So it wasn’t meant to be. For the second World Junior Championship in a row, the U20s had to settle for the silver medal.
Starting the day 35 down and with only the single stanza to play, it was important not to let even more swings go out the gate and make the task much more difficult. Early on, we gained a game swing when Dan and James caused them to miss theirs. It went straight back after a Polish pre-empt kept us out of ours. But as the stanza progressed, we seemed to be making gradual inroads into their lead.
The advancement juddered to a halt halfway through the set. A deal which had seemed to be more IMPs in suddenly became a game swing out as the old defensive bugbears raised their ugly heads once more. This was followed by another on the next board and the critical momentum and pressure that we had built up had fully ebbed away. There were some brief flashes of hope in the dying boards, but the Polish demonstrated greater accuracy in card play at the critical moments to run out deserved winners.
Both Michael Byrne and I would like to say how proud we are of the team, the effort they put in and the performance they produced. For Dan McIntosh and Tom Paske it was a second disappointment in a world final after Beijing. For Shivam Shah, Tom Rainforth, Graeme Robertson and James Paul, this was their first international medal and surely not their last.