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Vale Bob Scott by John Wignall

It is my sad duty to record the death of Bob Scott, certainly one of our better players.

He had been diagnosed with bowel cancer in February 2016 and stoically endured a long period of chemotherapy etc  from which he emerged in what we all thought was good shape. But a tumour had developed on the brain and there was no way forward after that.

Robert Douglas Scott was born in Musselburgh Scotland just after the end of the Second World War when life was tough and not much fun. Not surprisingly a few years later the family emigrated to Otago.

Bob had a very quick brain and took to sports and games easily. He played Rugby and retained a life long interest in the game. As a boy he played a good game of Chess(he used to claim that on the boat that brought him here his father earned his beer money by backing Bob against much older opponents), and he was useful at darts and snooker. But when, at Otago University, he discovered Bridge, he had found his home.

He played a lot with Stephen Burgess before moving to Christchurch where he enjoyed a long and successful partnership with Michael Sykes. One year they played in the four major events of the National Congress, the Rubber Bridge Final, the Pairs, the Interprovincial Teams and the New Zealand Teams of Four, winning three of them and finishing second in the fourth. An achievement never equalled.

Scott Dewar Sykes Wignall.JPG

A winning team: Bob with Phil Dewar, Michael Sykes and John Wignall

When he reached the qualifying age, he invited me to see if we could rouse some interest in Seniors Bridge. So I came out of retirement for the third time. Together we played in one World Seniors Championship, three PABF Championships, a number of Australian events and, the highlight , two Yeh Bros Cups .It was always great fun. We were never World Class but with a combined age of about 150 years, we held our own against some pretty good pairs.

Bob was in fact a very good player with  a splendid temperament. He never became rattled and was an excellent partner. He attained the rank of Silver Grand Master, just short of Gold. He was human like all of us so he had his faults. But he was generous, intensely loyal, fun-loving and a great raconteur(though it must be said one or two of the stories would not bear close scrutiny).

He did not quite make his 71st birthday but on the day, at the Christchurch Bridge Club, we held "Bob's Last Shout." where we farewelled one of our finest members.

He leaves behind his beloved wife Marj and son Mark. Our sympathies go out to them and the extended family.

Bob was particularly strong on defence. Watch him in action on this deal where he sat West:

K J 3 2
6 2
J 8 7 6
A Q 10
10 8 7
A 10 4
A K Q 2
9 8 5
W   E
Q 9 5 4
9 5
9 5 3
7 6 4 3
A 6
K Q J 8 7 3
10 4
K J 2
4  by South


It looks a pretty routine 4Heart-small by South - lose a couple of top diamonds, the Heart-smallA and claim? Well, not quite.

Against 4Heart-small Bob led the Diamond-smallK, asking for count. South had bid fairly strongly so when he saw the dummy Bob realised there was virtually no way his partner would have a defensive trick.But there was just a possibility he had a useful card in hearts.

So,on seeing the Diamond-small3 from East at trick one (an odd number of cards) at high speed, he followed with the ace and queen. South ruffed to win trick three and tried a sneaky Heart-smallQ. But Bob pounced with his ace to lead his last diamond. Dummy followed with  the jack, but when East producedHeart-small9, Bob's prayers were answered. The declarer had to over-ruff with the jack so when he cashed the Heart-smallK, Bob's Heart-small10 became high. Another contract had bitten the dust.



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