The Exmouth team travelled to Seaton knowing they had already secured the Newman Cup for the RapidPlay League with this match to spare; the only question was whether this would lull them into a sense of anti-climax leading to a meaningless loss – or inspire them to a final flourish, winning like true champions.
With the first round almost over, it certainly looked like the former case, as Exmouth trailed 3-0 and Belt left with a double-edged game to complete. He managed to force the win, leaving Seaton, during the break, contemplating gaining their first-ever win in a DCCA tournament.
However, in Rd. 2, Stone blundered again in the opening; instead of 2 pawns as in game 1, it was a whole piece, and Jones was determined not to blunder the game back a second time and ran out a winner. Shaw also made amends, winning a piece in the endgame, leaving him with R+N vs R plus pawns each. Against Wensley, Steve Dean ran short of time and blundered his last piece, leaving him a rook down. Belt and Dowse were again involved in a double-edged game in which Belt sacrificed a piece in order to break open the enemy king’s position, eventually getting a pawn to the 7th rank, which won the game. A 4-0 win in Rd. 2 gave them the match 3-5. Seaton were understandably disappointed to lose the match after such a promising start, but it was only Belt’s double win that was the difference and both of those games were very finely-balanced. Exmouth had snatched victory from the jaws of defeat, but it was a close-run thing.
|Bd||Seaton||Grd||Rd. 1||Rd. 2||Exmouth||Grd|
|1||Steve Dean||157||1 – 0||0 – 1||Oliver Wensley||164|
|2||Martyn Adams||153||1 – 0||0 – 1||Meyrick Shaw||150e|
|3||Seb Stone||147||1 – 0||0 – 1||Robert Jones||147|
|4||Alan Dowse||135||0 – 1||0 – 1||Malcolm Belt||120|
|592||3 – 1||0 – 4||581|