4 NCL - Round 5 & 6

timlawson
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Despite having chickened out of playing on the Saturday (I was supposed to be working but events conspired against me and I ended up over at the 4NCL venue anyway). That said, the team had been picked, I wasn't in it and I sat in the hotel foyer with a good friend of mine and mother of one of the countries' top junior players. The Junior 4NCL was being held at the same weekend and the aforementioned Mother's wee lass was competing in both the J4NCL and the full 4NCL! The mother was also managing one of the teams (roped into it so I believe but she appeared to be enjoying the "power" that comes with managing a team!!).

Anyway, this is more of a Bulldogs Blog so I have digressed somewhat. That said, there wasn't much to say about the poor old Bulldogs... as one by one they exited the playing hall.... Here's the result card from round 5....

  Metropolitan 1941   Banbury Bulldogs 1848
441 w Norman, Kenneth I cm 2208 1 - 0 McNally, Richard   2106 c
442 b Calvert, D Ian   1982 1 - 0 Jackson, Gary C   1926
443 w Vachtfeidl, Petr   1948 1 - 0 Evans, Chris John   1867
444 b Lees, Fraser A   1841 1 - 0 Bowman, Kevin   1850 c
445 w Zhou, Yang-Jian   1882 j 1 - 0 Martin, Nick J   1730 c
446 b Cooke, Charlie   1789 0 - 1 Rumsby, Stephen   1610 c
             
  5 - 1

Disaster! Yet another defeat and the Bulldogs fine run last season looks like it needs to be repeated if we are not to end up at the bottom of the pile! Our captain, Nick Martin, decided to desert the sinking ship, leaving me (as vice captain) in charge for the Sunday.

You'll recall (well, if you bothered reading my blog you might anyway) that I was also in charge in round 4 (our only win so far this season).

As all great leaders do, I steered clear of the grog on Saturday night and got some good rest.

Arriving in plenty of time for the start (unlike Nick on the Saturday who arrived about twenty minutes late - after his game had started) I rounded up the troops and gave them each some individual nuggets of wisdom.

Cajoling words of encouragement such as "don't lose all your smegging material", "avoid playing that crappy opening you always use", "your opponent is the top junior in their age group in the country" etc, etc, I felt I had done a decent job of motivating the lads.

End result?

Well, my game first. I was very very disappointed as I felt that I had done the hard work and calculated that I could comfortably draw even with the Bishop on the same colour square as most of my pawns... there didn't seem a way for White to be able to attack any of them easily enough and all I had to do was hold the Queenside together. What did I do? I decided to try and win, of course... why?!?!.....

I was the fifth game to finish. It was a long struggle and had I even drawn, we would have won the match. So, not a great result but sometimes, leadership comes at a price. In my case, my sanity!

That said, it wasn't a crushing defeat and we did get the draw after some dogged fighting from those in the trenches. Where was our leader I hear you ask? No one knows is the answer!

Here's the match card:

  Banbury Bulldogs 1840   BCM Hippos (3) 1893
441 w Portman, Carl   1942 ½ - ½ Tart, Peter K   1971
442 b Staples, Neil   1986 c ½ - ½ Shaw, Matthew H   1915
443 w Evans, Chris John   1867 1 - 0 Head, Louise   1922 j
444 b Lawson, Timothy D   1818 c 0 - 1 Kane, Robert (Bob)   1830
445 w Graff, Ben   1818 c ½ - ½ Grieve, Harry   1890 j
446 b Rumsby, Stephen   1610 c ½ - ½ Cresswell, Mike J   1832
             
  3 - 3

I see it as no small coincidence that when I captain a team, regardless of how useless my players are, we do seem to get results.

Clearly, I should be Prime Minister and I hope you'll all vote for me. For a better future for you and your children and your children's children.

PS - any of my teammates reading this, I'm only joking, you're not ALL useless (not ALL of the time anyway!)

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