I was sat at my desk this time yesterday unsure whether to weep or type. Still, weeping is not really the done thing where I work (unless things get really bad.) On the other hand as light blogging is positively encouraged (quite possibly) I had no choice but to tell the tale of our Coventry League debacle against Rugby. However, in the back of my mind was the thought that we were in action against Solihull B the following day and I was dreaming of redemption. The plan had been to call this post, "What a difference a day makes," and to regale you with the story of a 4-0 win so emphatic that we were awarded the Division 1 title on the spot. I suppose there is a reason why you can't write blogs before a match has taken place, as the reality last night was much much tougher.
These are big games for the team, as we try and secure our Division 1 status and in the end the point we picked up in a 2-2 draw doesn't represent a bad night's work. Unusually we out-graded our opponents, although only marginally and on paper these looked like two very evenly matched teams. So it proved, even if the result was in doubt until 10.30 and we were the ones who were scrabbling to get anything from the match.
Jude got us off to a decent start with a draw against fellow junior Daniel Chen. The opening was played at break neck speed and they were in an opposite coloured bishop ending almost instantly. I always thought it had draw written all over it. That said, Jude proceeded to make quite a bit of it, but Daniel showed good technique at the end. Despite being down to bishop and one against Jude's bishop and three, Daniel's king was blocking one of Jude's pawns, with his bishop and other pawn completely locking out the other two. Daniel knew to just hold his bishop on the relevant diagonal and there was no way through for Jude. Still, a useful half point to kick us off.
Andy had one of those nights on board two where it just didn't work out. He was in a great position against Paul Roper, and I was certainly expecting a win, but a slight miscalculation undid all his good work. We've all been there, but painful nonetheless. So that put us 0.5 - 1.5 down. I didn't see much of Mike's game, but from what I did, he was always in control. However, this ultimately ended in a draw against Nigel Towers to make it 1-2.
My own game against Praveen Joy was one of the wildest and most complicated I have had for a while. I seemed to get a good position out of the opening, but it was extremely tactical. I managed to win bishop and knight for rook and was pressing on the kingside, while Praveen hammered away on the queenside. There were all sorts of possibilities for both of us and my main problem was that I simply could not calculate any of it quickly enough. At one point Praveen had twenty five minutes to my ten, then a little later twenty to my five. I was definitely better, but the position was fraught with danger. Still, only a win was any good and I felt I had no choice but to press on. Ultimately with three minutes left, I sacked a pawn, to open things up - more on instinct than concrete calculation and suddenly Praveen was massively on the back foot. It still wasn't easy to mitigate his ongoing threats with no time to analyse them, but I found a way to break through and force mate. One of those moments players dream of when suddenly your attack fully falls into place. No matter that by this point I had 50 seconds left on my clock to his 40 seconds! I expect in the cold light of day I was always winning, but it was terrifying at the time. (And still is if I think about it too much.)
So I suppose I get to award myself the man of the match award - this captaincy lark is terrific! In all seriousness, a good team effort and another useful point. We play Solihull A next, in a couple of weeks. We know from the Olton experience that we have nothing to fear, but we will have to find a little more to get something out of that one. We know we have it in us! I'm certainly hoping there will not be a Halloween theme to my next post...