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It has been a while since I posted an update. The last few months have been very hectic. On the bridge playing front, I've had a very successful Autumn, winning the Viking Teams, Adamson Trophy, coming second in the Rayne final and 3rd in the Edwin Berry teams. Unfortunately, my National League team narrowly missed out on promotion to the top division, being pipped for 2nd in the last match. Last weekend, Sandra and I attended the last ever Peebles Congress, a grand event with top players from all over the country and abroad. We were lucky enough to team up with our daughter Yvonne and her multiple world ladies champion partner, Nicola Smith and I'm relieved to say we held our end up well enough to finish 7th in the opening teams event, followed by 6th (out of 58) in the main 3 session Swiss Teams.
There have also been other notable Ayrshire successes with Eddie McGeough and Angela Knox retaining the Bowman Trophy and Stewart Duguid/Ian Burn winning the Lord Thomson Trophy - well done all.
Our District Swiss Pairs just over a week ago was a well supported success and it is nice to hear people commenting about the friendly atmosphere at our events - something which I have been very keen to promote.
Council has been busy as always. We have found a new member to take on the task of premises maintenance and welcome John Dick to the fold in the New Year. Most of you will now have had a chance to sample the new air conditioning at the centre - this has not been totally without some teething problems, the main issue being trying to heat the 2 rooms independently of each other as they have different dynamics. Hopefully, as we get to know the system better, this will not be an issue for long. I think there will be a more noticeable benefit in the summer months, when we can properly cool the place down.
We have had to remind some centre based clubs who give complimentary tea and coffee to their members that the ABU does not provide for free milk and other ingredients and that this expense must be borne by the clubs themselves. I am however, pleased to report that the ABU accounts are in a healthy state, even with the reduction in table money, which took effect in September. We have some of the cheapest table money in Scotland and the Council think it is more than reasonable that drinks etc are paid for by those who consume them.
One issue that I shall be investigating is the possibility of clubs contributing more to the dealing of their own boards. In David Sands, we have a trojan, who is very happy to come to the centre early and keep our boards up to date. A recent stay in hospital revealed how vulnerable we are without him. Some weeks with league matches, up to 11 or more new sets are used and it is a time consuming task keeping them properly dealt. It may involve training one or two more people from clubs to use the dealing machine or even asking clubs to contribute to the expense/time involved by those doing the work, but I am keen that we don't leave ourselves too exposed.
Numbers attending our clubs have been holding up very well. Kilwinning BC has been transformed, remarkable considering how close they were to folding just a couple of years ago - well done them. Our afternoon clubs also continue to flourish and last month we held two viable semi finals of the Ayrshire Pairs. This has resulted in a 10 table final in the New Year, something which has not happened for quite a while.
That just leaves me enough space to wish everybody an enjoyable Christmas. A chance to relax and recharge the batteries ready for the friendly competition and good bridge that hopefully awaits us in 2020.
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A tribute to Sam from longstanding team mate Stuart McCreadie.
Sam who sadly died last week had been active in Ayrshire and Scottish bridge for over 45 years. He contributed much over the years. He learned the basics of bridge from his father and improved his bridge skills in the early seventies in the bridge four of Ian Dalziel, Jean Cunningham and Kate Lawrence – later to become his wife. Sam and Kate joined Beith Bridge Club where their bridge mentors were Bill and Peggy Anderson. When Beith withdrew from the league a few years later, they joined Kilwinning Bridge Club where they were stalwarts in the league team ever since.
Sam played with quite a number of partners over the years, and all would testify myself included, that he was easy to play with – as demonstrated by the number of individual tournaments he won. The only partner with whom he might have heated exchanges at the bridge table was Kate - it would be discreet not to give your opinion as to who was right!
Sam would probably agree that his favourite form of bridge was teams of four over 24 to 48 boards, and Sam really enjoyed matches in the Scottish Cup, Gold Cup, and Ayrshire Cup. When his team travelled home after a match he would enjoy “chewing the fat” – especially if the team had won.
Sam won most of the competitions and trophies in Scottish Bridge and nearly all the Ayrshire trophies. The main one to escape him was the Scottish Cup, and that was perhaps because the rest of the team was not quite up to his standard! He represented Scotland in the Senior Camrose in 2008, the following year was NPC, and this year was a member of the SBU Senior Camrose team.
He was an excellent card player – indeed there was no weakness in his game. Probably what singled him out from other Ayrshire players was his ability to know instinctively what was going on at the table.
Apart from Kate, he had successful partnerships with Gordon Smith, Jack Lowe, John Dick and David Gerrard. But he was happy to play with anyone and was well known in all the Ayrshire clubs and a member of quite a few.
He contributed in other ways too. He helped and contributed to the establishment of the Prestwick Bridge Centre in 1978-79; he was ABU president in 2008-09; he was works convener for the Centre for several years; he taught and introduced newcomers to the game. He was involved with teaching youngsters and especially impressed them with the magic tricks he demonstrated. His magic was not confined to the bridge table.
In recent years he had continuing health problems. But despite illness he would not be prevented from playing bridge. And a couple of days before his demise, he played in the Scottish Swiss Pairs in Ayr finishing a creditable 3rd with Kate. It was great to see him happy and discussing the hands animatedly. Indeed the Master Points won that day re-established his pace in Scotland’s top 50.
The Ayrshire Bridge scene will not be the same without Sam. He will be missed.
PW Summer Competition Information
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The Pollok Williamson Summer Competition will run on 18 Wednesdays from 1 May to 28 August.
Play will commence at 7pm and players are asked to be seated by 6.55pm. Table money will be £3.
The average of a player's best 12 scores will determine the overall rankings.
A handicap competition will run alongside the main competition. Everybody will be allocated a handicap this year and will be eligible to win a weekly handicap prize, but winners will have their handicap reduced by 2 and 2nd place reduced by 1 for the weeks following. Where 2 players in a partnership have different handicaps, their average will be used. A player's handicap cannot be reduced below zero.
A list of everyone's handicap will be posted on the centre noticeboard. These have been compiled by a sub-committee of D Wiseman, E McGeough and J Burn and have been based mainly on last year's results, but also taking into account each player's current ability. If anyone is particularly unhappy with their own handicap, please consult with one of the aforementioned. Players not on the original list are as welcome as everybody else and will be allocated a handicap when they first play.
Weekly prizes will be awarded to the top 2 positions in both the main competition and the handicap competition. A third prize may be awarded if there are sufficient tables.
Pollok Williamson has very kindly again pledged £600 of prize money for the overall plus handicap winners and places. The sponsor wishes to encourage less experienced players, thus anyone with a starting handicap of zero will not be eligible for an end of season handicap prize.
The end of season handicap prizes will be determined by the handicap issued at the start of the season and are not subject to weekly reductions.
There is no hosting system in place this year, but members are encouraged to post partner requests on the ABU website.
There will be a rota for the Movements Director, the Rules Director and the Scorer, who will each receive free table money. This is not restricted to Council members and other competent persons are encouraged to volunteer for these roles in order to share the workload.
In order to try and keep the speed of play up, previous results will not be displayed on the Bridgemates, only the percentage obtained. The Big Time clock will be used where possible, so that moves can be called on time rather than waiting for the slowest table to finish.
The competition is always keenly contested, but the Chairman and Council are very keen for this event to be played in as friendly a spirit as possible and will treat any bad, intimidatory or rude behaviour appropriately.
Wishing everybody an enjoyable competition and if you have never played in this before, why not give it a go.
Thank You From Kate Malkani
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