League of Eight 2017/18
For the first time, Tessa has two teams competing in the Berks and Bucks League of Eight Division 4 in the 2017/18 season. To avoid confusion, the teams are rather cunningly described as the ‘TTSoB A Team’ and the ‘TTSoB B Team’!
The other teams in our Division are, in alphabetical order, Gerrards Cross B, Lane End B, SBBC (South Bucks) B and SBBC (South Bucks) C.
Each team plays all of the other teams on a home and away basis, so both teams will have ten matches this season. The title of the League stems from the format which means for every match a team has eight players (four pairs). Home games for both the A and B teams are played at Flackwell Heath Golf Club which is a magnificent venue and all administration is carried out by Marilyn Halton for which we are extremely grateful.
For each match 20 League points are available so these can be split 20-0, 19-1, 18-2 and so on.
Tessa used her powers of persuasion to encourage Sue Chamberlain and me to ‘volunteer’ to be captains of the B Team and the A Team respectively. I hasten to add that no money changed hands, nor was any physical violence employed.
Updates on progress will be provided below.
Update 20 February 2018
For those of you enjoying the adrenalin rush of watching the thrills and spills of the Winter Olympics and wondering what might take its place once the event is over, look no further than the climax of a highly competitive season in Division 4 of the Berks and Bucks League of Eight!!
Our own teams have been involved in the core of the action and the results may be influential in the final outcome. Our B team faced the daunting prospect of meeting the two league leaders in consecutive matches.
A week ago, our B team, impacted by holidays and drawing on two pairs new to team bridge, had the challenge of battling a clearly full strength SBBC-B team. No surprise perhaps that experience told and SBBC-B managed to record a 20-0 victory.
Unperturbed by the experience, and perhaps even invigorated by it, the B team then fielded the same team against our own A team. The match was hard fought and although the A team forged a 24 IMP lead at half-time, digging deep, the B team stemmed the tide and restricted the A team to only 10 IMPS in the second half. Both teams can take positive messages from this match - it is great to see more players enjoying the experience of playing league bridge in the B team (this is the breeding ground for our bridge starts of the future) and for the A team, the victory ensures that we are still in touch with the now league leaders. With only three matches left and the division title remains open. The A team does have a healthy, but not insurmountable margin over Lane End-B in third place - no room for complacency!
A few stalwarts had attended the Andrew Robson seminar in the afternoon (which was truly excellent) as well as playing in the evening and one of our new pairs, Monica and Caroline, admitted using some of Andrew’s hints very successfully in the match - Bev and I can confirm that is not a hollow claim - we were on the receiving end of one of their newly learned techniques.
It is interesting to note that SBBC-B have won 5 drawn 1 and lost 1 whereas our A team has won 6 and lost 1 (just 12-8 to SBBC-B). However, SBBC-B have had two scores of 20 and one of 18 which has created the small gap they have opened up.
I hope you have found this informative and I shall endeavour to keep you updated as the season draws to a close.
Captain’s Blog - Update 6 February 2018
The new year has seen a rush of activity in Division 4 of the Berks and Bucks League of Eight. Our own B team suffered a reverse away to SBBC-C with the score 15-5 to their opponents. Having said that they remain ahead of that team in the league.
The A team have had two very exciting matches. On 30 January we played away to SBBC-C and at half-time we trailed by 20 IMPs which is quite a big margin. However, a stunning second half display not only reversed the trend, but provided sufficient by way of points to turn the match into a 13-7 victory. There is an old football adage about a game of two halves and that certainly held true for us on this occasion. Maybe it was the chocolate biscuits that made the difference?
That win was though overshadowed by the result last night at home to Gerrards Cross-B. At half-time on this occasion we led by 28 IMPs which gave us considerable encouragement, but we realised there was no place for complacency and we could not rest on our laurels. The good performance continued and the second half was won by 25 IMPs providing an overall match result of 17-3.
The combination of these results means that after both teams have completed 6 matches we are tied in first place in the division with SBBC-B. Both teams have 79 league points. In third are Lane End-B who have also played 6 matches, but are a reasonable distance behind the leaders with only 65 league points.
It feels as though we are turning into the finishing straight, but there are still four matches to play. The level of competition is fierce, but the league matches are fun to play in as long as you don’t mind getting home a bit late.
If you are sitting on the edge of your seat waiting for the next update, gripped by anticipation of what is going to happen, you can keep ahead of the game by watching the Berks and Bucks Bridge website. Follow the tab that says ‘League of Eight’ and then look at Division 4.
More news soon.
6 December 2017
At virtually the halfway point of the season, all teams in the League have completed 4 or 5 matches.
The A Team are currently tying for first place with SBBC-B having won their first three matches in a row and lost one (only by a small margin!), but Lane End B are close behind. From a captain’s perspective, the most interesting match was the one against SBBC C when we had to make some late team changes. We are very grateful to ‘super subs’ Neil Horley (who played with David Hawkins) and Ian Jacklin (who played with me). They both stepped in to save the day and we carried off a 12-8 victory.
The B Team have won 2 matches and lost 3 and are currently fifth closely behind Gerrards Cross B. The highlight of their season so far was an 18-2 victory over Gerrards Cross B which Neil Horley has described as the equivalent of Huddersfield Town beating Manchester United 6-0!!
The captains of the teams can be called upon to act as Director if no qualified Director is available. This can be quite daunting, but fortunately doesn’t arise very often. The most amusing event so far was when Neil Horley was sitting in as captain for Sue and had to call himself as Director after he had revoked!! He gave himself a suitable penalty much to the amusement of the opposition (but not necessarily his partner).
The current position is very encouraging and there is everything to play for. Watch this space for further updates on progress. It would be tempting to suggest that supporters should be encouraged at these matches, but I am not sure a Barmy Army in fancy dress singing out of tune and booing the opposition quite meets the new Best Behaviour rules recently updated by the EBU.