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Geraldine Turns "40".

Friday September 8th saw Geraldine Bridge Club celebrate its 40th anniversary, with somewhat appropriately about 40 members celebrating the occasion with a pot luck dinner.

The club was founded in 1977 by Anne and Colin Ussher and now meets at the Geraldine Bowling Club.

Current President Helen Rinaldi traced the club’s history. She said it soon outgrew its original home at the Anglican Church Sunday School and moved to the community centre, the home of the current library. She said it was so cold there during the winter months that members played with blankets over their knees.

Such problems seem to have been solved by the move to the pavilion. Yet, the stairs there became an issue, which even the installation of a lift did not solve as one night, a member got stuck in the lift and had to be rescued by the fire service. Thus, the club moved to its present premises.

Foundation member, Eileen Lyon, presented a trophy on behalf of herself and her late husband, Don. She said that Geraldine “is a very happy club and I feel privileged to be a member. I enjoy helping new players and bridge is a good way of making friends. Aged 95, I find playing bridge keeps my brain active.”

Helen Rinaldi accepted the trophy on the club’s behalf  (pictured above left accepting the trophy from Eileen Lyon) and said “the trophy would be awarded to the most improved player each year to encourage beginning players.”

Eileen Lyon and Colin Coulter Geraldine 17.JPG

Foundation members, Eileen Lyon and Colin Coulter            

Naturally, after dessert, members played a few hands of bridge.

The club has 65 members, a small increase on the 2016 figure and is the sixth largest of the 11 affiliated clubs in the Canterbury Region. Congratulations, Geraldine.

Geraldine is an active club and in late October put on a Novice Pairs tournament to encourage the large number of new players in the South Canterbury area. On a beautiful South Canterbury day, 14 pairs took part including players coming from Akaroa, Oamaru, Timaru and Waimate as well as the host club. The players loved the friendly atmosphere, the slow pace of the bridge and of course the excellent food.

Canterbury players at the National Congress.

There was not as many as in recent years but they enjoyed themselves. The most successful was Tim Schumacher, winner of the Back to the Future Teams, while his team made the top 16 in the New Zealand Teams. John and David Skipper finished 5th in the New Zealand Pairs Plate while 5th was also where Max Robb finished in the New Zealand Restricted Open Pairs. Richard Lapthorne and Neil Hawkins were 5th in the Back to the Future Teams.

Not everyone can win but here are the comments of two Christchurch players new to the National Congress, Beverley Parlane and Margaret Fraser:

“It was not the daunting experience we thought it would be but a rewarding one from both a bridge and personal perspective. We learnt heaps at the bridge table and met people from all over the country.

We would very much like to thank the Canterbury Regional Committee for their sponsorship and on-going support. It has been a fantastic journey for both of us.

We would encourage players who have not been to Congress to put their names forward in 2018 for sponsorship. The experience is something every keen bridge player should aspire to.”

Regional Tournament Winners

Canterbury Regional Pairs at Ashburton proved to be a happy hunting ground for Fiona Temple and John Kruiniger. They started slowly, put together a steady 66.25% in the second round and had a champagne 70.88% to finish off the day in style. They won by nearly 12% from Michael Hume and Chris Bras.

October was a good month for Christchurch’s Brian Goulter. He partnered Pam Tibble to success in the Christchurch All Grades and two weeks later won Crockfords Open Pairs by 12% with Max Robb. Mary and Mike Small did even better in the Crockfords Intermediate Pairs on the same day. Their two session average was 66.76%, finishing over 16% ahead of Jack Lyons and Ken Johns.

Lifestyle Expo

An enthusiastic group of members of the Christchurch and Crockfords clubs promoted our game at the Lifestyle Expo on 30th September and 1st October. Their presence was well received and enquires were numerous. The reward will hopefully be a good attendance at the clubs’ beginners’ sessions….

Numbers on the up..

We have already heard of a good crop of new players in the South Canterbury area. Crockfords’ too are showing healthy signs number-wise. Previously, the club’s Home Club players was just under 300 but recently the number rose to 333. That’s very encouraging. Remember to tell a friend or three about the game…and “encourage” them to go to a beginners’ group at your local club.

Richard Solomon

Thanks to Geraldine President, Helen Rinaldi, Crockfords President Peter Van Leeuwen and Christchurch Club Manager, Susan Edwards, for some of the above stories.


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