The Scottish Women's team had beaten the England Ladies (albeit by only 2 IMPs) on Sunday and the England Seniors needed no other motivation than to avenge this wrong when they met the Scotland Seniors in a top-of-the-table clash first thing on Monday morning. (Such is the strength in depth of Scottish senior bridge that none of the team that won the bronze medal in Dublin two years ago (Scotland's best ever major international result) were in the team this year.) The English team restored our national pride with a 69-33 win (17.59 VPs) and we moved back to the top of the table. We started by making 5H doubled in one room and 4S in the other, always a good way to settle an anxious NPC's nerves.
Next up was Poland, the team who ended our Olympiad hopes the last time we met, in the quarter-finals in Lille in 2012. They have a very experienced team (unchanged for the last three European Championships) and they did for us again. After 11 of the 16 boards they were leading by 35 IMPs to nil, but a late rally saw us recover a bit to a 15-43 loss. That was only 3.58 VPs, but better than it might have been and we were now lying third.
Mark Horton, the editor of the Daily Bulletin, and a man who knows about such things, had written that Poland and France were the two favourites for the Seniors' title. As luck would have it, our next opponents were France, the reigning European Champions. We had beaten them narrowly in Dublin and we did so again - a fine performance after the defeat by Poland. The score was 22-7 (with ten flat boards), 13.97 in VPs, and we were back up to second.
After that we had to wait awhile for the computer to do it's work and tell us that our first opponents on Tuesday morning would be Sweden.
What do Croatia, Switzerland and Germany have in common? Well, many things, I am sure, but the one I am thinking about is their name for their country, and how completely different it is from what other people call it. The Croatians call their country Hrvatska. Similarly Helvetica / Switzerland and Deutschland / Germany (and Allemande, of course). Any others?