Well, the new season is now well under way and it has been a hectic couple of months since the last report. There were over 50 people at the Chairman v Vice Chairman afternoon a week ago. Prizes from the summer competitions were handed out and a cheque for £720 was handed over to "Friends of The Ayrshire Hospice". A pleasant afternoon of friendly bridge was followed by a tasty spread. I hope everyone that attended had an enjoyable afternoon. Particular thanks to Alison Hughes for her hard work in organising this.

The previous day, there were around 50 people attending the first of this season's improver Friday sessions, revolving around weak 2 bids. Again, a successful afternoon. Thanks to Maureen for generating the numbers for this.

The Council held a meeting on Saturday. The main discussion revolved around the slightly thorny issue of the cost of board dealing. The ABU has already spent £600 this financial year, a huge amount that I am determined to reduce. I have 8 volunteers so far willing to deal some boards for the centre based clubs on a regular basis for free. Kilwinning BC have already agreed to make up boards for themselves now and we are more than happy for them to use the ABU dealing machine. This immediately saves the ABU c.£130 p.a. A member each from Doon and Afton have offered to deal their own set before the club meets, which leaves around 6-8 sets per week for the other clubs and leagues etc. I am hopeful that my team of volunteers can cope comfortably with this task, which will be on a trial basis initially. If successful, this will potentially save another £1,000 to £1,200 p.a, money which I am sure can be put to good use for everybodys' benefit. Bigger events such as the Swiss Pairs or congresses need considerable time preparing for, so dealing for these will continue to be paid at the previous rate of £3 per set.

Sadly, our 2 existing paid dealers have decided not to come with us on this new journey. Margaret Little resigned from the Council about a month ago and Alison Tudor resigned at the end of the meeting. I would like to thank them for their work on the Council. 

Another saving is being made at the Winter Friday competition. With us no longer having a dedicated host and me being able to direct and play most weeks, there will be no need for a director fee. This should save us about another £600 or so over the winter.

Our premises manager, Charlie Rennie has been busy looking into the possibility of another fridge. However, it seem that all fridges of the type that we have at the centre generate a fair amount of noise. We discussed the possibility of installing a water cooler and having a smaller fridge in the kitchen, but in the end rejected this idea, as the kitchen is already quite cramped, so will carry on with the existing appliance for now.

The Council also talked about the discourteous parking in the centre car park. It seems to have become the norm for certain drivers to park at the front entrance, thus narrowing the gap for other cars to get in, even when there are still numerous spaces further in. We agreed that we need to try to encourage more considerate parking as many people tend to ignore notices. Hopefully, all members will try to help out with this by having a gentle word with those who are not parking appropriately.

It has been an exciting time for me bridgewise. I played in the Adamson Cup for the first time, representing Riggs BC with Eddie McGeough and the two Presidents managed to win on the last board by bidding to a good 6NT against the 2nd placed pair, Jim and Alison Tudor. Yesterday, the winners went head to head in the Quarter Final of the Scottish Cup in Dundee. Pleased to say that my team (McGinley) beat Eddie's mostly Aberdeen quartet by 52 IMPs, so a first ever semi-final for me awaits.

This all pales into insignificance of course when compared to the achievement of my daughter, who now has a silver medal at World level! The Wiseman family is very proud and I hope Ayrshire members generally are pleased to see that one of their own has progressed so far.

Back to local events, congratulations to Agnes Lamont and Margaret Little, who have won the Ronnie Alexander Bronze Pairs for the third time.

We are now approaching a particularly busy few weeks of bridge, with many local and national competitions in the diary. The Ayrshire Pairs heats are prominent this month - I must say that I was very disappointed to hear that one of our Council members was quoted a visitor fee of £5 (on top of table money) in order to play in the Savoy BC heat. This does not seem to be in the spirit of the competition at all.

Anyway, whichever events you decide to partake in, I wish you every success and hope to play against many of you along the way.