The day started with England in first place, 5.2 VPs ahead of Sweden. A marvellous 73-11 win over Bulgaria (20-0 in VPs) more than settled the nerves and increased our lead to 10.01 VPs.
The next match was the big one - against Sweden. We were on VuGraph and chief commentator Barry Rigal declared himself impressed with some of the bids and plays made by John Holland and Gunnar Hallberg (who is Swedish by birth, of course). The result was 41-21, 15.00 in VPs and that meant we were 20.01 ahead of Sweden, who were still in second place, and we had therefore won the event with a match to spare! Brilliant! But wait ... there was a ruling by the director about an explanation at one of the tables. We lost 1 IMP and our VPs went down to 14.80, so we were no longer a match clear of the field. Slightly deflated, with the celebrations on hold, the troops went back to the table to finish the job. We beat Norway 25-24 (10.31 VPs) and this time there was no doubt. England were the European Senior Champions!
The closing ceremony was for the seniors only ... we were given the Roudinesco trophy (ours to hold for two years), some individual trophies and some lovely medals. They may not be made of Gold, but mine is worth its weight in gold to me. We sang 'God save the Queen' lustily, and in a variety of keys, making it the only time the team were not in harmony. The organisers sprang a surprise by playing a second verse, but we took it in our stride.
Congratulations to Paul Hackett, David Mossop, David Price, Colin Simpson, John Holland and Gunnar Hallberg. You were brilliant, guys, and it was an honour for me to part of the team.
My thanks again to Roger O'Shea and Pharon; without his support I would not have been here.
And now the focus switches to the England Open and Women's teams. They both have a good chance of a medal and I hope that the performance of the England Seniors will inspire them to great things.