Saturday, 28 June 2008

Pau - England Women finish 8th

Womens team in Pau.

.................Click on picture to enlarge. Left to Right: Rob Cliffe (Coach), Heather Dhondy, Catherine Draper, Anne Rosen, Catherine Jagger, Sarah Teshome, Nevena Senior, Alan Mould (Captain)

The England Women's team finished their campaign in 8th place, missing out on qualifying for the World Championship for which they needed a top six finish. A total of 52 VP's from the three matches yesterday would have been enough, sadly that could only manage 43 VPs. Their final three results were 15 - 15 against Finland, 20 - 10 against Greece and 12 - 18 against Italy.


  1. David why do you think England has performed so badly in these championships? Were our players all there on merit or did the teams include sponsors?

  2. Steve Eginton, Chairman of selectors, has sent me this response:-

    Have they performed that badly? Certainly we hoped for better, but there are a lot of positives to be taken.

    The open team was in contention early on in the final and if we are realistic, the open event is one of the strongest events in the world. We won it nearly 20 years ago, but the number of competitive teams has increased hugely since the collapse of the Eastern block (where bridge was actively discouraged in almost all the countries except Poland). Of course our final position was disappointing, but Holland-Armstrong, who struggled in their first European as a pair two years ago, were the 2nd placed pair in the final week Butler behind Lindqvist-Brogeland, playing the largest number of boards - a great achievement.

    Our Seniors' team were no doubt as dissappointed as everyone to lose the split tie that would have got us into the World Championship, especially as a medal looked well on the cards from the start. But it was still, by far, the best performance by a British team in this series, and they have earned
    their place in the coming Olympiad, in my view.

    We are used to our women qualifying for the Venice, but having lost our two "banker" partnerships, this year always looked a tough challenge, with four strong and established teams favourite to end above us. As it was, we fought for the places to the wire and our newest pair Rosen-Draper, have performed outstandingly in their first European adventure. In Senior-Dhondy we have two world class players, and doubtless the newness of their partnership affected their results somewhat, but I am sure that having rebuilt the team by 2010, we will be able to reclaim our World Championship place, particularly as we have a few potential pairs coming through to add depth to the squad, and hopefully Nicola Smith may have returned to contention by then as well.

    We must realise, though, that the days when only half a dozen countries were competitive is long gone. The remarkable fact that not a single country won two medals is proof of that, is it not?

    Being a team's patron and being there "on merit" is most certainly not mutually exclusive, which appears to be what you imply. Of the six pairs that were competing for us in the open and women's teams, I believe that only one partnership have a commercial arrangement, and that pair qualified as of right. Most of the Seniors' team qualified,
    by winning the trial event, although a drop out from the original 6 was replaced. The Seniors are not funded by the EBU, so their arrangements are mostly between themselves, although we obviously do our best to ensure that the best team possible is sent. Please also bear in mind, that at least 4 of the top six teams in the open series have commercial arrangements, and that there is scarcely an American team in the last 30 years that wasn't operating in a client-professional basis. It doesn't seem to have caused them to underperform does it?