Around six and a half years ago, Penrith played host to Keswick in a friendly match at he Crown.
At the time, Keswick hadn’t played a team match for about 10 years, so we thought this would be a great opportunity to get them back into the Cumbria league. Clearly, diplomacy wasn’t our strong point as Penrith won the match 5 – 0 but this, obviously, didn’t deter them as they entered a team the following season.
About six weeks ago, I received an e-mail from Carl Taylor, Keswick’s club secretary, asking if we would be interested in a friendly match either at our venue or theirs. Naturally, as they came to us last time, I said we’d be happy to play them at Keswick.
Carl sent me a list of players who would be in their team and I picked players that matched , as close as possible, to their playing strength. Originally, it was to be a 4 board match but on the day before the match, Carl asked if I could possibly get another player as they now had 5 players keen to play. The only player that I could think of, at such short notice, was myself.
So, on Tuesday evening, 5 of us turned up at Keswick’s home venue to play the match, half expecting the result to be the same as last time but that was wishful thinking.
I was on board 3, playing Paul Wilmott, the same opponent I had in the last match six and a half years ago. It seems Paul has improved quite a bit since last time, as he beat my Polish Opening when he eventually figured out how to handle it. Richard too, lost his game on board 4, to Mike Green. Eggert, on board 1, eventually, managed to win his game against Roger Randall and our board 2, Steve, who had a lot of pressure on Carl, found a way to force a win but having only 75 minutes on the clock for the whole game, Dave lost on time to David Parker, leaving Keswick the winners of the match by 3 – 2.
I put our defeat down to diplomacy, which seemed to work, as all the Keswick players were keen for another match and who knows, we might yet see a Keswick team in the league again.