The Oxford Junior Bridge Club started in September 2014 with one 9 year old pupil, Henry Rose, who had persuaded his parents to drive him to Oxford from North of Banbury. This determination continued and Henry is now well known for his many successes in the world of English and International Bridge. New pupils trickled in from around the city and county and by Christmas 2014 we had two full tables for a friendly competition and end of term party.
Until 2019 our venue was the Summertown Church Hall, large and spacious inside and with a garden where, after the tea break, the children played their own made up game of "rugfoot" in all weathers. Now we use the premises of the newly refurbished Oxford Bridge Club.
When the EBU decided to form an International Under-16 team, I was asked by Sarah Bell, who was running the squad, if I had any pupils who were good enough. Having no idea of the standard required, at Sarah’s suggestion, I took all who were bidding and available to Andrew Robson’s Parsons Green club. From that first event, our little club has had no less than ten pupils picked for the squad many representing England face to face and online.
Many of our juniors have come by word of mouth or from seeing flyers around the city but, before Lockdown, we held one Taster Session per year, having leafletted fourteen roads close by. One year this yielded 16 visitors, including 4 South American women who were definitely not "8 – 18 years!"
Every year since 2015 we have sent teams to the Annual Schools Challenge, held at Loughborough Grammar School, with many successes. In March 2021 the team from Eton, who won the Schools Cup, contained two players who had started Bridge at OJBC.
Much as we cherish these successes, our main goal is to inspire juniors to play at their own level and to make the game fun and enjoyable for all. We welcome families learning together and are delighted that a father and son pair, Zahir and Zane Soonawalla who learned at OJBC, are now two of our valued teachers.
Holly Kilpatrick, November 2021