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.