Thursday, 23 January 2014

Lady Milne Trials

The Lady Milne trials are being held at Richmond Bridge Club on January 24-26. 

21 pairs have entered and they will play a complete round-robin of five-board matches (with one sit-out).
The top three pairs will be invited to represent England in the Lady Milne in Ireland on April 11-13. As with the Camrose, the home nation will have two teams. England are the defending champions.

The Lady Milne started in in 1934 as the Ladies Championship of the National Bridge Association. (Lady Milne was assistant secretary to the NBA.)  It became the trophy for the Ladies Home Internationals in 1950. So far England have won 48 times (including one tie with Scotland in 2011), Scotland 12 times (including one tie), Wales three times and Northern Ireland twice. The Republic of Ireland rejoined the event in 1998. 

Two of our multiple world champions, Sally Brock and Heather Dhondy, are taking part. Sally is partnering Susanna Gross, with whom she has qualified three times, winning the Lady Milne on each occasion. Heather is playing in a new partnership with Sarah Dunn. Last year’s three winning pairs are all playing again: Gillian Fawcett & Jane Moore, Lizzie Godfrey & Pauline Cohen, as well as Brock & Gross. Former German international Barbara Hackett, wife of Justin Hackett, is playing in the trials for the first time, partnering 2011 Lady Milne winner Dinah Caplan.

Heather Dhondy holds the record for Lady Milne wins - 13, ahead of Nicola Smith (not playing this year) with 12. Of those who are playing in the trials, Sally Brock has seven wins and Sarah Teshome and Gillian Fawcett have six each.

At the other end of the scale there are some Trial debutantes, who will be playing with screens for the first time. We wish them, and all the competitors, good luck.

Thursday, 9 January 2014

2014 Camrose - First weekend

January is a busy month for International Bridge, starting with the trials for the Senior team for the European Championships, which took place last weekend, and ending with the Women’s Lady Milne trials at the end of the month.

In between the focus switches to the Open team and the 2014 Camrose.  The first weekend is being played in deepest mid-Wales, in Llandrindod Wells, the scene of Wales’ only Camrose victory, in 2011.  England will be hosting the second weekend in easily-accessible Manchester in March.

The two English teams each includes a married couple playing together as a partnership, a comparative rarity.  England has Nevena and Brian Senior, the EBU team has Catherine Curtis and Paul Fegarty.  John Holland played two Camrose matches with Michelle Brunner after they were married (and two before).  Before that you have to go back (I think) to Jane and Tony Priday in the ‘70s.  Frances Hinden and Jeffrey Allerton have played together for England in the recent past, but not as a pair.  They are both playing for the EBU team this year, but not on the same weekend.

The two English teams play each other on Friday night (and I do mean night - the match is scheduled to finish at 23:35).  You can follow that match impartially on BBO, and after that you can support both teams independently and vociferously for the rest of the weekend.