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One for the album!
Saturday 26th October marked the official opening of the newly refurbished premises of the Oxford Bridge Club. Members joined with the Chairman, Pat Lewis, guests and Trustees for a reception and the unveiling of the donors’ plaque by England’s No. 1 bridge player, Andrew Robson.
In the front room of the premises fifteen juniors aged 8 to 16 years arrived early in the day to commence a friendly game of duplicate bridge whilst they awaited Andrew’s arrival. The ‘maestro’ did not disappoint and spent a memorable half hour chatting with the players, whilst he advised and shared tips and jokes.
Some of the young players had been learning since the junior initiative first started in Summertown Church Hall in September 2014. Now installed in the Oxford Bridge Club, 3 or 4 tables of juniors, of mixed ability, learn and play every Sunday afternoon term time
Andrew, grew up in Oxfordshire, attended Abingdon School and played as a junior himself at local bridge clubs.
Pictures of him helping the junior members.
The England U16 team containing two Oxfordshire players- Kim Hudson and Henry Rose, won the Bronze medal in Norway this month. Henry started playing bridge at the Dragon School and OJBC, whereas Kim learned at St Hugh's School and now plays at Faringdon. Freddie Beneat (OJBC and Abingdon School)played in the U16 on line international
I am delighted to report that Zane Soonawalla, playing with his father Zahir, won the friendly pairs competition at the Oxford Congress on Sunday afternoon.
The partnership of Henry Rose and Freddie Beneat played for the England U16 team in the World Bridge Federation online Championship, and have also won. They beat the favourites, USA.All the youngsters learned their bridge at OJBC
This competition has just been won by 3 ex-Reading schoolboys and 1 from Windsor, who are all at Durham University together. It is the first time in 5 years that it has not been won by Cambridge, so Congratulations to them all, Charlie, Euan, Ed,( all ex Reading School) and their Windsor teammate.
This, which was held over 6th/7th April was a fantastic event. The main competition of 20 tables comprising Cheltenham BC members, junior squad members and everyone else was won by NS Dominic Cooke and Edmund Lea, both ex Reading School, and EW by Henry Rose(OBA) and Giorgio Provenza, the U16 coach. 2nd NS were Jack Lawrence and Nathan Galpin, also both ex Reading School. All are members of the GB junior squads. The picture though summarises the fantastic goodwill and camaraderie of the weekend, showing Margaret, the oldest member of Cheltenham Bridge Club, photographed with Ethan, aged 6 and Emma and Anias who are slightly older.
The weekend started with all 65 children allocated into 5 appropriate groups for teaching. All groups played a competition on Saturday night with even the youngest group managing 6 boards. By the Sunday afternoon competition, these children had progressed to be able to play 10 boards of bridge. The older teenagers cannot go to bed without their late night speed ball, but this was held to 18 boards by mutual agreement. 8 minibridge awards, 6 Bronze(2 OBA) and 2 silver awards(1 OBA) were made.
As usual, the accommodation and food at Cheltenham Ladies College were amazing, and we have been given 4th/5th April for next year's event.
March 3rd saw a training morning followed by a competition in the afternoon for 2 tables of minibridge and 4 tables of bridge. As there were parents and grandparents playing with the children, prizes were awarded to the winning pair of children, as well as to the winning pair.
Minibridge 1st Oliver Preston, 1st pair Molly Salter, Xanthe Walker Jones
Bridge 1st Zoe Soonawalla, 1st pair Zane Soonawalla, Freddie Beneat.
On 2nd January 20 children plus parents, grandparents and tutors spent the day at the Chantry House in Henley. In the morning they improved their skills, 12 of them trying bridge bidding for the first time, and in the afternoon, after a pizza from Zizzis anda run around at the park, they played in a competition, many for the first time. The bridge competition was won by Elizabeth Cooper and Pat Lewis (OBC chair), and in second place were Ella(Gillotts) and John(grandpa) Chamberlain. The minibridge competition was won by Alex(Goring PS) and grandpa Holman. The prizes were fun packs of cards collected on round the world cruises and donated to us. It was lovely to be joined by so many families including a French bridge playing grandfather called Luis. This was probably due to the fact that it was held during the Christmas holidays. Elizabeth Cooper, Iris and Noah Bennett also received their silver awards on the national junior award scheme.
Nettlebed School played its Xmas competition this month. There were four tables of children, 3 of minibridge and 1 playing bridge. The very good cake was supplied, as usual, by Gillian Lonsdale who teaches at the school. Nettlebed School has had a bridge club continuously for 10 years.
Top left Year 5 girls teaching minibridge to year 3 children at Kidmore End Primary School.
Top right New Scotland Hill winners of school minibridge SIMS
Left- junior players enjoying the sun and cake after a competition at Wallingford.
The Bridge For Schools Team brings bridge to all schoolchildren in Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire. Its volunteers provide their time freely to teach bridge and minibridge in schools. Follow the Bridge4Schools tab on the left hand side of the screen for more information.
For a headteacher’s view of our activities please look at Bridge in a Village Primary School which you will find under 'Bridge & Education'.
In addition to in-school clubs the Team runs a Junior Bridge Club in Oxford that is open to all 8 – 18 year olds wishing to play bridge or minibridge, or to receive tuition as well as a fun weekend in Cheltenham at Easter each year. Follow the links on the left hand side for further details.
Since we started in Berkshire the Bridge4schools team has taught bridge in over 45 schools in Berks, Bucks and Oxon, and typically teaches to around 600 children in our busiest terms.
If you would like to learn to play bridge at your school, or would like to become one of our volunteer helpers, please phone your area contact .
S & W Oxfordshire Alison Nicolson 01235 851403.
S Oxon(W Berks) Joan Bennett 01491 579795.
Central Oxfordshire Holly Kilpatrick 07753 672001.
Bucks (E Berks) Dory Thompson 01494 433841
For email addresses see 'Organisers' under 'Information' tab
The Wessex weekend in Cheltenham was held on 7th/8th April 2018 and was fully booked with 70 children attending. The England U21 squad used it as a training session, and at a joint session where 40 Cheltenham BC members played with40 children , the young guns came out top.
The junior event at Ardingly in Sussex on 7th/8th July 2018 was a great success, being fully booked for boarders well in advance. The event at the Portland Club on June 17th attracted 10 tables of bridge players, mainly from the London area. It was a fantastic venue to visit, rejoicing in the address of '36, Pall Mall', and was run by Simon Stocken on behalf of the Davenport Trust. Let's increase the number of Berks, Bucks and Oxon children attending it next year.
The JTI at Phasels Wood in Hertfordshire ran a great bridge programme at the beginning of September, but also allowed the children to choose two very physical activities from Zip-wire, GoKarting, Abseiling, human table football(a vicious game!) and others
A fantastic performance by English juniors in general and local ones in particular. Pictures are Tommy Brass (left) from Berkshire with his Bronze medal in the U26 event, and on the RHS are Henry Rose (left) from Oxford who won a Bronze in the U16 partnering Oscar Selby from London. Details of the results can be seen on the EBU website. Oscar and Henry are also members of the England U16 team who have reached the final of the Online teams event. Good luck in the finals to all the team.
24 teams of four from all over the country competed in this event, and local representation was provided by 3 teams from Oxfordshire and 2 from Reading in Berkshire. The Reading A team qualified from the pool into the knock out, but were unfortunate to come fourth. The local success came from the Reading B team consisting of Euan Sarson, David Fryer, Will Clennell and Matthew Wadsworth who won the schools plate. This meant coming second from the remaining 20 teams, only being beaten by a mixed, but experienced team of international players. The three teams from Oxfordshire, mainly based around its junior bridge club, came respectable 6th, 10th and 11th in the plate, so can feel pleased with themselves, as many will be at school for some time yet.
It was a great weekend for all, but once again, Oxfordshire children did us proud.The Sunday competition was won by Oxford's Jacob and Thomas Potter (NS), with the EW winners being Aidan(Oxford) and Roland(Sussex). Many children gained awards under EBEDs scheme, and once again, the Oxfordshire contribution was 1 Bronze (Sam), 3 silver(Finn, Cameron and Zoe), 3 gold (Thomas, Jacob and Aidan).
The food and accommodation provided by Cheltenham Ladies College was superb, as were both the food and facilities at the bridge club.Many of the children were coming for the third time- itself a recommendation. Their behaviour was exemplary- we have been invited back for 2019.
On Wednesday 19th July, a group of 16 juniors, (15 boys and 1 girl!) from schools in Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire, visited the House of Lords for a friendly bridge match. Divided into small groups, the children were given fascinating tours of the historic building, after which the bridge match began in the beautiful River Room, overlooking the Thames. The Lords were outnumbered by the juniors and tables were made up by visiting teachers, so the winners, from Reading School, were the pair with the most plusses on their scorecard! The children were all given a lovely memento of the afternoon.
Afterwards, we enjoyed a very generous tea in the River Canteen and at the end of the afternoon some of us were lucky enough to be shown the secret underground route to Westminster Tube Station.
The sixteen pupils, who took part, attend the following schools: Abingdon School Oxon, Dr Challoners Bucks, Epsom College, Highdown Oxon, Reading School, Berks, the Dragon School, Oxford, Summer Fields School Oxford, Magdalen College Oxford and the Oxford Junior Bridge Club.
Many thanks to the Lords for their time and generosity.
England had qualified for the final in all four age groups which was fantastic. Oxfordshire provided 3 members of the squads with Laura Covill and Eva Wieczorek playing in the U26 girls team, and Henry Rose in the U16 team. Sadly, all our teams were knocked out in the round robin stage.
The third competition was held at Oxford BC(OBC) on the afternoon of 19th November when twenty two children aged 8-14 years descended upon the balloon decorated premises generating laughter and goodwill.
The bridge club and adult helpers were warmly thanked. Prizes were awarded in the three categories of minibridge, novice bidders and experienced bidders and were presented by Pat Lewis the Chairman of OBC.
1. Minibridge 1st. Oscar Ngong from Summerfields (+ adult), joint 2nd Harry Ellis and Amelia Beecroft from Kidmore End, and Sam Soonawalla(Dragon) and his partner Oliver Christiansen from Millbrook School Grove.
2. Novice bridge players 1st Dimi Fitzherbert from Summerfields(+adult)
3. Bridge players 1st Thomas and Jacob Potter(Dragon School), 2nd Aidan Saunders(Summerfields) and Zane Soonawalla(MCS)
The participating children came from 9 schools Abingdon, Didcot girls, The Dragon, Harrow, Kidmore End Primary, Marcham Primary, Magdalen College, Millbrook nr Wantage and Summerfields
This was a new venture held at Cheltenham in 2016. Over 100 children came of whom over 25% were from Oxfordshire. Berkshire, Warwickshire, Gloucestershire, Devon, London, Sussex, Cardiff and Worcestershire were also represented.The tutors all freely gave their time and included the coaches of all the England junior squads (U15, U20 and U25), the food was excellent, and the only downside was the weather which curtailed the usual outdoor activities.
This event mustered 20 tables with 8 juniors competing- a record. Jack and Nathan won 2nd prize whilst David and Ed won the non-expert prize- both cash prizes and very welcome to teenagers! All eight of them won at least one match and were universally praised by the adults for their superb table manners.
This was held at Loughborough University and was attended by children from much of the country. The facilities and food are amazing as you would expect from a venue used to feeding Olympic athletes. The excitement for us was that the main event, earning them the Arnott Davidson Trophy was won by Jack and Nathan from Reading School. It is very much a family event with one couple bringing four children and another three as well as many grandparents. The same atmosphere is found at the Chletenham weekend in the Spring.
The Dragon team of Will Wauchope, Thomas Potter, Freddie Yu and Richmond Yeung came 3rd in the Schools Cup beating the usual prestigious schools, the Perse, Haberdashers Aske, Manchester Grammar, Loughborough Grammar, RGS Malvern and managed to trounce Eton College in the playoff for 3rd place! See below for a hand from this match reported by Andrew Robson in The Times. They succumbed only to the winners,Westminster and the runners up, St. Paul's!
20 teams entered this year and our Junior Bridge Team of Zane Soonawalla, Jacob Potter, George and Elizabeth Cooper came 8th in the Harry Scully Trophy, a cup for teams from different schools.
Henry Rose's Under 16 second team came 2nd in the Harry Scully Trophy, narrowly beaten by the Under 16 first team.
A GREAT DAY FOR OXFORDSHIRE BRIDGE!
For more pictures refer to our blog - see left hand column.
Below is the hand from The Times:
Fifty children, 10 family and 10 tutors enjoyed a fabulous weekend in April at Cheltenham Ladies College and Bridge Club.Volunteer tutors included the Welsh and U20 squad coaches- lucky children. Activities included late night speedball for teenagers, rounders frisbee etc.for all, and amazing food and accommodation supplied by Cheltenham Ladies College.
Three Oxford Junior Bridge Club pairs took part in the June Oxford Congress: Jacob and Max Potter, Zane Soonawalla and Aidan Saunders and Freddie Beneat and Freddie Wivell.
In the Swiss pairs on Saturday Zane & Aidan won three of their eight matches.
In the Swiss Teams on Sunday the OJBC team of Zane, Aidan, Thomas Potter and Freddie Yu won the best non expert team prize.
An England Under 16 team finished seventh in the Czech Republic Junior Teams Championship at the end of November.
The team of Oscar Selby & Henry Rose, Jasmine Bakhshi & Liz Gahan, Alex Pemberton & Andy Cope, with NPC: Mike Bell, competed against eleven other junior sides - including some U26 teams and many with more international experience.
They struggled in their opening qualifying matches, finishing fifth of the six teams in their group. They bounced back well, however, finishing second in the next group phase to move on to the 5th-8th playoff. They lost their 'semi-final' but an emphatic victory in their final match saw them claim 7th place and improve on their good performance in the 2015 competition.
Henry Rose (on the right of the picture) started bridge at the Dragon School when he was 8 years old and has been attending the Oxford Junior Bridge Club regularly since it started in 2014; in fact, he was their first pupil.
There were some very good county players at the annual event on Sunday, and our junior members played really well against them, all of them winning at least one of their 'minimatches' as well as enjoying the substantial tea. The pairs finished as follows:- 3rd Jamie Muller/JB, 25th George Anstis/John Mewes, 28th Nathan Galpin/Jack Lawrence, 37th Dominic Cooke/ Edmund Lea. This is the 3rd year running in which the junior participation has increased, and Jamie Muller at 16, is the highest placed ever junior.
Henry Rose has every right to be beaming! He has just heard the news that he has been selected to play for the Under 15 England team in the Youth Bridge World Championships to be held in Italy in August. Henry started bridge at the Dragon School when he was 8 years old and has been attending the Oxford Junior Bridge Club regularly since it started in 2014; in fact, he was their first pupil.
Hers is Henry and the two teams from Salsomaggiore.