AGM of MANCHESTER BRIDGE CLUB – 15th January 2017
Review of 2016
Welcome to my report on 2016 for the AGM of the Manchester Bridge Club.
Before I begin I would like to preface my remarks by saying how sorry I am that Eve Lighthill, the Club Chairman, is unable to be with us today as she is recovering from a serious fall.
First of all, 2016 has been a good year for club activities. Most of the playing sessions have been well supported, membership has been maintained and there has been an influx of improvers into many of our sessions.
Most of our communication with members is through the club website which has been excellently maintained and updated by Annie Curtis and Susan Triggs. It is a great source of information and we are very grateful for all the hard work that has been done by Annie and Sue during the whole year.
This year, we published for the very first time our own Club Handbook which came from a suggestion of Richard Mallard and was worked on enthusiastically by the Club Committee, in particular Annie Curtis. The handbook, which may be collected from near the front door of the club if you have not got one, is a comprehensive guide to the club’s activities, history, classes and regular competitions. It also includes an excellent section on Etiquette and Frequently Asked Questions.
2015 was the year of changing the club carpet and redecorating. 2016 was the year we finally changed the club’s chairs and bridge cloths. Thank you Annie for choosing the material for the cloths and making them, and thank you all those members who road tested chairs for us!
Catering at the club has been the domain of Bridget for quite a few years and much do we appreciate what she does. Unfortunately, during part of 2016 Bridget was unwell and when she did return to work could only work afternoons. However, now that she is back in the afternoons everything is prepared for the evening staff and we are managing well with the exception of running Swiss Pairs with Supper evenings.
Teaching beginners is very important for the future of bridge and there has been no greater advocate of bridge teaching than Manchester Bridge Club which has taught hundreds of beginners over many years. Dave Debbage runs all the evening beginners’ course using a series of short Foundation Courses on Play and Bidding to teach the basics. Susan Triggs now follows the same curriculum with daytime lessons.
Once the courses are finished it is important to integrate the new players sympathetically into the play class environment in which players may consolidate their newly acquired skills. Ollie Burgess has proved very popular at achieving this on Wednesday nights with his sensitive and considerate approach.
During the day, on Monday mornings, Susan also offers a supervised play class with pupils from her last beginners’ course and anyone else who cares to come along.
Her gentle approach gives her players the confidence and knowledge to attempt other club sessions.
David Debbage offers a short presentation on a different topic each week before supervising a duplicate session for improvers. The session starts at 1.00pm and is proving very popular – especially with Bridget’s freshly made scones appearing at the break!
Monday Evening Duplicate
This continues to grow and be successful – attracting both established players and some of the newer members. There are three different competitions each year held on a Monday night – all keenly fought. From January to the end of April we hold the Geoff Nuttall Trophy which is awarded to the best performance by an individual player which in 2016 was won by Andy Green.
From May to the end of August we hold the Tony Wood Memorial Trophy for pairs and in 2016 it was won by Lesley Johnson and David Sarabowski.
Lesley and David were also winners of one of our oldest events, the Cheadle Royal Cup held from September to the end of December.
During the course of 2016 we changed the Tuesday night format to include a short lesson followed by a supervised duplicate session. Michael Byrne, a highly rated England international and a top bridge teacher, gives a lesson with comprehensive notes and then supervises a duplicate with pre-dealt boards.
Michael Newman runs the event and assists Michael Byrne with supervision. Michael Newman, in addition to his work for Manchester Bridge Club, is Manchester County Bridge Association’s Player of the Year and has seen great success in 2016 in National Events.
Wednesday night has traditionally been the night where you will find some of the club’s best duplicate players and the results of the best 21 performances on Wednesdays decides the winner of the Club Championship.
In the year ending 30th April 2016, Lesley Johnson and David Sarabowski were joint winners of the Club Championship. This rates as an excellent achievement but especially so with Lesley’s brave struggle to overcome the disabling effects of motor- neuron disease.
During 2016 it was nice to see some of the less experienced players join the sessions and I hope that this trend continues in the New Year.
The introduction of Swiss Pairs on a Thursday night has proved one of the club’s great success stories. Regular turn outs are between eight and ten tables which makes Mike Newman’s hard work pre-duplicating four sets of boards every week for this event worthwhile. Between January and May, players compete for the John Bird Memorial Trophy which in its first year was won by Nicolas Greer. From October to the end of December, the Trophy played for is the Merton Cantor Cup donated by one of Merton’s former team mates, Bill Atherton, after Merton passed away in February 2016. Merton was a much loved and dedicated member of the Club Committee for many years.
Whilst on the subject of loss, I would like to remind members of the passing of Joan Missira and Susan Tarr in 2016, both dearly loved members of the club. Less well known but treasured by those that knew him was Peter Hand who played in the Manchester league for a Manchester Bridge Club team despite he and his wife Jean living in Chester. All will be greatly missed.
In my opinion, teams’ bridge is the purest form of bridge and I always encourage Newcomers to join in the Manchester league in the bottom division. Playing teams is a great way to improve your game and although you may lose to start with you will find the second year rewarding as less experienced players join up. This year, five of the seven teams in Division 7 are Manchester Bridge Club based.
The club also organises a number of teams’ events during the course of the year. The oldest events are the Ruia Cup held once a month over May, June and July and the Eve Lighthill trophy held on three Thursdays in September. In 2016, the Ruia was won by Michael Byrne, Rodney Lighton, John Holland, Alan Mould, Ollie Burgess and Toby Nonnenmacher - a formidable combination! The Eve Lighthill was won by Barbara Lewis, Alec Smalley, Kevin Comrie and Celia Comrie.
The other teams’ events we organise are the Michelle Brunner Memorial Charity Event which is a Mixed Pivot Swiss Teams and the Martin Braid Memorial Event which is simply a Swiss Pivot Teams. In 2016, the winners of both these Pivot events were Kath Nelson, Alan Nelson, Michael Newman and Jeff Morris. The Michelle event attracted 19 teams and £1700 was raised and donated to Christie Hospital and St Ann’s Hospice. Fifteen tables took part in the Martin Braid event which had prize money sponsored by Susan Braid. A raffle at the Martin Braid event raised £450 for the British Heart Foundation. The next Martin Braid Memorial event will take place on Sunday 2ND April 2017 at 1.45 pm for a 2.00 pm start. The next Michelle Brunner Memorial will be on Saturday 22nd July 2017 at 12.45 pm for a 1.00 pm start.
We are very fortunate to have an active University Bridge Society here in Manchester. We help the students as much as possible with recruitment at Freshers’ week and the students organise a number of competitions at the club. In February 2016 the students used the club for a bridge marathon and raised the magnificent sum of £875 for Francis House. In December they invited club members to join them for a Crazy Pairs which was a memorable evening!
The University Bridge Club team did extremely well in the Annual Inter University Knockout Event (the Portland Bowl) losing in the Semi-final to the eventual winners-Cambridge University.
Quite a few of the students regularly work and play in the club and it is a pleasure to encourage them. Three now attend Under25 training weekends and Josh Roberts attends Under 20 training sessions.
Most afternoons there is usually a game or two of rubber bridge with stakes of 50p and above. We tried some taster sessions of Chicago on Fridays encompassing a sandwich lunch and although those players who tried it in the most part really enjoyed it the club needs to review whether to persevere with this activity or perhaps opt for a traditional duplicate session.
We have a lot of improvers in the club and many are keen to attend Ollie’s workshops on Sunday afternoons. Coming up next week is ‘The Trouble with Doubles’ and Ollie has the 29th January pencilled in as well. Ollie has recently been elected as an England selector!
Other Club Events
Ben Beever Memorial
2016 was the first anniversary of Ben Beever’s death and the club organised a Memorial event in his name. 22 pairs took part and the event was won by David Tattersall and Graham Wood. Ben was an inspirational teacher of beginners and Vera Lowson spoke movingly about how Ben had encouraged her.
Santa Claus Pairs
This is the Club’s Annual Open Christmas Event played over two sessions with a famous Christmas buffet at the interval. The event was down in numbers compared to previous years (ten tables with fifteen the year before) but there was a good standard field and the winners for the second year in a row were Dan Crofts and Gary Hyett.
Peter Ader Trophy
A one session pairs for this trophy in memory of Peter Ader was won by David Sarabowski and Lesley Johnson on the last Wednesday before Christmas.
In addition to Ollie being elected as a selector, Alan Mould also was elected. They join Paul Hackett who was already a member of the Selection Committee.
Players from the club have been successful in National Events. The highlights are Jason and Justin Hackett winning Crockfords Cup in September and the Manchester team winning the National League Final in July.
John Holland topped the annual EBU Master Points list for the fifth time (the last four years in succession!). Players from the club also continue to represent England at all levels and Michael Byrne is in charge of the England Under 20 Squad.
An appendix of successes will be added to my report on the website.
At the AGM of the EBU there was a great honour for Jeff Smith who was presented with the Tony Priday Award in recognition for ‘making an outstanding contribution to bridge and enhancing the game in all its aspects for his work in developing bridge software.’
The club has featured on national TV and radio during 2016. David Adelman spoke with authority on BBC Breakfast TV on Sunday 4th December about the benefits to children of playing bridge in schools.
Then on Wednesday 7th December at 12.15pm, members of the afternoon class at Manchester Bridge Club featured on an item about the GCHQ puzzle book broadcast on Radio 4's You & Yours programme. You and Yours wanted to test out a new puzzle book, produced by GCHQ, so they took it along to Manchester Bridge Club. They were looking for people who were keen to tackle puzzles and had good logical and lateral thinking. The bridge players didn't disappoint, doing well with the puzzles.
Manchester Bridge Club as a Venue
The club continues to be a venue for some of Manchester County Bridge Association’s competitions. In 2016, the club hosted the Cantor Cup, the Higson Cup and Plate and the Ben Franks. Further, it is expected that we will hold a new intermediate Swiss Pairs competition in 2017. Also, the Premier League will have one of its weekends at Manchester in September and the President’s Cup (a regional inter-county competition) will be held over a weekend in July.
It remains for me to conclude my report by thanking the members of the Club for their support during the last year.
Manchester Bridge Club has continued to be a centre of excellence for bridge producing considerable numbers of talented players at all levels of the game.
I would like to thank the Club Committee so ably chaired by Eve Lighthill for making this year such a success. I would like to personally thank the Committee for the support they have given the club over the last year and the ideas they have contributed to improving the way the club operates. Special thanks also to Annie Curtis who has been fantastic in keeping the website up to date and flagging up forthcoming events.
Finally, I would like to wish members of the club a Happy and Healthy New Year.
January 15th 2017
APPENDIX OF RESULTS FOR 2016
European Championships –Budapest June 2016
Catherine Draper won her first European Championship Gold as part of the victorious Ladies Team.
Jason and Justin Hackett played in the Open Teams (non playing captain Alan Mould) and the England team finished 10th thus qualifying for the European Champions Cup.
John Holland played in the Seniors team with Paul Hackett non-playing captain.The team finished in a disappointing 10th position.
European Champions Cup- November 2016
England's representatives have finished 8th in the Champions Cup in Zagreb. The competition featured the top ten European nations from the European Championships, plus the hosts and defending champions. Paul,Jason and Justin Hackett were all part of the England team.
The England Under 21 team captained by Michael Byrne were runners up in the 2016 Channel Trophy, held over the weekend of 16-18th December. Alex Birchall played in the Under-26 team which also finished 2nd.
Under 15 Squad
Sarah O’Connor is now the Coach and Non-Playing Captain of the Under 15 squad.
Manchester Bridge Players have done very well in National Events. The main highlights are:
Sunday Telegraph Salver
John Holland won the Sunday Telegraph Salver for the player winning the most masterpoints in 2015.
Jason and Justin Hackett were in the winning team in the Crockfords Cup Final held on 24 & 25 September.
The Manchester team finished runners up the Pachabo held over the weekend of 11-12 June. Well done to John Holland, Alan Mould, Michael Byrne, Michael Newman, Gary Hyett and Rodney Lighton. This completes a remarkable run where Manchester have come 2nd, 1st and 2nd in the last three years.
The Manchester Bridge Club team of Edward Levy, Robert Myers, Jeff Morris, John Hassett, David Sarabowski, Andy Green, Adrian Kenworthy and Jason Hackett won the Northern regional final of the Garden Cities Trophy at Bradford on 7th May. However, they were then bizarrely prevented from playing in the final due to the EBU claiming that Ollie Burgess had not been a member of Manchester Bridge Club when he participated in the Gazette Trophy in February.
National League Final
The National County Teams of Eight finals took place at Solihull on Sunday 10th July 2016 at Coventry Bridge Club. The finals are held between the winners of the Northern League, Southern League, Eastern Counties, Midlands League and Western League.
In the A Division the team of Michael Byrne/Michael Newman, Alan Mould/Rodney Lighton, Kath Nelson/Alan Nelson and Tom Slater/Alec Smalley won for only the third time out of the nine years that Manchester have qualified for the A Division final.
In the 2016 Gold Cup, Alan Mould’s team reached the quarter finals before losing to Simon Gillis’s team.
Michael Byrne’s team (John Holland, Ollie Burgess, & Rhona Goldenfield) reached the last 8 of the 2016 Hubert Phillips bowl.
Eastbourne Pairs and Teams
Congratulations to Michael Byrne and Kieran Dyke who came 4th out of 271 pairs in the Harold Poster Swiss Pairs at the Eastbourne Summer Congress held for the first time in this resort since leaving Brighton. This was an excellent performance having won the event the previous year.
Congratulations to Gary Hyett who was a member of the winning team in the Four Stars A Final having qualified for the final out of an entry of 87 teams. John Holland also qualified for the A final and finished in second place while Michael Newman and Alec Smalley also qualified for the A final finishing in 8th place.
On 31 August Tom Townsend kindly wrote up in the Daily Telegraph a ridiculous 7 Club contract bid and made by Michael Newman during the teams event which required a very fortunate lie of the cards as well as good play after a bidding misunderstanding.
Manchester finished runners up to Berkshire & Bucks in their qualifying group in the Tollemache held over the weekend of 19 – 20 November and thus qualified for February’s final for the fourth year running. Well done to John Holland & Gary Hyett, Alan Mould & Ollie Burgess, Michael Byrne & Michael Newman, Tom Slater & Alec Smalley.
Year End Congresses
In the Northern Year End Congress Alan Mould and John Holland won the Swiss Pairs at Blackpool held on 28 and 29 December for the third year running. In the Swiss Teams third and category B winners were Janet Tolan, Andy Green, Michael Wymer and Stephen Ward. Haidee Tattersall won the C category of the teams with Olwen Renowden, Edward Jones and John Councer.
MANCHESTER AREA EVENTS
Manchester Congress 2016
In the main teams final Michael Newman, Alec Smalley, Joy Blakey and Irving finished in second place.
Manchester B won the Gazette Trophy the inter club teams of eight at Altrincham on Sunday 7th February and thus qualified for the Garden Cities Regional Final. Well done to Edward Levy, Mike Goldsmith, Rob Myers, Ollie Burgess, Jason Hackett, Adrian Kenworthy, Andy Green & David Sarabowski. Ten teams entered from Manchester, Altrincham and Bramhall & Cheadle Hulme clubs.
MCBA player of the Year 2016
Well done to Michael Newman who was the Manchester County Bridge Association Player of the Year in the Expert category for the second time having previously won this award in 2011.
Merville Goldstone Trophy
Michael Byrne’s team (Michael Newman, Alan Mould, John Holland) won the Goldstone Trophy for the fifth year running. In the final they defeated Jeff Morris’s team (John Hassett, Ollie Burgess & Rob Myers).NICKO
Manchester A (David Debbage, Jason Hackett, Ollie Burgess, Catherine Draper, Andrew Woodcock, Edward Levy) and Manchester B (Jeff Morris, John Hassett, Alan Mould and Michael Newman) both reached the last 16 of the 2016 National Inter Club Knockout before the EBU bizarrely claimed that Michael Newman and Ollie Burgess were not technically members of the club and so disqualified both teams !
Green Point Teams
In the GP teams there was a huge margin of victory of some 22 VPs by Kath Nelson’s team (Jeff Morris, Jeff Smith & Alan Nelson) held on Sunday 24 July.
26 pairs played in this event on Sunday 27th November at Manchester Bridge Club. In a very close finish John Holland and Michael Byrne won, with Rodney Lighton and John Currie second, Alan Mould and Alec Smalley third and Nicholas Greer and John Parsons fourth. These pairs qualify for the Corwen Trophy in June
Higson Cup and Plate
The Higson finals were held at Manchester Bridge Club on Sunday 10th April. The Higson Cup was won by the Bare Bones (Myers, Kenworthy, Levy & Goldsmith)
In the Higson Plate the winners were Splinter Group (George Leigh, Janet Tolan, John Moran and Andy Green).