Reivers v Forest Hall Rockets

This match was played at Forest Hall on Friday Dec 12th, with the following line-up:
1. John Wall sr (124) v Derek Blair (135)
2. Mark Broughton (67RP) v Bruce Reed (106)
3. John Wall jr (96) v Steve Larkin (107)
4. Steve Black (u) v Dave Foster jr (84)
5. Dylan Shone (34) v Damian Rudge (65)
On the face of it, the Reivers looked to be on a winning wicket here, but the reality proved otherwise.
Damian got us off to a good start with a brisk victory over young Dylan, who was, in Daman’s words, “all attack and no defence”. 0-1
Dave’s opponent played really quickly and perhaps this unsettled him for, after going a pawn up from the opening, he blundered first a knight and then a rook. He played on to the bitter end, but there was no way he could make up the material deficit. 1-1
Bruce’s game was a Queen’s Gambit. Mark consistently opted to exchange pieces, then made a bishop sacrifice with a mating threat. Bruce survived but was now 2 pawns down in a rook and 4 versus rook and 6 ending. However, he won back the 2 pawn deficit and, in a position where repetition was the order of the day, Mark offered the draw which Bruce accepted. 1.5-1.5
Derek played a Torre opening but lost a pawn on move 14, then another on deciding to be more aggressive. He had some chances on preventing John from castling, but John’s centralised king and rooks gave him a superior position once the queens came off. 2.5-1.5
So the outcome of the match hinged on Steve’s game. A closely contested Sicilian saw Johnny emerge with a pawn advantage, but Steve had 3 pieces pressurising Johnny’s f-pawn and this meant that Johnny’s major pieces were tied to e defensive role. The position became increasingly static, but there was no weakness in Johnny’s defence and a draw was agreed. 3-2
So the Rockets confirm their surprise position at the top of the division, while the Reivers sink ever further into the murky depths at the bottom end!

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