After a successful first round of matches for our senior teams, round two wasn’t so kind.
In the Armstrong our first team were away to Bray/Greystones. The team were out ranked on all but one board and also short players, forcing them to concede a walkover on board 8. Out ranked and down 1 board it was always going to be a huge ask to get a win from the match. The final result however was extremely close with the conceded board the only difference between the teams at the end of the day, with the match finishing 4.5-3.5 in favour of the home team.
In the O’Hanlon league our second team embarked on the first of a triple bill of very tough games, taking on perhaps the 3 strongest teams in the league in quick succession. First up for the team, a trip away to Drogheda, and like the first team we also struggled to fill all seats, but a few last minute phone calls saw young Alex Babin answer the call and sub up from the Bodley team, and a certain dinosaur brought old of retirement to face his old team.
While the first team were out ranked by their opponents, the O’Hanlon team looked like they were in the wrong division, and were outranked by an average of 300 points on every board. The team had been briefed and everyone knew the challenge we were up against. Back on his old hunting ground the dinosaur on board 1, started things off with a quick 26 move mate to get the team off to the perfect start. 2 hours later and all the other boards were still battling it out for the honours with no one giving any easy points. On boards 5 and 6 out ranked by over 400 points each, Matthew Tiernan and Alex Babin both took their games the full distance before finally losing out to their more experience opposition. Both of these very young players however had extremely impressive performances, to continue the excellent showing by all our new young players this season.
And while the young guns threaten to steal the show again this week, that honour belonged to Mihail on board 4. Out ranked by almost 350 rating points, in a tight end game Mihail produced a brilliant bishop sac that lead to an inescapable mating net that eventually won him the game and equalled the scores at 2-2, a hugely impressive win and performance of the week by Mihail. This was quickly followed by an excellent draw on board 2 by Piotr. The scores stood all square at 2.5 each, with just captain Mark to finish on Board 3. In an epic 80 move game and with both players down to seconds on the clock Mark eventually lost to the composed Patrick McDonnell. Final score 3.5-2.5 to the excellent and extremely friendly and welcoming Drogheda team. Even after the loss the team headed home hugely positive after an excellent team performance.
As part of his motivational pregame speech captain Mark had threatened everyone travelling in Mihail’s car that they would be walking home if they didn’t get at least a draw. It appeared to work as everyone in the car got results, unfortunately Mark didn’t take his own advice and was last seen walking through Drogheda, hopefully he’ll make it back before the teams next league match.