England has a considerable number of fine bridge players but can we produce a great team? Apart from The English Ladies Team, who have had a number of excellent results in recent years our successes in the Open and Senior events have been limited. Perhaps the forthcoming European Championships in Pau, France will help answer this question.
England will be represented in the Open Championship by Paul Hackett and Tony Waterlow, John Armstrong and John Holland and Jason and Justin Hackett. Opposition is likely to be very strong recognising the quality of teams such as Italy, Norway, Ireland, Netherlands, France, Sweden, Poland, Russia and other Eastern European countries. The Team are used to playing together and without exception the players have excellent temperaments, a factor of considerable importance in a series lasting two weeks and I believe they should do very well indeed.
What represents success? Our first objective is to qualify for The World Championship and after that a medal would, in my opinion, represent a fantastic achievement but with a following wind who knows!- The Irish Team have shown us what can be done with commitment, hard work and above all ability.
We need your support- any one in France who can spend a day or two in Pau, between June 15th to 28th, please come along and make yourself known to us and you will be made most welcome. I will try to respond to any emails or letters and answer any questions. If any individual or Company would like to be directly involved by providing some sponsorship, however small, please contact The EBU or myself and we will be delighted to discuss it with you. I believe it to be of paramount importance that all bridge players in the country get behind and feel part of the team in the same way that we support our football, cricket and rugby teams.
In future articles we will look at the prospects of the Ladies and Senior Teams and provide more information on individual players and, during the course of The Championships we will keep you up to date with the progress of our teams. Keep reading these pages.