This event is using the new WBF VP scale for 14 boards, where scores are given to two decimal places. The mantra behind the concept is that 'every IMP should count', but the change has found little favour with players and (particularly) journalists.
Play got under way yesterday evening with matches (14 boards each) against hosts Northern Ireland and Wales.
England were leading the whole event after two boards, thanks to board 2, where South doubled Clive Owen's 3NT contract, asking for the lead of Brian Senior's first bid suit. Holding AKQ10xx in the suit, this seemed like a good idea to South – and indeed it was; the defence can take the first ten tricks. Unfortunately for Northern Ireland, North took out the double to Four Spades. This in turn was doubled and went three down for 800 to England. Some missed opportunities saw Northern Ireland fight back and win the match by 42 IMPs to 21 … a mere 4.54 VPs for England.
The team bounced back against Wales in another set of distributional boards. The highlight was making game in both rooms for a 15 IMP gain. There was a Grand Slam, reached in both rooms of the England match. I saw a pair on VuGraph get to it in 3 bids (or should that be calls?) over diamond pre-empts by the opposition … Double, 4S and 7S. A slam swing to Wales got them back into the match, but England ran out winners by 46-27, 15.60 in VPs.
Played finished at about 23:15 and there was just enough time for a quick cup of cocoa before bed. After two matches, every team has won one and lost one. Next up for England are Scotland (lying sixth at the moment) and the Republic of Ireland (lying first).
In response to my previous blog, Richard Fleet told me that the 'Junior Camrose' did indeed have a sponsor in the early days; the event is played for the Cutty Sark trophy. So where the event is named after a person (Lord Camrose or Lady Milne) the event keeps its name. But where the event is named after a commercial sponsor, then the event drops the name when the sponsor drops the funding. Seems fair to me.