Things have not gone to plan for the A team in the Leamington League since Christmas - in fact we haven't won a single match (largely due to my terrible form) - and as a consequence we have fallen off the pace at the top of the table. So it is with a very large dollop of relief that I am able to report a 4-0 whitewash of Rugby A this week.
Inevitably, Joshua was the first to finish, using the dynamic 1 c3! to quickly bamboozle Patrick Reid on Board 3. After two consecutive losses against his opponent, Joshua was doubtless keen to avoid being on the end of a hat-trick, and after winning the two bishops thanks to a strong Nd6 jump into Black's position, he found a nice tactic to win material in the centre of the board.
It was 2-0 a while later as Mike outplayed Simon Turner on Board 4 thanks to an overwhelming control of the dark squares. This led to the win of an important White centre pawn and Black taking over the whole position. The only moment of concern was when I went over to him to confirm the result and saw 1/2 - 1/2 written on his scoresheet! Thankfully it was just a senior moment, and Mike had indeed won convincingly.
2-0 then became 3-0, as Andrew was the beneficiary of a gross blunder by Jonathan Cox which simply put a piece en prise. I thought our man was better, but it certainly wasn't a position where a sudden conclusion could have been predicted. Still, we'll take it!
And then, eventually, I made it 4-0 when mating Paul Colburn. As I had a queen, bishop and two pawns against his lone king by that time, the win was not exactly unexpected. But in fact I had been an exchange and a pawn up for almost the whole evening after a strong f5 pawn break in the opening busted the Back position wide open. Unfortunately, I missed a follow up piece sac which would have finished the game quite quickly, and instead of being first to finish I was the last, as it took a long time to open lines for my rooks and infiltrate the Black position.
Even after this crushing win, though, our title hopes are pretty minimal, but it was a great relief for both team and captain to get back in the winning groove.