Michael Byrne, NPC of the Under 20s
Today was a better day, but still tough.
We started against Hungary, one pair was ok the other pair were beginners. However there were two honourable flat boards:
Laura/Stephen did nicely to bid these cards to 6C (7S was attempted by at least one pair in the junior series) and Stephen remembered his card combinations and ran the 10, guarding against a small singleton offside (slightly more likely than singleton jack or queen)
This was well bid to 6C on a controlled auction. (This time England U25s rolled in a rather dodgy 7C!)
The rest of the set was one way traffic and we won by 56 imps.
Match two was tough against France (who are leading), we led with 5 boards to go but then crashed and burned and lost by 36.
The final match of the day was a missed opportunity, we had a great chance to beat the Dutch (currently in 2nd place) but we made the wrong lead against a doubled game which cost 24 imps, turning a win by
14 imps into a 10 imp loss.
We face mid-table Czech Republic tomorrow, and will need a win in order to start our comeback!
Alan Shillitoe, NPC of the Under 25s
Wow! What a start!
After two days the U25 team lie top of the standings. Things have gone almost as well, letting a lead against Turkey (a better side than their position suggests) slip aside, as one might have dreamed. We started with confident wins against Bulgaria and Portugal before a distinctly sub-par France offered us a generous score. Today we began with a professional performance against Finland before a 1IMP loss to the Turks. The team rebounded with a near maximum against a weak Austrian team to regain top spot after the Finns surprisingly reversed the Swedes.
Tomorrow are the bottom-placed Welsh in the only match of the day.
Things will then get tougher and we will then play most of the top contenders over the next three days. Form and confidence are big things and at the moment the group has them. Fingers crossed...
Tromso itself is located in a staggeringly beautiful setting. It is mostly on an island in the middle of a fjord off the Arctic Ocean with steep sided mountains rising to over 1000m to either side. In this calm mid-summer weather it has an incredibly peaceful quality feeling like a isolated beacon of civilisation on the edge of the world. It's a privilege to come and visit such an amazing place.