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Staffs/Shrops (Away) 10/11/2019

Report by John Auld      


Captain Goddard had his problems finding a Dawes team for this match. Apart from the usual non availability  two late withdrawals meant that eventually he formed a scratch pairing with Keith Rodgers to accompany three more usual partnerships.

To be fair to Staffs & Shrops they had their own problems with star players occupied by the Premier league (the bridge, not Liverpool v Man City).


The match results were a welcome win for the Dawes team (16-4), and two narrow losses in the Porter and Markham matches (9-11 & 8-12). The Porter players were down by 80 imps with one set to go but battled back to near parity.


The teams with cross-imps:



Sandy Fulton & John Rolph               29.28

Irene & John Auld                            23.92

Lloyd Eagling & Stan Zydaglo            9.52

Mark Goddard & Keith Rodgers         -5.05


Patrick Gaudert & Pravin Tailor        16.18

Graham Lee & Frank Ball                   11.75

Keith Spencer & Richard Lightfoot     -6.56

Shirley Ashtari & Richard Milne         -31.91


Nick Clarke & Wendy Walker            18.40

Peter & Margaret Savage                  -2.07

Sue McIntosh & Phil Cooper             -5.04

Louise Scull & Mervyn Jones            -17.90


Which means that Sandy & John were the best pair on the day.


There was a curious disparity between the teams on board 16:


All four Dawes pairs reached 6  as East West, which looks obvious (notwithstanding that 6N and 6♠  are also cold). However at no other  table was a slam bid and made. A couple of 7♣  sacrifices (which should not show a profit) and a collection of Heart contracts completed the picture. Sadly one sacrifice was against the non making 6  which graphically illustrates the problems with high level saves.

Presumably many East Wests allowed themselves to be bullied out of bidding diamonds by the club barrage. In the sequence shown John Rolph introduced diamonds at the 5 level leading to Sandy making a grand slam try with 6♣ . John declined that, appreciating that a void opposite stiff Ace had limited value.

Board 15 presented the opportunity to illustrate a familiar theme: 



My partner never likes to venture one of a suit if a four level bid is available and her 4  worked perfectly. Not many people would come in over that and 10 tricks were easy. Starting 1  is risky- it could easily be passed out - and the problem with 2C (or 2D playing Benji) is shown by events at John & Sandy's table. After 2♣ -pass-2 , Sandy bid 3  which led inevitably to 5  by John and 5H from the oppos. One off. You may miss a slam by starting high but more often you prevent a competitive auction which you may lose. Many players are unconvinced by this argument so I will refer them to Andrew Robsons article in todays Times (11/11/19).


That was a nice 7 card heart suit and board 11 was a nice 8 card heart suit:


After partners weak 2D I toyed with the idea of bidding 2♠ . When 4  arrived I almost bid 4♠  on auto pilot before reflecting that I had defence and no idea about partners spades, A diamond lead ,club back and two more diamonds was a quick one off as I made   K. It has to be that defence- if West gets in he knows from the bidding to drop  K. 4♠  was often bid, someimes doubled (as it should be), and sometimes led to 5 .

What next for the heart suit?

Yes board 17 featured a 9 card heart suit. I understand that a nine carder happens every 2000 deals. Nobody has told the dealing machines.

Partner saw that her clubs (Q763) were bettter than her diamonds (Q753) and duly led the wrong minor. The strong NoTrumpers opened 1  and got the right lead. Its not all about skill.


Thanks to Staffs & Shrops for hosting the match, It was played in a good spirit throughout.