2017 ANNUAL REVIEW
MANCHESTER BRIDGE CLUB AGM
28th December 2017
Review of 2017
Welcome to my 2017 report for the AGM of the Manchester Bridge Club.
Before I begin I would like to preface my remarks by saying how happy I am that Eve Lighthill, the Club Chairman, is with us today. Last year she was unable to attend as the result of a serious fall.
2017 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.
Communication with members is mainly 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 Susan during the whole year.
The Club Handbook first published in 2016 has been well received during the course of 2017.The handbook 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. The EBU Club Liaison Officer has recently given it top billing as an example of best club practice and has circulated it to other clubs. She has written saying well done to all responsible!
Catering at the club has been very much reliant on Bridget for quite a few years. Unfortunately, from June 2017 Bridget has been on sick leave and has not yet been able to return to work. This has caused the club considerable problems. We have had help with catering from a number of sources but I must say that in the second half of 2017 our former students Henry, Josh and Rocky have been outstanding.
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 has followed 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 good at doing this on Wednesday nights with his sensitive and considerate approach.
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 during 2017 has maintained a regular loyal following. Sadly two of the regular players, Peter Wild and Bernie O’Brien have passed away this year. They are greatly missed.
Monday Evening Duplicates
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 2017 was won jointly by Lesley Johnson and David Sarabowski.
From May to the end of August we hold the Tony Wood Memorial Trophy for pairs and in 2017 it was won by Janet Tolan and Andy Green..
Lesley and David were also winners of one of our oldest events, the Cheadle Royal Cup held from September to the end of December 2017
During the course of 2017 the format has been a short lesson followed by a supervised duplicate session. Michael Byrne, one of England’s most successful players, 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. Attendance has been fairly consistent during the year at about 5-8 tables but with the cost of the teaching staff it has certainly been an evening well subsidised by the club.
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 2017, Lesley Johnson was winner of the Club Championship making her Club Champion two years in a row. This, in itself, rates as an excellent achievement but especially so with Lesley’s brave struggle to overcome the disabling effects of motor- neuron disease.
During 2017 it was nice to see some of the less experienced players join the sessions and it is essential for the continuation of our flagship duplicate that more such players support it on a regular basis.
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 Michael 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 was won for the second year running 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 and this was also won by Nicolas.
The club continues to encourage less experienced players to participate in the Manchester League and in 2017 more than half the teams in the bottom two divisions came from the club.
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 2017 the Ruia was won by Boris Ewart, Phil Callow, Peter Foster and John Roberts. The Eve Lighthill Trophy was won by Bhim Ruia, Paul Hackett, Jason Hackett, Barbara Hackett, Ollie Burgess, Richard Bowdery and Adrian Kenworthy.
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 2017, the winner of the Martin Braid Memorial Event was Jeff Smith’s team (Jeff Smith, Jackie Pye, Alan Mould, and John Holland) and the Michelle Brunner Memorial was won by Jim Luck, John Morrell, Marianne Farr and Peter Jones. The Michelle event attracted 21 teams and £2000 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 £500 for the British Heart Foundation. The next Martin Braid Memorial event will take place on Sunday 4th March 2018 at 1.45 pm for a 2.00 pm start. The next Michelle Brunner Memorial will be on Saturday 21st July 2018 at 12.45 pm for a 1.00 pm start.
The University Bridge Society has been very active in Manchester but is dependent on an influx of new players each year. Sadly 2017 has been a bad year with the Bridge Society being absent from Freshers week. However, former students Henry Bissell, Josh Clarke and Rocky Bullin have all been active in the club and have all qualified as Club Tournament Directors. In February 2017 the students used the club for a bridge marathon and raised the magnificent sum of £650 in aid of The Wellspring, a charity which supports the homeless and disadvantaged in this area.
Quite a few of the students regularly work and play in the club and it is a pleasure to encourage them. Three now attend Under 25 national training weekends and Josh Roberts attends the Under 20 training sessions.
Most afternoons there is usually a game or two of rubber bridge with stakes of 50p and above. It is increasingly difficult organising games as the pool of players is diminishing. In the last year one of the club’s keenest rubber bridge players and a great friend, Gary Wallman, passed away after fighting illness for many years.
We have a lot of improvers in the club and many are keen to attend Ollie’s workshops on Sunday afternoons which have proved extremely popular during all of 2017.
Other Club Events
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 up in numbers compared to last year (thirteen tables compared to ten in 2016) and there was a good standard field. The winners in 2017 were Justin Hackett and Martin Taylor.
Peter Ader Trophy
A one session pairs for this trophy in memory of Peter Ader was won by Barbara Lewis and Eve Lighthill on the last Wednesday before Christmas.
International Bridge and National Bridge
I have produced an appendix of success stories of Club Players in 2017. The highlights are the pair of World Championship Silver Medals won by Catherine Draper in the Venice Cup and the World Mind Sports Games and the success of the Hackett team in winning the NEC cup in Japan.
We are also immensely proud to report that one of the Club’s most successful players, John Holland, has been inducted into the European Bridge League’s Hall of Fame during the course of the European Championships held in the summer.
In National events there has been unprecedented success for individual players. Michael Byrne has had an amazing year winning a host of events including the National Swiss Teams Congress and the Hubert Phillips Bowl and coming second in the Premier League thus getting a game playing for England in the Camrose Trophy. Ollie Burgess was also part of the winning Hubert Phillips team and winner of the Easter Festival in London playing with David Bakshi. John Holland won the Great Northern Pairs in Leeds playing with Clive Owen.
In teams competitions we are immensely proud to record a fifth win for Manchester Bridge Club in the Garden Cities Trophy.
Manchester Bridge Club as a Venue
The club continues to be a venue for some of Manchester County Bridge Association’s competitions. In 2017 the club hosted the Cantor Cup, the Higson Cup and Plate, the Intermediate Swiss Pairs and the Ben Franks. Also we staged one of the Premier League weekends and the President’s Cup (a regional inter-county competition).The club also hosted a number of Northern Bridge League Matches but will not do so in 2018 unless there is an emergency requirement.
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. I am sorry that two members of the Committee were unable to continue during the year and would like to thank Mike Green and Ann Thornton for their valuable contributions to the Committee.
In conclusion I would like to wish members of the club a Happy and Healthy New Year.
APPENDIX OF RESULTS FOR 2017
Catherine Draper won a silver medal in the final of the Venice Cup (World women’s teams championships) held in Lille in August 2017.She then won another silver in the World Elite Mind Sports Championships held in China earlier this month.
European Bridge League – Hall of Fame
John Holland was inducted into the Hall of Fame at the European Championships held in the summer of 2017.
NEC CUP – Yokohama (Japan)
This top class international teams’ competition held in February was won by a team including Paul and Jason Hackett.
The England Under 21 team captained by Michael Byrne were runners up in the 2017 Channel Trophy, held over the weekend of 16-17th December. Alex Birchall played in the Under-26 team which also finished 2nd.
Manchester Bridge Players have done very well in National Events. The main highlights are:
- Michael Byrne finished second in Division 1 so automatically plays for England in the first Camrose weekend in 2018.
- Jeff Morris’s team of John Hassett, Catherine Draper, Andrew Woodcock, Tom Slater and Alec Smalley finished 2nd in Div 2 so are promoted in 2018 to Division 1.
- Ollie Burgess’s team are promoted to Division 2 from Division 3.
The Manchester team finished runners up the Pachabo held in June 2017. Well done to John Hassett, Jeff Morris, Catherine Draper and Andrew Woodcock. This completes a remarkable run where Manchester have come 2nd, 1st , 2nd and 2nd in the last four years.
The Manchester Bridge Club team of Edward Levy, Robert Myers, Jeff Morris, John Hassett, David Debbage, Michael Newman, Rhona and Bernard Goldenfield won the National Final held in Coventry in June 2017. This was the fifth win for Manchester Bridge Club which now puts Manchester Bridge Club and Coventry Bridge Club equal on the number of wins.
National League Final
The National County Teams of Eight finals took place at Solihull on Sunday 9th July 2017 at Coventry Bridge Club. The finals are held between the winners of the Northern League, Southern League, Eastern Counties, Midlands League and Western League. Congratulations to the B team of Eve Lighthill / Ken Hassell, Robert & Joyce Jones, Gillian McMullan / Neil Thomas, Peter Foster / John Roberts who won the B division. In the A division Alan Mould / Michael Newman, Alec Smalley / Tom Slater, Kath & Alan Nelson, Bernard & Rhona Goldenfield were second.
In the 2017 Gold Cup, Ed Levy’s team of four (David Debbage , John Hassett and Jeff Morris) lost in the quarter final to the Number 1 seeds Alexander Alfrey (Andrew Robson, Mike Bell, Tony Forrester)
In 2017 the final was played at Manchester Bridge Club as both the teams in the final have close links to the club. The winners were Michael Byrne’s team (Ollie Burgess, Fiona Brown and Hugh McGann) who beat Jeff Smith team (Jackie Pye, John Holland and Alan Mould)
Eastbourne Pairs and Teams
The EBU's main congress of the year took place from 4th to 13th August.
- In the Swiss Pairs played over the first weekend Alan Nelson and John Holland were fourth and Kath Nelson and Jeff Smith were eighth.
- In the Senior's pairs Bernard and Rhona Goldenfield were second with John Holland and Alan Nelson in third place.
- Michael Byrne won the GCH Fox pairs with Jonathan Richards.
- In the Mixed Pivot Teams John Holland, Peter Jones and Raymond Semp were second playing with Karen Harris.
- Michael Byrne won the Thursday Open Pairs with Karen Harris.
- Bernard and Rhona Goldenfield, Alan and Kath Nelson won the Seniors Swiss Teams.
- Michael Byrne and Rhona Goldenfield were second in the Mixed Pairs.
- John Holland and Michael Byrne won the point a board teams with Mike and Sarah Bell.
- And finally Michael Byrne rounded off a very successful week by winning the Four Star Teams with Kieran Dyke, Mike Bell, Sarah Bell and Marion Robertson
Manchester were run away winners of a very strong qualifying group in November 2017. Well done to John Holland & Gary Hyett, Michael Byrne & Michael Newman, Jeff Morris & John Hassett and Catherine Draper and Andrew Woodcock.
MANCHESTER AREA EVENTS
Manchester Congress 2017
Merville Goldstone Trophy
Jeff Morris’s team of John Hassett, Catherine Draper and Andrew Woodcock defeated Michael Byrne in the final
Green Point Teams
26 pairs played in this event on Sunday 3rd December. Michael Byrne and Michael Newman were comfortable winners.
Higson Cup and Plate