The first round of the Northern DBM League competition took place on the 15th March at the Rotherham club in the Cross Keys pub in the new looking town centre. Being a Sunday parking was no problem and the many parking bays provided made access to the Cross Keys easy. Having watched the Full Monty the night before, crossing the motorway bridge over nearby 'Meadowhall' and the twin cooling towers looked very familiar . Turning off the motorway at junction 33 as shown on the map kindly provided by the Rotherham club to Colin Betts I followed the map to the first roundabout off the motorway and turned right despite signs saying Rotherham the other way, I was grateful to find I had done the right thing when Moorgate Road came into view at the traffic lights. This lead arrow like into the centre of Rotherham. I thought I was early but when I found the upstairs room we were to hold the competition in. I must have been one of the last ones judging by the numbers there. Persian Spear and Shield

Gaming started with Keith Nathan and Andrew laying down the new shaped waterway half 18 inch half 12 inch this case the 18 inch being on our side of the table, skilfully scratch built navel elements came into play. My partner Tim having control of the two commands used to hold. I was to have the task of delivering a left hook blow with the LH(S). Having a Later Achaemenid Persian army which was a class 3 army under the NDBML grading, these were some of our best troops Chris Jackson my partner from last year had purchased us a new set of dice, judging from last years dice throwing I needed them. The opposition army being Chinese with Cv(S) and some allies ware a grade higher. In the NDBML armies are classed 1, 2 or 3 a class 1 being killer type army with Kn, Cv(S), Cm(S), Ele etc a class 2 lesser of these types, class 3 contains none of these types. My left hook had become bogged down in a cavalry melee and the right flank had blades and light cavalry landing in its rear from junks. The spear (I) had to turn to face this new threat with the Persian C-in-C supporting, if we had lost this encounter we would have had major problems. In the next bound, I think, Tim killed the Chinese C-in-C and other troops, I also killed a sub-general in the cavalry melee having my self having come within 1 ½ elements of being demoralised. The next roll of the dice ended the game Keith or Andrew failing to score enough to prevent the lost generals causing demoralisation, half the army gone so the game over. Very sudden and unexpected. Mike Goss kindly announcing to all 20+ teams attending that Keith Murphy had won his first game in the two years, Scoring 14-0 victory being unheard of in the last two years of NDBML competition, we looked to the afternoon round with some hope.

Colin Betts and Mike Goss being in the top 3 or 4 of last years competition were our afternoon opponents This did dampen our hope a little Colin trying to read our minds though no one would put spear(I) in the centre but would hide them on the flank. They therefore massed bows and cavalry in the centre. We did indeed think of putting the spears (I) on the flank but but Colin and Mike had woods all over so we plumed for the centre. So we had the same plan again against the Early Russians this time the Lh(S) had a wood to contend with they did well killing LH(F) easily, but got into trouble as they became out numbered. Mike found the game so enthralling that he nodded off for a second or two while waiting for Colin to return to the table. So time was probably on our side as the game ended. Spears and cavalry (I) all held and the LH(S) didn't get defeated. A 5-5 draw was given and we had held a top team to a draw. Considering last years showing not a bad result at all with 19 points and 4 more rounds to go all to play for. Next round RIPOSTE on the 30th May at Pudsey Leeds.
23/03/98 Keith Murphy