Bracknell Bridge League
Release 2.19q
Participating Clubs and Teams (2023-24 Season)


Bracknell Forest



Loddon Vale
Yateley and Hawley


League Rules
  The Season

1.1 The League season shall run from about mid-September to mid-April.

1.2 The ‘Hybrid’ League

1.2.1 For the foreseeable future each season will operate a ‘Hybrid’ system where matches may be played face-to-face or on-line, as agreed by the team captains.

1.2.2 Prior to the start of each season, the Committee shall recommend to the AGM a ‘default’ position for the arrangement of matches (i.e. face-to-face or on-line) such that, in the event of no agreement between captains, the ‘default’ in place for the season will apply.

1.2.3 Notwithstanding the ‘default’ in place, the social benefits of playing face-to-face are acknowledged and teams are encouraged to play matches in this manner if possible.

1.2.4 On-line matches may be played on either the RealBridge or BBO platforms.

1.3 Entries for the season must be made via email to the League Secretary by the end of June (the actual closing date will be announced during the League AGM each year). The appropriate fee should be sent direct to the Treasurer at the same time as the entry is submitted. The preferred day/time-of-day (i.e afternoon or evening) for their home matches must be specified by each team along with their preferred platform for any on-line home matches

1.4 As soon as possible after the End of Season Pairs competition, the League Secretary shall notify all League Clubs of the results of the previous season and the consequent provisional promotions and relegations for the following season.

1.5 New Teams applying to join the League.

1.5.1 A new team applying to join the League will normally be entered into the lowest Division for the following season.

1.5.2 At the discretion of the Committee, who shall particularly take into account the proven playing ability of the new team members, the new team may be entered into a higher Division subject only to the caveat that any teams directly affected agree to the positioning of the new team. An example of a 'directly affected' team could be where a team was not promoted in order to accommodate the new team.

1.6 At the discretion of the Committee, who shall particularly take into account the proven playing ability of the likely team members for the next season, an EXISTING team who are demonstrably better or worse than the standard of the Division they would normally be playing in next season may be fast tracked to a higher or lower Division as appropriate, subject only to the caveat that any teams directly affected agree to the repositioning of the existing team. An example of a 'directly affected' team could be where a team was not promoted in order to accommodate the fast tracked team.

2.1 A player at the start of a season may play in any division by representing a club for which they are a member, or at the committee's discretion  a named team not affiliated to a club. 
2.2 Competing teams who are non-aligned (i.e. who are not part of any club and have no formal membership) are required to nominate up to 8 players at the start of each season. In exceptional circumstances, subject to the discretion of the Committee and the agreement of the opposing captain, additional players may be used to fulfill a fixture.
2.3 During a season a player may only play a total number of matches played in the division with the largest number of teams. Any match logged as "Unfulfilled" would not count.
2.4 Any pair of players who have played two matches in division in a season, may then not play in a match two or more divisions lower.
2.5 Subject to rule 2.4 any member of a club can play in any team within a club.
2.6 The first club a player represents shall be their "Home club" and as soon as a player has played 2 matches in a division that shall be designated as their "Home division" .  A player may play for just one more club for which they are a member, providing it is not their home division, and subject to the above rules.
2.7 Any team playing a non eligible player shall be deemed to have forfeited the match.  However, in exceptional circumstances the above rules may be waived at the discretion of the league and with the agreement of both captains. This may apply, for example, where a match that does not affect promotion or relegation cannot be played by the end of the season with strict adherence to the rules.

 3.1 For any match a team shall consist of four players.

  Match Programme
 4.1  The match programme shall be arranged so that:
  (i)  in all divisions except the lowest, each team plays every other team in their division twice per season.
  (ii)  The Committee decision under paragraph 6.5.1 of the BBL Constitution will determine the number of matches to be played in the lowest division during each season.
  (iii)  Matches between teams from the same club in the same Division should be played in the first half of each half of the season.
 4.2  The Fixtures/Results Secretary shall compile a list of match fixtures (by w/c) as early as possible and not later than 1st August and post the match programme on LMS by 1st September.
  Re-arrangement of matches
5.1  Teams should make reasonable endeavours to play matches during the week originally scheduled.
5.2  The team captains may negotiate if necessary with any opposing captain to change dates which are not suitable and record the new date on LMS.
5.3  All matches must be completed by the end of the first full week of April each year (or such later date as the Committee may decree).
5.4  If teams agree to change around their home and away fixtures, it is the responsibility of the Home team captain according to the original match schedule to change LMS.
5.5  The Committee shall take appropriate action to prevent teams from the same club playing in the same Division, re-arranging a fixture which could affect promotion or relegation to near the end of the season.
5.6  Unfulfilled scheduled matches
  Any team failing to fulfil a scheduled match will be deemed to have forfeited that match. The IMPs/VPs awarded are defined in Rule 14.4
5.7  In the event that a forfeited match in the second half of the season affects the end of season placings, the Committee has the right to insist that the match is played.
5.8  If a match is started but a team is unable to complete it, that team may be deemed to have forfeited the match. The IMPs/VPs awarded are defined in Rule 14.4
  Match confirmation

6.1 The contact of the home team shall get in touch with the contact of the away team at least five days before the date in the match programme to:

  1. Agree whether the match will be face-to-face or on-line, in accordance with Rule 1.2.2 and
  2. If face-to-face, then agree the venue and any issues such as security, safety or road works etc.
  3. If on-line, then confirm the platform and the number of boards to be played, in accordance with Rule 9.3
  4. Agree a start time

6.2 Failure to arrange contact between the teams prior to a match may lead to the forfeiture of a match at the discretion of the Committee. The away team contact has a responsibility to the home team contact under Rule 6.1

  Match starting time
 7.1  The four players of a team shall be in position at the tables by the agreed starting time. The default starting time is 19.30 hours (evening matches) or 14.30 hours (afternoon matches) but the captains can agree an alternative starting time.
 7.2  Should a team not be in position at the default time or other agreed starting time, the delay, in minutes, shall be notified to the Results Secretary with an indication of the offending team.
  Penalties for late arrival
8.1  The penalties for teams regularly arriving late are to be determined by the Committee.
8.2  If a team is not ready to start a match by thirty minutes after the starting time previously agreed by the two captains, the non-offending captain may opt to claim the match by forfeit. The score will be calculated as in Rule 14.4.

9.1 Matches may be played at any time mutually agreed by the two captains. Failing any other agreement, matches shall be played on a Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday evening.

9.2 Matches Played Face-to-Face

9.2.1 Each match played face-to-face shall normally consist of twenty four boards. In the event of a late start or slow play the captains may agree to play fewer boards (minimum eighteen). Both captains shall be responsible for ensuring that the players are seated at the correct polarity at both tables.

9.2.2 Except at the mutual agreement of the two captains concerned, the match location shall be within a ten mile radius of the site of Bracknell Railway Station. This area includes the following places: Ascot, Bagshot, Blackwater, Bracknell, Camberley, Crowthorne, Finchampstead, Holyport, Jealotts Hill, Sandhurst, Sunningdale, Sunninghill, Winnersh, Wokingham and Yateley.

9.2.3 In the event of a disagreement over the legality of a proposed match venue, the dispute shall be settled by the Committee.

9.2.4 In matches played in a private house, the standard arrangement is that smoking is prohibited at the playing tables throughout the match. However, the match host shall provide an area away from the playing tables, which may be outside the house, where smoking is permitted during scoring breaks. Team captains may wish to discuss smoking arrangements when arranging a match and the standard arrangement may be varied by mutual agreement. (Vide the EBU Competitions Handbook)

9.3 Matches Played on-line

9.3.1 Matches may be played on either RealBridge or BBO, subject to the agreement of the two team captains. In the event of no agreement, the match shall be played on the preferred platform of the home team.

9.3.2 The default number of boards for on-line matches in Division 1 is 24 and 20 in lower Divisions.  However, between 18 and 24 boards may be played by prior agreement. The 24 boards may be played as two sets on separate days by agreement, but the default is on the same date.

9.3.3 For matches played on-line it is the responsibility of the home captain to provide all necessary information to the opposing captain so the match may proceed smoothly. The home captain shall be responsible for ensuring that the players are seated at the correct polarity at both tables.

9.3.4 Additional advice for setting up and playing matches on-line is contained in a separate annex which may be found here

9.4 Matches will be played in accordance with English Bridge Union (EBU) rules and regulations in force at the time. From 1998, the EBU has defined various categories of permitted conventions. Only those systems and conventions listed as falling within the category defined as level 4 may be used in league matches and competitions.

9.5 For matches played on-line, ‘Undos’ are allowed during the auction only for calls that are unintended within the meaning of Law 25A. ‘Undos’ during the play are not permitted.

9.6 For on-line matches played on BBO, players must self-alert/announce and any explanation must reflect the partnership agreement. Matches played on RealBridge must alert/announce their partner’s bid in the same manner as face-to-face matches.

9.7 In all matches the away team has seating rights - viz the home team pairs take their places and the away team chooses where they will sit. In the second half, the home team pairs must play the other opposition pair.

9.8 Pre-dealt boards, including computer dealt boards, may be used for matches with the prior agreement of both captains. Hand records may be provided after the event if required.

  Conversion to Victory Points

10.1 The overall points score for each board shall be converted to International Match Points (IMP) in the usual way, and the overall IMP margin converted to Victory Points (VP) according to the EBU scale currently in force. Note that VP scales vary according to the number of boards played - please refer to the EBU White Book or see here

  Result Submission
11.1  The home captain should post the match result on LMS (IMPS and VPs) by the end of the week following the match date, along with the team members taking part. The away captain should check the result and add their team members. If the match details (including the player's names) are not posted in this time-frame, then, at the discretion of the committee, the offending team(s) may have two VPs deducted from their VP total. This penalty will normally be only applied for repeated late notifications.
11.2  The default method for reporting results is via the BBL website. Other methods may be utilised provided that the following information is supplied:
  (i)  the names of the two teams,
  (ii)  the number of the division,
  (iii)  the full names of the players (in capital letters), ie forename & surname,
  (iv)  the International Match Point and Victory Point scores.
11.3  A late start or any dispute should be emailed to the results secretary within the timeframe in 11.1

12.1 In the event of a dispute, an agreed statement of facts should be submitted to the Results Secretary by one captain, copy the other, or both captains if there is a dispute over the facts. The Committee shall resolve the dispute, contacting an EBU director if necessary for a ruling and send a copy of such resolution to both captains within seven days of receiving it. Any appeal against this ruling must be received within fourteen days of the dispatch of the ruling by the Results Secretary to the team captains. The appeal must be accompanied by the fee required at that time by the EBU.

12.2 Details of bidding, play etc available on either of the on-line platforms may be submitted as part of information required under 12.1

  League Tables
 13.1  The league results are maintained by the EBU’s LMS system, and are available for viewing via the league website or “My EBU”.

14.1 Standard (all play all twice) Divisions

a) If there are two or more other teams in the Division which the withdrawing team has failed to play at all, then all the withdrawing team's results are cancelled.

b) If a team withdraws having played all but one of the other teams twice then all its results stand. Results will be awarded for any unfulfilled matches (see 14.4 below).

c) Where neither a) nor b) applies, the withdrawing team's first result against each of the other teams will stand. A single awarded result will be given against any team it failed to play at all. The second result against any team they managed to play twice will be cancelled.

14.2 Conference Divisions

a) In a Conference Division teams play members of the same Conference twice and members of other Conference(s) once only.

b) If there are two or more other teams in the same Conference, or two or more teams in other Conferences, which the withdrawing team has failed to play at all, then all the withdrawing team's results are cancelled.

c) Where b) does not apply but the team has failed to play both its matches against two or more other teams in the same Conference then its first result against each of the other teams will stand. A single awarded result will be given against any teams it has failed to play at all. The second result against any team they have managed to play twice will be cancelled.

d) Where neither b) or c) applies, all the withdrawing team's results will stand. Results will be awarded for any unfulfilled matches (see 14.4 below).

14.3 Multiple withdrawals -if more than one team withdraws from the same Division, including a Conference Division, the above Rules are applied to the first team to withdraw. This team is then excluded for the purpose of applying the rules to the second and any subsequent teams to withdraw.

14.4 Results of Unfulfilled matches

(a) calculate the difference in average net IMPs between the teams

(b) if, according to this calculation, the non-offending team won the match, add the net IMP difference to their aggregate. Otherwise deduct the net IMP difference from their aggregate.

(c) award VPs to the non-offending team using the normal conversion table from IMPs to VPs

(d) the offending side scores zero VPs and IMPs

(e) in circumstances where neither team is responsible for the unfulfilled match the teams are awarded VPs calculated in steps (a) and (b) above

(f) In exceptional circumstances the Executive Committee shall be empowered to award an adjusted match result.

  Final League positions
15.1  The final League positions shall be determined by the Victory Points totals of the teams. However, should there be a tie in Victory Points, the League positions shall be decided by consideration of the match results between the teams concerned, taking account firstly of the Victory Points gained and then, if these are equal, by consideration of the International Match Points gained.
15.2  Promotion from the Conference Sections (NB - this rule only applies when the lowest Division is divided into two Sections).
15.2.1  The final league positions in each Section shall be determined by the Victory Points (VPs) totals of the teams, and both Section winners will normally be promoted.
15.2.2  The Division winners will be the Section winners with the higher average VP total. In the event of a tie on VPs, the Division winners will be the Section winners that scored more IMPs in their head to head match.
15.2.3  In the event that it is necessary to promote a third team from this Division, the procedure detailed in 15.2.2 above will be applied to the runners-up in each Section to determine the third placed team.
16.1  Trophies shall be provided for the winners of each division. These shall be presented at the end of the season and held for one year.
16.2  Trophies shall be returned to the Secretary before the presentation ceremony for the following season.
  Promotion and relegation
17.1  At the end of each season the bottom team in each division (except the lowest) shall be relegated to the next lower division and the top team in each division (except Division 1) shall be promoted to the next higher division. Depending on the number of teams in a division, promotion (and relegation) may be extended to a second team at the discretion of the Committee.
17.2 The Committee shall, at the start of the season, advise all clubs of the proposed promotion and relegation policy between divisions for the forthcoming season, as determined under 17.1
17.3   Notwithstanding 17.1 and 17.2, in order to maintain the structure of the league the Committee may, in the event of a team withdrawing from the league, promote additional teams although at least one team will always be relegated, which shall include the team that withdrew.
17.4  In the event of the lowest division being temporarily divided into two Conferences, the Committee shall decide, at the start of the season, the rules for that season governing promotion and relegation between these Conferences and the next higher division.