A 2-2 draw at home to second placed Nuneaton A last night, saw us remain one point adrift of them in Division 1 of the Coventry League in third place. A win would have put us in with a chance of finishing second, but as we have the inevitable pasting from University A yet to come, it means that one win from two will definitely see Nuneaton finishing ahead of us. As things stand, we have it all still to do to even finish third.
Showing himself to be a Kenilworth man at heart, Andrew Paterson kindly decided to give this game a miss, rather than take up his normal Coventry League position as board 1 for Nuneaton A. This should have given us a chance, but Nuneaton still fielded a more than useful team and we were ultimately more than a little fortunate to escape defeat.
Mike was first to finish with a draw, defending an inferior position tenaciously for some time against Bob Buckler, who looked to have played a rather good Czech Benoni as Black. Then Carl went down the gurgler against Paul Davies. When Carl's pet hack-attack variation goes wrong it really goes wrong. He sacked/lost a piece and the pawns he received in compensation gradually disappeared, leaving him just a piece down. Paul avoided a few cheapos and Nuneaton were in the lead.
Which is where I thought they were going to stay, until Ben delivered a full point for us in most unexpected fashion. He had been grovelling on the Black side of a Closed Sicilian all night against Colin Green, when Colin somehow contrived to walk into a fork from Ben's almost useless knight, that was simply defending from the less than active square c8. And then to compound the loss of the exchange, Colin immediately dropped a piece leaving him a whole rook down.
I had earlier turned down a draw against Maurice Staples - even though I stood slightly worse - thinking I probably needed to win to save the match. Thankfully, Ben's fortuitous win relieved me of that burden, since when Maurice started to repeat moves attacking my rook with a bishop, I had no realistic alternative but to fall in with his plan.
This was our last home match of the Cov League season, and brought our home record to four wins, one draw and only one loss against the unstoppable University A behemoth. The Abbey Club has become as unforgiving to visiting teams as Turf Moor in the Premier League. Regrettably, though, we have also proved as flaky as Burnley on our travels - like them picking up just one point all season so far. I just hope the similarities end there, though, and I don't have to start talking like Burnley manager Sean Dyche. I can feel a sore throat coming on just thinking about it.