It has been a very difficult first day in Dublin for the Open Team. Unfortunately Andrew Robson has had to return to London as a result of an illness within the family. That meant a decision had to be made about what to do for the best of the team, and it was decided that Andrew and his partner Alexander Allfrey would have to be replaced, and we were incredibly fortunate that Tom Townsend and David Bakhshi were available to step into the breach. We are also grateful to Tom and David's Pachabo teammates, who released them from their duty to play in the final of that event this weekend. They booked their flights out to Dublin, and arrived this evening. What that meant is that unfortunately we had to play all three matches today with the same two pairs - 60 boards at this level in a day is incredibly tiring. We started off with a well played match versus Monaco, when we lost 11-19. Then we managed to hoover up Cyprus securing the maximum, 25-1. But in the last match tiredness perhaps kicked in and Denmark played well to beat us 21-9. Having said that, we have emerged from a difficult day with 45 VPs on the board, and with Tom and David here to bolster things from tomorrow, we hope to kick on and qualify for week two before making a push to qualify for the Bermuda Bowl.
Tomorrow we play Austria (1000), Switzerland (1330) and finally Russia (1650) - the Russia match will be on BBO and in the on-site Vugraph theatre.
I must add that the whole team reacted impeccably to an extremely trying set of circumstances, and the team would also like to send their best wishes to Andrew and his family.