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DEC_08_EB_p39-40 Around-About 13/11/08 5:34 pm Page 35

Around and About



AS part of the town’s Family Activities programme for half-term, THE 3rd annual Swiss Teams Bridge Tournament sponsored by

Middlewich Bridge Club, supported by the EBU, ran ‘Taste Bridge’ Bupa Care Homes was held at Grosvenor Park Nursing Home on

sessions on four afternoons and two evenings in the town’s modern 19th October 2008.

and attractive library. Members of the bridge club volunteered to Fifteen teams competed for generous cash prizes given by Bupa

help, galvanised by fellow club member, librarian Pauline Smyth. and the event was organised by the East Sussex Bridge Club. It was

Lots of people sat down and in a few minutes were playing Mini- a closely fought tournament and at the end of the penultimate

Bridge. Paul Hackett visited on Friday afternoon, and was extremely round there were four teams in contention with everything to play

helpful with gentle advice and guidance; all were fascinated to gain for. However, an Eastbourne team emerged victorious winning by

some insights into the life of a leading bridge professional. just three points.



NOT quite Bob Champion and Aldaniti, but nevertheless a welcome

story in the current climate of doom over falling numbers.

Attendance of this EBU-affiliated club had fallen to an all-time

low in spring of 2007, such that a proposal was made at the AGM to

Photo: Barbara Herold

close it. This proposal, however, prompted a core of enthusiasts into

action. One year later, the club has not only survived, but has made

a profit of over £2000. Two teams were entered into the inter-town

league, the ‘A’ team winning their division and the ‘B’ team with six

beginners narrowly missing promotion. The club has also pur-

chased a Bridgepad scoring system and a dealing machine. How? They were (in the picture, left to right) David Benjamin, Jeanne

A year before, a new beginners group had been formed under Boydell, David Howard-Houston and Roger Poulter The runners-

the able guidance of John Squires. The move to close the club just up, who travelled from Hawkhurst, were George Phillips, Valerie

reinforced the determination of a few to keep the club going, not just Frearson, Alex Gibb and Jane Lawrence. The winners received a

for the current die-hards, but for this group and the future of bridge splendid silver trophy, the runners-up a silver salver, in addition

in the Chesterfield area. A new committee was formed, a vote taken, to their cash prizes.

and Chesterfield continued. The priority was to find a way to inte- The staff at Grosvenor Park ensured everyone was well looked-

grate the beginners into the club so the very first tournament they after; the chefs provided an excellent meal, and the waitresses

played was at the home of club stalwart Wendy Watson – a grand served the food and wine. Barbara Herold

total of six boards, several bottles of wine to still the trembling

hands, and a substantial supper. The upshot was a great deal of

hilarity, and solidarity and friendships had been achieved. Wendy SOMETHING NEW IN

still remembers her own first occasion at a bridge club: ‘I had only

been playing a short while. I bid out of turn and the TD was duly BALHAM

called. The shame I felt was considerable. I was convinced that at the

end of the evening I would be politely told not to go again’. She was THERE will be a new place to play bridge in South London in the

determined that these ‘hopefuls’ would not feel that level of anxiety. New Year. The new venue is Harrison’s Brasserie in Bedford Hill,

Mini-tournaments were introduced into the club, running along- Balham. Owner Sam Harrison approached his nearest bridge club,

side the main events. Results would be e-mailed and the tournaments Putney BC, to put on bridge two days a week in the ninety-seat

run on exactly the same lines, just fewer boards at a slower pace. restaurant. There will be intermediate social bridge with instruction

Several ‘social’ evenings were introduced, with invitations to other available on Monday mornings, and on Tuesday there will be a full

bridge players unused to the duplicate setting to try the club out for duplicate bridge with lunch. Bridgemates will be used and master

friendliness. The beginners played in these events and slowly began points awarded. Results will be promptly published on the web.

to integrate into the main sessions. A Swiss Teams series was intro- Organiser of Putney BC is Ned Paul, who says: ‘This was an

duced, along with Swiss food! Pretty soon these social events became unusual request, but the venue is a nice one and I am looking

extremely popular. The established members have been magnificent forward to working with Sam and his team to make it a success.’

in their welcoming and patience with the newcomers. They have a Bridge at Harrison’s launches on January 12th 2009. Details

huge pride in their club, and no-one is afraid to call the TD! from Ned Paul 020 8892 9429 or December 2008 English Bridge 35


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