HASTINGS & ST. LEONARDS 2 WEALD OF KENT 2, 27 November
Con Power (b) 01, Gary Willson 01, Steve Oakman 10, Mason Woodhams 10.
That must count as an opportunity lost: with just about the strongest team allowed by the grading limit 2-2 at home is not good.
Steve Oakman had one of those games where either he or the opponent - or both - might want to go into a dark room with a bottle of spirits and consider their chess. With a horrendous blunder Steve lost both rooks to a sweeping queen on his back rank; but played on a few moves with smoke and mirrors of an attack - and conjured up the equivalent of a back rank mate! Unbelievable! 1-0
Unfortunately in the meantime Gary Willson, under pre-match instructions to play for a team victory, had seen Steve two rooks down, assumed total loss there, and in his own game sacrificed for a speculative attack to try to get us back in the match.
While Gary W toiled on trying to make his attack tell, on board one Con Power had seemed better but somewhere lost piece for a pawn - I didn't see how. Although he resisted manfully, and got back another pawn, he couldn't hold on. 1-1
On board 4 Mason Woodhams gets Man of the Match. Steady, controlled, diligent, he built up pressure, warded off counters, and at the right time punched hard to win material with controlled tactics. 2-1
And Gary's attack wasn't quite enough over, simplification was forced, and although he tried various endgame swindles a piece down it was never enough... 2-2