Abbeygate Bridge Club
Nowton Court Village, Nowton Road, Bury St Edmunds IP29 5LU
Suffolk AGM Pairs

The Suffolk Bridge AGM will be held at the Blackbourne Community Centre, Blackbourne Road, Elmswell IP30 9UH on Sunday May 12 at 2.00pm.

The AGM (usually quite short!) will be followed by the AGM Pairs and tea. The AGM is, of course, free to SCBA members (all Abbeygate members are automatically members of SCBA). If you plan to stay for the Bridge and Tea, it's just £5 per head, highly recommended and excellent value. Please click on AGM Pairs Entry Form to enter, or Suffolk for the County website

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News Archive

This page has information and news of interest to the members. For a full list of forthcoming events, see "Calendar" on the menu and for a list of results see "Results".

RealBridge information


If you are unfamiliar with RealBridge please ensure that you have read the Player Guide before you log in:

You can test your microphone and camera here:

The RealBridge Room will be open from 6.30 pm on Monday.   Please log in no later than 6.50 pm.
After clicking on the link please fill in your forename and surname, e.g. Ian Jones (not I. Jones or Ian J), and ID number (which is your EBU number).  Once you have logged in please sit at a table with your partner and chat to them and your opponents while you are waiting for the start.

If you require any further information regarding the event please contact Tim Evans:

Last updated : 8th Nov 2022 16:20 GMT
Learn to play bridge at Abbeygate
Last updated : 10th May 2023 10:22 BST
Hospice Bridge
Mo and Terry

The Hospice Bridge Tea on Friday 21st April raised over £2,000 for St Nicholas Hospice Care. Players enjoyed an excellent tea and an afternoon of duplicate bridge at the Blackbourne Centre in Elmswell. 

Congratulations to Carol Smith and Ivor Thulborn, winners East-West in their section in their first tournament since starting to play bridge as complete beginners last year. Overall winners were Mo and Terry. Nick and Jane Foster tied for second place with Celia and Elizabeth, just a whisker ahead of Caroline Harris and Sam Pickering. Jonathan and Paddy topped their section North-South. Click here to see the full results and boards

Many thanks to all who worked hard to make the day a success, especially Anne and the catering team, also to Stansfield Bridge Club and Cavendish Bridge Club for the loan of Bridgemates and bidding boxes


Last updated : 20th Oct 2023 19:03 BST
Wednesday Relaxed Duplicate returns at Nowton Court

Members and visitors gathered at Nowton Court on Wednesday 5th April for an enjoyable evening of relaxed duplicate, with a glass of wine on offer to celebrate the return of this popular session. After a short presentation on Red Suit Transfers by Nancy, players settled down to seven rounds of bridge, with members on hand to assist with tricky bidding problems.

Congratulations to Jackie and Jane who topped the ranking with a creditable 62%. Chris and Laila were joint second with Celia and Elizabeth

Duplicate sessions will run every Wednesday evening, 6:30 for 6:45pm start. All members will be welcome to enjoy the sociable atmosphere and a relaxed pace of play. Results and boards will be available on the website, scroll down to Results on the right of this screen to view.

Last updated : 20th Oct 2023 19:03 BST
Birthday Flowers for Celia

Celia discovered that some things are hard to keep quiet when Jonathan (directing) presented her with flowers on behalf of members in recognition of her big birthday last week

Celia started the tradition of Tuesday night bridge twenty years ago when she was teaching bridge at West Suffolk College and the club's home was Risbygate Sports Club. Many of her former students are current members and regular players at Abbeygate, and elsewhere in the county. 

Last year Celia was awarded Honorary Life Membership in recognition of her contribution to the club over the past two decades, click here to read more

Last updated : 20th Oct 2023 19:04 BST
Masters of Bridge..
George and Terry

Congratulations to Terry Sawers who received his Bridge Master certificate recently from the EBU on achieving 5000 Masterpoints. Terry has a way to go though before overtaking George Moody, who is an EBU Life Master, holding no fewer than 215,500 Masterpoints (as of last week, by this week it may be more!)

Masterpoints are a measure of lifetime achievement in bridge. Higher ranking players will usually have played for many years and competed successfully in county and national events. George has played card games since childhood and took up bridge in his thirties, going on to play in national competitions. He also played football until he was 59.


To find out more about Masterpoints, go to the EBU website, sign in with your EBU number and password and from the Home page select Gradings and Rankings. To see your own Masterpoint record, from My EBU select Masterpoints

Last updated : 20th Oct 2023 19:04 BST


 AUTUMN 2022


If you know of anyone wishing to take up bridge please ask them to email

Find out more about the Deben Project on Suffolk County Bridge Association website - click on DEBEN

Last updated : 20th Oct 2023 19:04 BST
Where can I play bridge in West Suffolk?

New members and guests are welcome at many West Suffolk bridge clubs. Click here to learn more


Last updated : 1st Nov 2023 07:42 GMT
Slam bidding for all..

Members had an entertaining and informative session bidding slams on Wednesday, with a brief presentation by Nancy on the topic followed by a 15 board duplicate with an unusually high proportion of biddable slam deals. Six full tables provided healthy competition with a fair proportion of the sometimes challenging slams actually bid and made

Next Wednesday 20th December will follow a similar format. Nancy will present a seminar on red suit transfers, with a duplicate to follow which will include a few preset boards relevant to the topic. All members will be welcome, 6:30pm start

Last updated : 20th Dec 2023 11:21 GMT
Honorary Life Membership for Celia

Celia Jeal has been awarded honorary life membership of Abbeygate Bridge Club in recognition of the outstanding contribution she has made to the club over many years

Celia started teaching bridge at West Suffolk College in 2000 and continues to teach online, as well as on cruise ships and on land. Many of us now playing at the club have been Celia’s students. At that time Risbygate Bridge Club, as it was then, met just once weekly on a Monday

Our popular Tuesday evening club duplicate was started 20 years ago by Celia and her then bridge partner the late Alex Parker, as a more relaxed event at which her students could play as they improved. This was so popular that Celia started an additional learn and play session on Wednesday evenings, which ran until 2020 and Covid.

As well as her teaching commitment Celia is actively involved in running the club as a committee member and regularly directing Monday Realbridge.

Without Celia’s contribution, Abbeygate Bridge Club would probably not exist as it is today, with its friendly and supportive atmosphere encouraging players of all standards, including those (most?) of us who are always striving to improve our game. Thank you Celia

Celia has written about her bridge teaching and the development of the club, click HERE to read

Last updated : 30th Dec 2023 23:45 GMT
Excellent turnout for the Hospice Bridge Tea despite the weather
Bridget (centre) with Rani and Mo

Storm Babet threatened to put paid to the much anticipated Hospice event last Friday, Luckily sufficient intrepid players were able to make it to the Blackbourne Centre to go ahead and 66 players enjoyed an afternoon of relaxed bridge and the usual terrific tea. Many thanks to Ann Gibbs and her team for the tea, and to the talented volunteers who provided hampers for raffle prizes from the many generous donations received.

Overall winners were Kathy and Rob, Paul and Christine were runners up and highest scoring E-W pair

Almost £2,000 was raised for St Nicholas Hospice, and the amount raised since the Hospice Bridge Teas started in 2011 is well in excess of £40,000

Last but not least, very special thanks to Bridget Alexander, whose extraordinary power of organisation drives the success of these events!

Last updated : 30th Dec 2023 23:47 GMT
Wednesday Duplicate gets a Makeover!

We would like to invite all Abbeygate members and guests to our new

Relaxed Club Duplicate

Wednesday 17th January, Nowton Court

Please note the slightly earlier start time of 6:30 for 6:45

Both Normal and Handicap Scoring, eligible for Masterpoints and NGS. Refreshments available all evening. No need to come with a partner - everyone who comes will be able to play

We hope to reboot Wednesday evening bridge this year to be an inclusive event for all Abbeygate members and visitors, whether beginners, improvers or established players, who would enjoy an evening of duplicate bridge at a relaxed pace in a sociable atmosphere. Please join us, and bring your friends!

Last updated : 19th Jan 2024 16:16 GMT
Hospice Bridge Friday October 20th 2023

Entries are now open for the next Bridge for Fun afternoon in support of St Nicholas Hospice Care, at the Blackbourne Centre in Elmswell

Please note the slightly earlier start time, to be seated to start play promptly at 1:30pm

Once again there will be an excellent tea, provided by the Bury Friends Group

Click here to download and print an entry form. Entry forms will also be available at local bridge clubs over the next few weeks. 

More information as always from Bridget: or 01284 749009

Last updated : 19th Jan 2024 16:17 GMT
Committee Meeting Minutes

We held an action packed committee meeting last week. Here are some highlights:

Slow play. This was raised at the AGM. The committee has agreed to buy a timer, to be deployed in the New Year

Scoring. We are currently a bit short of scorers. Any member who might be interested in learning to score please ask Tony, Christine or Jonathan or click here to send a message. It's easy!

There is a Club Teams of Four event to be held in March 2024 at Elmswell. So far we have three teams, please contact Tony or Pam if you would be interested in taking part. The more the merrier

Lighting. Nowton Court have supplied some temporary lighting in the Car Park, more lights are on order and there is still hope that the main lights might be repaired

Masterclass. Plans are afoot for a one day Masterclass exclusive to members at a discounted rate in 2024

Wednesday Duplicate. We hope to invite all members to play with Handicap Scoring, NGS and Masterpoints on some Wednesday evenings in 2024

The full minutes can be read by clicking here, or on Club Information on the main menu to the left of the screen

Last updated : 21st Jan 2024 16:23 GMT
Bury Swiss Pairs Sunday 4th February 2024

Bury Swiss Pairs is a popular annual event open to all players:

Where and When:

Blackbourne Community Centre, Elmswell IP30 9UH 10.30 start, two sessions, 30 min break.

BLUE POINTED – cash prizes, amount dependent on entry numbers. Click here for more information

£10 entry fee per person. Click SWISS to enter

Coffee, tea and soft drinks will be available all day, please bring your own packed lunch

We would welcome a volunteer pair to play at the the last minute if we have a half table. Bury encourages best behaviour at the table

Emergency number on the day: Patsi Barnes  07888 307552.

Last updated : 1st Feb 2024 22:25 GMT

The Annual General Meeting of Abbeygate Bridge Club was held at Nowton Court on Tuesday 14th November 2023. Thank you to all members who attended and contributed to the discussion. The minutes of the meeting (including the treasurer's report and financial statement) and chairman's report are now available on the club website under Club Information on the main menu, or follow the links below.

AGM Minutes 2023         Chairman's Report 2023

Both membership of the club and numbers playing have increased in the past twelve months, and our financial position is healthy. Members discussed the club's charitable activities and plans for future development, including an EBU director course to be hosted by the club in Spring 2024. The committee will be pleased to hear from any member who might be interested in training as scorer, director or teacher either now or in the future, or who would be interested in representing the club in competitions


Last updated : 5th Feb 2024 23:28 GMT
Promotion for Elizabeth and Jackie

Congratulations to Elizabeth Abercrombie-Barnett and Jackie Over who have received their Bridge Master certificates from the EBU. Masterpoints are a measure of lifetime achievement in bridge and the Bridge Master award, on achieving 5000 Masterpoints, is a significant milestone. Well done both.

Last updated : 5th Feb 2024 23:29 GMT
Christmas win for Joan and Susie

The last Tuesday Pairs before Christmas was party night, players enjoyed a glass of wine and appetisers before our usual duplicate. Congratulations to Joan and Susie who came top with an impressive score of 71%, and to John and Jackie in second place, the only pair to bid and make two slams. Many thanks to Terry and Mo for organising the party and supplying drinks, and to the many members who brought an impressive spread of tasty snacks

Last updated : 5th Feb 2024 23:30 GMT
Bid this! - More suggestions

North picked up this hand at our F2F club duplicate last Tuesday. How would you bid it? You can see the full deal on board 17 on Tuesday 23rd January

Here are bidding suggestions from Derek Brinkley, Susan Nisbett and Pauline Hanson

Pauline: "You can use 4NT opening bid. Opportunities to use it don’t crop up very often"

Susan: "I opened 2C & we play Jacoby steps so if partner can reply 2H (4-6) or better then I can use RKCB and bid 7NT if AH is opposite"

Derek: "Playing Benji ACOL, North opens 2C (19/20 balanced or minimum 8 playing tricks). Partner responds 2D as a relay. North then bids 4NT (RCKB) with last suit bid (i.e. Diamonds) and gets a reply of zero key cards from partner. At which point North bids 6D with only one losing trick. Had South shown 1 key card, then North can bid 7NT"

Thanks to Susan, Derek and Pauline for their excellent suggestions

Last updated : 16th Feb 2024 22:00 GMT
Relaxed Club Duplicate next Wednesday

All Abbeygate members and guests are warmly invited to our

Relaxed Club Duplicate

Wednesday 28th February, Nowton Court

Please be seated by 6:35 to start play at 6:45

Normal and Handicap Scoring, eligible for Masterpoints and NGS. Handicap scoring levels the playing field to some extent, and gives everyone the chance to shine
No need to come with a partner - everyone who comes will be able to play
If you would enjoy an evening of duplicate bridge at a relaxed pace in a sociable atmosphere, please join us, and bring your friends!

Last updated : 28th Feb 2024 23:32 GMT
Relaxed Duplicate Winners
Josh, Phil, Nancy and Nicki Phill and Sue

Well done to Phill and Sue, Nancy and Nicki, joint N-S winners in Wednesday's relaxed duplicate. Josh and Phil took top place E-W with a stunning 80%, a great achievement for a first time partnership

12 pairs completed 18 boards, with several novice players taking the pace in their stride and finishing in good time. Special congratulations to Nicki Griffy (pictured with Nancy, her partner on the night), who took top spot playing in her first club duplicate event

Last updated : 20th Mar 2024 19:56 GMT
Josh Clarke Masterclass

Our very own Josh Clarke, Abbeygate member since 2023, and former England U26 International Player, will be presenting a Masterclass free for club members. The topic will be ‘Finesse!’

Where: Nowton Court

When: Friday 22nd March 2024

Time: 1:45 for 2:00pm (4:00pm finish)

Come alone or with a partner, everyone will be able to play. Guests accompanied by Abbeygate members will be welcome. Josh will give a seminar followed by supervised play of preset hands 

Please sign up here (no charge) to give us an idea of numbers, or email

If you would have liked to attend but can’t make it this time, please click here to let us know. We look forward to seeing you for an entertaining afternoon of bridge instruction!

You can read more about Josh's bridge and teaching experience here

Last updated : 22nd Mar 2024 17:49 GMT
Relaxed Club Duplicate

All Abbeygate members and guests are warmly invited to our next

Relaxed Club Duplicate

Wednesday 27th March, Nowton Court

Please be seated by 6:35 to start play at 6:45

Normal and handicap scoring , eligible for Masterpoints and NGS, depending on numbers
No need to come with a partner - everyone who comes will be able to play
If you would enjoy an evening of duplicate bridge at a relaxed pace in a sociable atmosphere, please join us

Last updated : 28th Mar 2024 09:43 GMT
ECats Charity Challenge

Thanks to all who supported the ECats Charity Challenge on Monday and Tuesday in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support and Mind. Well done Tim and Chris on Monday, and Richard and Paddy on Tuesday. Including donations the total amount raised was £238, which has already been forwarded to ECats

Hand records and commentaries are now available on the ECats website, Click here to find these.

Last updated : 28th Mar 2024 09:44 GMT
Raffle Prizes Needed

Jen Godfrey and her team are busy creating some mouthwatering hampers for next months Bridge Tea. Any donations will be gratefully received, at Abbeygate on Tuesday or Wednesday this week or at any local bridge club. Anything in the categories "garden", "toiletries", or "food and drink" will welcomed

Last updated : 1st Apr 2024 15:07 BST
Hospice Bridge Tea Friday 12th April

The next Bridge for Fun afternoon in support of St Nicholas Hospice Care will be held on Friday 12th April, at the Blackbourne Centre in Elmswell

Please note the slightly earlier start time, to be seated to start play promptly at 1:30pm

Once again there will be an excellent tea, provided by the Bury Friends Group

Click here to download and print an entry form. Entry forms will also be available at local bridge clubs over the next few weeks. 

More information as always from Bridget: or 01284 749009

Last updated : 12th Apr 2024 18:58 BST