Chestnut69 joins our little band of bloggers.
The battle of the RVH Division 2 sides was eventually won by the new kids, the Hendersons, over their club-mate rivals, the Ravens.The two sides, with virtually the same line-outs, played out a bruising draw in November, but this time out the Ravens drew first blood and might have been fancying their chances of scooping the points after John Monaghan ran out winner against the "unpredictable" Phil "MLegsci" Morrison. Even the help of the faithful Henry the Horse couldn't help Phil regain his Williamson Shield form on this one as he succumbed early to a determined Monaghan.
Sean Linton fell to Anthony Thompson on board 3 soon after which gave the Ravens a 2-0 lead. Boards 1 and 2 were closer affairs but Richard Kaczorowski and Brendan O'Neill came out winners against Frank Carruthers and Guych Nuriyev respectively to draw the Hendersons level.
All eyes turned to board 4 where Ulster Junior champ Cathal Murphy, shrugging off his recent broken arm, was renewing acquaintances with Raymond Smith. As in the Ulster Ray replied to Cathal's e4 with his customary Modern/Pirc defence, and when he grabbed a pawn with Rook on move 20 may have felt comfortable. Cathal blocked in the Rook and followed up by taking it with his Queen, which Ray couldn't retake owing to a vicious discovered Rook x Queen with check, then taking a Knight. Murphy looked at a Rook sac on move 24 (which would in fact have led to checkmate) but thought it was too risky to play as he already had the advantage at this point. He went on to take the Knight with a check on move 25 and actually missed a mating chance on move 32. Even a clear rook and passed pawn down Smith fought on forlornly (sorry Ray) hoping Murphy with such a material advantage would stalemate. It wasn't to be as Cathal eventually prevailed with resignation on move 55 to give the Hendo's the points and more importantly the bragging rights.