Sunday, 23 November 2014

National League - Second Weekend (just before the end)

Updated just after 11pm on November 23 (on the train home from the pub): Sime managed to beat Morrison by enough in the last match to win the league. Frazer Morgan and Phil Stephens have been picked as the third pair to supplement their team in the first Camrose weekend in January.

So, that was the second weekend of the National League. My partner didn’t manage to make it to the end of the weekend, so I only ended up playing 5 rounds, but this meant that I had a chance to sit and watch the “high quality” bridge in the first division for a round (I’m actually writing this as the last round of the first division happens). Harry Smith’s team won the second division quite comfortably in the end (as predicted). Bouverie sneaked the second promotion spot by .26 of a VP. My team sneaked 5th place, although we missed our goal of finishing above average, managing just 176/360.

Going into the last round of the first division, Piper leads by just over 4 VPs from Sime. Sime are playing Morisson, who currently sit in third place, and Piper playing Hay, who are sitting 8th, and already relegated - in theory this should give Piper a slightly easier match, so they're probably favourites to maintain their lead, but of course anything can happen in this game, cliché, cliché, cliché. The other exciting match in the First Division is Punch vs Short, with Sam, Stephen, Brian and Paul needing a pretty big win in order to keep themselves from getting relegated to the second division.

I watched Morisson play Piper in the previous match, sitting between Phil Stephens and Jun. There was some… interesting… play at that table. Including at one point a defender thinking he’d won a trick, asking declarer “didn’t you play a club on that last trick”, only to be told that clubs were trumps. On another board, someone discarded a trump on his partner’s winner. This was only topped by Phil and Jun’s efforts on board 1 of the set, in which they had the auction below.

Except… Phil and Jun took their cards out of the box after Phil passed 2H, and passed the tray back empty, not giving their partners the chance to actually pass it out - so on the other side of the screen, the auction was...

The director's decision was to scrap the board, as both South and West were at fault. 

One thing that was slightly frustrating was the fact that we were playing different boards from the first division, but I understand it's difficult to organise for these to be the same (as they play slightly longer matches, and for logistical reasons, it's useful to stagger things like the scoring up, and the lunch breaks).

Overall, it's been good. I've definitely preferred playing in a team of 6 to playing in a team of 4 - it has given me enough time to actually pay attention to all of the boards - by the time it got to the end of the Sunday last weekend, I was pretty much just following suit automatically (as you can see if you look at our result from that match). This time, though, I felt I was pretty sharp for most of the weekend. I suspect I'll try and play again next year, as this is one of the few events in Scottish bridge with a consistently strong (by Scottish standards), although I suspect we won't be in the same team, and I'm not sure Norman will be keen, so I'll probably be looking for someone to play with.