the KO. On the balance of play a deserved victory for the stronger team. If anyone wants to talk more about the intersection of industrialisation and leisure, or the creation of a hero class in late Victorian society, let me know.
|1||Oscar Garcia (2203)||0||Callum Brewer (2217)||1|
|2||Michael Ashworth (2099)||0||Matias Candelario (2139)||1|
|3||Aron Saunders (2292)||0||Derek Pugh (2125)||1|
|4||Oli Stubbs (2195)||1||Peter Kirby (2039)||0|
|5||Reinhold Heinlein (2095)||1||Phil Nendick (2012)||0|
|6||Nigel Hosken (2081)||1||Peter Marks (1759)||0|
|7||Daniel Gomez (2084)||1||Luke Millard (1685)||0|
|8||Dave Tipper (1765)||1||Nigel Pollett (1752)||0|
|Downend & Fishponds||5||Horfield & Redland||3|