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The A Team Captain's Blog 24=9th March, 2019
Captain’s Blog 30 March 2019
On the night when, as a country, we were supposed to leave the EU (29 March), the main thing on our minds was whether we were remainers or leavers in/from Division 3. This was our last match of the season.
Particular thanks are due to Sue and Nils Blythe for stepping in at short notice and overcoming adversity in taking a bit of a detour in getting to Bourne End (please don’t ask).
At half-time the Indicative vote was 32-30 in our favour.
I think our team has a never say die approach and has been stimulated by being significantly behind in several matches this season only to finish up winning heavily in the second half. Clearly, we can’t cope with being ahead at half-tine because almost everything went against us in the second half which we lost 8-48 (a difference of -40). This translates to result of the match being Bourne End C 15 TTSoB A 5.
To maintain the analogy, the meaningful vote went against us!
With just a few matches remaining in Division 3 it appears that we are most likely to finish mid-table so we will not be leavers to Division 2 nor will we be leavers to Division 4, we will be remainers in Division 3. Just like every single aspect of Brexit we are completely split down the middle! We can’t even appeal to John Bercow for another vote on the same subject!
Given that we were only promoted to Division 3 this season, had you asked me early on where we would finish I would have said roughly halfway would be a good result. We live to fight another day.
A massive thank you to everyone who has contributed to the team. These matches have been great fun and, as far as I am concerned, all played in a great spirit, competitive but friendly at the same time.
I will provide a brief update when the final league positions are known.
The A Team Captain's Blog 24th March, 2019
I am sure that in these days of political correctness it would be less than advisable to use the expression ‘it’s not over until the fat lady sings’. As a consequence, I won’t use it, but from my report maybe you will realise why I mention it.
For Monty Python fans, I should mention that when reviewing the score at half-time we had a serious feeling of déjà vu as we were 26 IMPS behind our opponents, South Bucks A. This was identical to the situation in our last match.
Once again, the team put on a tremendous performance in the second half which we won by 52 IMPS (a new record I think). This meant that the match score was 14-6 in our favour.
This has elevated us to 4th place in Division 3 which is quite remarkable give that it is our first year in the division.
Congratulations to everyone who played.
Only one match left now and everything to play for!!
THE A TEAM'S Captain’s Blog update 18 February 2018
I feel I should start this update with a somewhat sensational headline:
TTSOB-A team snatches victory from the jaws of defeat with remarkable reversal of fortunes!!
On an unusual Valentine’s Day for all concerned, the A team entertained a team called Bradshws B at Flackwell Heath Golf Golf in our latest encounter in Division 3 of the Berks and Bucks League of Eight.
When I last looked at the league positions before the match we were lying 6th out of 9 and Bradshaws were 7th. However, when I went to ent enter the result from this match I notice that Bradshaws had registered wins against Amersham B and Bourne End B both higher in the table. Being based at Earley (towards Reading) the opposition had a fair journey but managed to break with a meal at a pub in Bourne End.
Given our close league positions, we were expecting a close encounter with this team. It was, therefore, something of a surprise to add up the scores at half-time to find we were 26 IMPS behind. Had this situation persisted it would have been quite a significant loss.
I don’t know whether factors influencing the second half were the wine they enjoyed at the pub, the cakes provided by Flackwell Heath Golf Club (which were excellent), exhaustion or perhaps scintillating and exceptional play from the home team (which, of course, is what we would claim!). Anyway, we won the second half by the almost unheard of score of 47 IMPS thus clinching the match by 21 IMPS which translates to a 13 - 7 victory.
Some of the more extreme swings in scores appear to have been through judicious (or in some instances injudicious) use of the double card with every doubled position working in our favour. We made two doubled contracts and we put down (significantly) 3 doubled contracts and of these four of the contracts were vulnerable which exaggerated the impact.
We had a number of changes of personnel for this match due to a number of reasons so thanks are due to Ann Palmer and Neil Horley for stepping in at the last minute. Also, thanks to Marilyn Halton for playing in the immediate aftermath of a cataract operation.
Two matches remain with everything to play for.
The A Team Captain's Blog 22nd January, 2019
A very belated Happy New Year and apologies for a rather delayed blog. It has been a hectic time in so many respects.
On 22 November we played Maidenhead at home and we were expecting a tough match.
After a very tight first half where were down only 8 IMPS, we performed to our usual second half revival standard and won by 9 IMPS. The overall result therefore being a draw 10-10. I believe this is a very creditable result. There were 8 boards with swings in excess of 10 IMPS which to date is very high.
Maidenhead were a friendly club to play against and a draw seems a very fair result.
On 10 December we played Amersham Community Centre away. I live closer to the venue than any of the home team!! Amersham were second in the division so we were up against it.
After finding ourselves in the unusual situation of leading by 18 IMPS at half time, it looked as though the ‘game of two halves’ expression was going to come home to haunt us when the first three boards reported for the second
half wiped out our lead completely (and more). However, normal service was resumed and in the end we only lost the second half by 8 IMPS.
The net position translates to an overall win by 12-8, our first of the season!
Amersham have managed to maintain second place in the division as a consequence of this result and we moved to 5th having played exactly half of our matches. We believed we had everything to play for in the second half of the season as we seemed to be holding our own in the higher division.
On 21 January we played Lane End B away. Last season we played them twice (home and away) with knife-edge battles in both.
At half-time we were leading by 7 IMPS. With the last four hands to declare we were leading in total by 18 IMPS. Unfortunately, on the night we lost 30 IMPS on the last 4 hands.
This translated into a loss on VPs by 8-12.
This result puts us us in 6th place out of 9 and our remaining matches are against the three teams below us! However, just a cautionary point, I notice that South Bucks A are below us whereas South Bucks B are above us which looks a little odd and we may find that the strength of the opposition is not necessarily dictated by their position in the league!!
Thank you to everyone who played. Onwards and updwards!
Captain’s Blog 13 November 2018
It’s that time of year again. Oh, no it isn’t!…….Oh yes it is!……….
After last year’s triumph, coming second in Division 4, the A team are in the heady heights of Division 3 and we anticipate a challenging season. Our opponents include Amersham Community Centre B, Bourne End B & C, Lane End B, Maidenhead B, Bradshaws B and South Bucks A & B. We will play one match against each team with 4 away and 4 at home.
The A Team
As expected, our initiation into Division 3 proved challenging. Bourne End B appeared to be a strong side and forged a lead of 19 IMPS by half time.In the second half we stemmed the tide and only lost 4 IMPs. This translated to a match score of 6-14.
As usual, our thanks go to Marilyn and the team at Flackwell Heath Golf Club for accommodating us so well.
I should add that I have looked up the results from last season. Bourne End B were 4th out of 10 teams in Division 3 and from my conversation with their captain, Will , they have recruited a number of strong players for this season to bolster their A and B teams. In the circumstances we should not be disheartened by this result. As always, I am sure that we can all think of examples of where things might have gone differently, but that is bridge!!
We were down on IMPS 24-62 at half-time, a deficit of 38 IMPS. However, a reversal of fortunes in the second half changed things significantly and we won the second half 37-13. The final result was therefore TTSOB A 8 SBBC B 12.
One board swung the match where the SBBC pairs both bid and made slam whereas our pairs made the tricks for slam but only bid game.
Maybe home advantage wore off in the second half or perhaps we were stimulated by the chocolate brownies and the lemon drizzle cake at half-time (some people had both, but I am not admitting if it was me!).
Many thanks to Neil Horley for stepping in as a late substitute.
The B Team - - 28th March, 2019
Yesterday evening we played our final match of the 2018-2019 League of Eight season, at the rather impressive Phyllis Court Club, on the banks of the river Thames in Henley.
Phyliis Court lay second in the League before the game, and needed pretty much a repeat of the 20-0 whitewash they inflicted on us in the first leg to be crowned division 4 champions.
At half time we were 57 IMPs down, and this looked very much on the cards. However another strong second half rally saw us limit the overall damage to 63 IMPs, translating into an 18-2 win for our opponents. Rather agonisingly for Phyllis Court, this left them one point short of the title, Stoke Mandeville taking top spot. Rather agonisingly for us, SBBC B crushed a hitherto very strong Chalfont B 17-3 in their latest fixture, leaving us with this year’s wooden spoon.
So a slight end-of-season disappointment, but a fascinating year’s bridge. My thanks to all who have turned out on cold winter evenings over the last few months, it’s been a pleasure playing with you all. Have a great spring and summer, and I’m sure I’ll continue to see you all down at Tessa’s.
The B Team - 22nd January, 2019
I have good news to report - since the last blog, the B team has won its first game of the season. A hard-fought 13-7 success against South Bucks ‘C’, in a match which swung first to our opponents, then back to us. We continue to avoid the relegation spot in division 4 (not that there is a division 5!)
More recently we played our first return fixture, against high-flying Stoke Mandeville ‘B’, and confirmed the improvement I see in the team’s performance game to game by bettering our score from earlier in the season. We eventually lost 13-7, but gave our more illustrious opponents a good match.
Our next fixture, winter permitting, is the away game against South Bucks, when I’m sure our closest opponents will be looking to exchange positions with us. Fortunately the weak link (the team captain) is unable to play in that one. So there is every chance of success :-).
Everyone seems to be enjoying their bridge, which is very much the name of the game.
The B team has played three matches to date, two away and one at home.
All three have been against teams new to the League – Chalfont B and Stoke Mandeville B are newly-formed, and Phyllis Court A transferred to Bucks and Berks from the Chiltern League.
New teams traditionally start in the lowest division and find their level by playing games. All three teams played so far proved strong and look to be upwardly-mobile. The B team is yet to win a game, but the energy and enthusiasm of its gratifyingly-large group of players remains undimmed. Every pair has played at least once so far, and the experience and learning gained will be invaluable, both back at the club and in the remainder of the season.
med. Every pair has played at least once so far, and the experience and learning gained will be invaluable, both back at the club and in the remainder of the season.
The B team remain in Division 4, where there are a number of new entrants. Their opponents are Stoke Mandeville B, Chalfont B, Phyllis Court A and South Bucks C. They will play one home fixture and one away fixture against each team. The withdrawal of some of the other teams which the B team played last year led to the division reducing in size overall, despite the new entrants.
Yesterday evening, we played our second match against South Bucks B, the team that pipped us to the Division 4 title lat year and turned out to be a classic game of two halves.