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SCBA 40th anniversary
Phillip Edwards and Malcolm Carey

For many years (since the 1920’s or 1930’s it is believed), the Suffolk Contract Bridge Association had lain dormant, and most of Suffolk was subsumed into Essex.

In 1979, a number of interested parties met in Colchester, with a view to restarting the association. This was driven by the feeling that the Eastern end of Essex had far more affinity with Suffolk than with Essex (indeed all parts of Essex west of Witham had been due to “move” into Suffolk as part of local government boundary change proposals in 1974, only to be quashed when it was realised that the University of Essex would need a change of Charter to enable these changes).

Two members of that original group, Malcolm Carey and Phillip Edwards are still (very) active in the County. Other founder members, whom some of you may remember, were Claude Stokes, Mike Moseley, Martin King, Alan (Happy) Day, Phil O’Gorman and Jim Pettit. 
The above helps to explain why Colchester and Frinton Bridge Clubs are affiliated to Suffolk rather than Essex! Beccles and Lowestoft clubs remained with their long affiliation to 
Norfolk, where they are more logically pointed.

At its inauguration, there were around 240 members, of whom 188 played in the Winter Leagues…this was an unprecedented proportion of members which many County Associations which existed at that time were in awe of!

At its inauguration, there were around 240 members, of whom 188 played in the Winter Leagues, with divisions 1, 2 North, 2 South, 3 North, 3 South and 4, all of 8 teams except we couldn’t quite get the 48thteam to fill the last slot in division 4. This was an unprecedented proportion of members which many County Associations which existed at that time were in awe of! With the advent of P2P (Pay to Play) the county now stands at around 1000 “members”, who played over 33,000 club sessions between them over the last year

Early Swiss Teams competitions were held at BT Research Labs at Martlesham “courtesy of the Director of Research” with 50 teams taking part and by Framlingham Bridge Club at Wilby thanks to Jack Barnard.  These events were run solely to raise finances for the SCBA in its early days.


BT at Martlesham where competitons were held

Of note over the intervening years has been the names of our Treasurers – Leonard Sterling, followed for a short interim spell by Frank Money, you really couldn’t make that up!
A member of the committee in the late 1980s and early 1990s was Anna Gudge (formerly Brabner), who went on to run the BBL, which organised International matches and the Camrose and Lady Milne home countries internationals (several of which were run at The Mill Hotel in Sudbury) for many years until that body was disbanded, and evolved into Ecats bridge.

There was an excellent and thriving quarterly A5 magazine produced, called Table Talk, originally edited and printed (and generously paid for) by Mike Moseley, then by Claude Stokes, and later by Jane Moore then Norman Less and finally Richard Evans. With the onset of the “digital age” Table Talk has been superseded by the SCBA website, from where you are reading this article!. It also featured guest articles from prominent players of the era, especially Bob Rowlands.
Most of the Competitions the Association runs today were started at that time, with trophy names such as “The Jim Pettit Cup”, and the obscure “Ida Frost Bowl” – that having been provided by Mike Moseley, dedicated to an elderly relative of his who introduced him to the game of Bridge.

Teams of Suffolk players had some moderate successes in national competitions especially in the early years, including Crockford’s Cup finalists, Silver Plate Finalists, and progression to the later rounds of the Gold Cup, and the Hubert Phillips (a national competition for mixed teams).
The Felixstowe Congress was started as an unashamed copy of the format of the Clacton Congress, being the very successful County Congress run by Essex, that event having been led and organised by Claude Stokes and Frinton Bridge Club on behalf of the Essex Bridge Association.

I hope you have enjoyed reading this “glimpse of history”, the majority of which is from my own memory, so only gentle screams about any perceived inaccuracies please!

Phillip Edwards