We had planned to return in September; flyers and posters had been distributed, the parents informed, the juniors ready and the boards duly dealt and stacked and then – Boris moved the goalposts and it was all off!
However, one of Boris’s problems in this life is that he tends to move the metaphoric goalposts backwards, forwards or sideways before we’ve blinked and absorbed the previous set of instructions! Indeed, no sooner had we cancelled the sessions than this clause appeared on the Government website:
There are exceptions where groups can be larger than 6 people. These include:
- for work, or the provision of voluntary or charitable services
- registered childcare, education or training
- supervised activities provided for children, including wraparound care, youth groups and activities, and children’s playgroups
OPT Trustee, Julie Anderson, decided emphatically that the Oxford Junior Bridge Club (OJBC) fell into these categories and so, it was all on again and on Sunday 4th October, at 2.30pm we opened the doors to eleven juniors, including a new family eager to learn.
The layout looks a little different, with four bridge tables pushed together to create one huge table, but the Oxford Bridge Club is the ideal design to have one large table in each of the small rooms and two large ones in their main playing area at the back of the building.
We, the volunteers, were all ready to be strict about hand washing, sanitising and social distancing but, of course, the juniors are accustomed to all this from school and nobody needed reminding. We took our tea breaks table by table and, again, this was second nature to the children; it was the adults who were in danger of too much socialising!
Our first learn and play session went as happily and smoothly as ever and we fervently hope to continue until 6th December. At the end of the afternoon, almost every junior and parent expressed their pleasure at being back playing face to face bridge. One junior even said:
"Today was more fun than online learning- you have a funny face and voice on Zoom, Holly!"
The Oxford Junior Bridge Club has been running every Sunday afternoon, 2.30 – 4.30pm during term time since September 2014. We are modest about our successes, but Henry Rose was our first pupil and many of our other pupils have represented England in the youth teams.
However, equally importantly, a large number of juniors have come to us, over the years, and learned the basics of bidding, play and defence and have hugely enjoyed the game and our friendly sessions, which are run entirely by volunteers. Many of our pupils and former pupils play regularly and successfully in adult club sessions.
Holly Kilpatrick, 25th October 2020