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There is always a surfeit of Teams Events in the Waikato Bays at the start of the year, culminating (for a few months at least) with the Kelly Peirse Teams in Rotorua.   This was held last weekend with 30 teams signing up to the 10A event.   

It was also one of the first times I’ve seen car park monitors directing traffic (there was a clash with the start of a 10km walk/jog through the nearby Redwood forest … so there was an interesting mix of people and attire in the carpark.)   Luckily for us, the bridge punters got priority with the parking thanks to the Rotorua Bridge Club stalwarts (Heini Lux and Alan Dick who were quite selective in who they let through the coned cordon).

Winners were Michael Ware, Matt Brown, Jeter Liu and George Sun of Akarana who were never really challenged until the final match against Andi Boughey, Carol Richardson, Wayne Burrows and Clair Miao who ended up spoiling team Ware’s perfect winning run with a 1 imp swing in favour of team Burrows … but not enough to make up the deficit.

Mt Maunganui held their 3A which was well attended with 38 pairs entered  – most just coming for a jolly nice lunch but some were a bit more competitive.     In the morning Kate Terry and Judy Pawson topped the field with 67% and the afternoon victory went to Liz and Blair Fisher with 68%.    We knew it would be close in the final wash up… but a dead heat was a surprise in such a large field.  

Liz and Blair Judy Pawson Kate Terry.jpg                 Allan Joseph.jpg
The joint winners at "The Mount". There are          Allan Joseph, improving our directors' knowledge 
Liz, Judy and Kate...and if you can spot him, Blair

A whip around the  regional clubs' websites for news provided me with a mix of competitions, lessons and social events including the following;

Waikato Bays hosted Allan Joseph from Wellington to provide a directors workshop in Cambridge and Rotorua for  budding club and tournament directors in the region. It was a hands on practical workshop which instilled in the participants the opportunity to be able to confidently explain Law 23  “"The same, similar, or more precise meaning or a call of similar purpose" (comparable call for anybody still puzzled).

The Cambridge club organised their annual “bridge on the lawn” day which attracted 10 full tables from the club playing in the back garden under the trees at one of their member's houses.    A round of bridge followed by the arrival of partners (real life ones) and a bbq sounded like a great way to spend an afternoon and also include the oft neglected non-playing bridge members of the family.

Cambridge open air bridge.jpg
"Windless" bridge al fresco in Cambridge

Lesson Time

It’s the time of year when lessons are kicking off clubs around the region and bridge teachers turn into that crazy bridge person who corners people in the supermarket and contacts vague acquaintances to give them a ‘heads up’ about lessons  … reports are that Omokoroa, a club with a membership base of just over 30 members, has done a great job in recruiting around 25 learners to their lessons with the support of Eunice Eccles (Regional Bridge Mate) and we look forward to hearing about their progress.    Te Aroha have had a good muster of around 20 at their first lessons although it does help when you receive a phone call from one prospect saying  “I would like to learn bridge … but  is it okay if I bring 6 friends along to lessons?”   The perfect recruit but the lessons do tend to get a bit rowdy! 

The top picture shows lesson time at Te Aroha with a few young’uns (albeit all related to a Kalma!)

Lesson enticement and recruitment has been a focus for most clubs who are looking to attract members, grow their club and battle the churn rate.     While it is great to get bums on seats as the first step in achieving membership growth, there are many more drivers of satisfaction for club members in order to retain and engage our members.  

The "drivers" of Bridge

My final word is actually a picture … a chart lists the seven drivers of satisfaction from a study done by the NZ Sport Foundation that  I think is equally relevant to the sport of bridge and create a positive club member experience for all bridge players😊  

chart Seven riders of sport.png

 The symbols represented (from the top and in clockwise order) are: Decent Facilities, Great Coaches, Good Communications, Fulfilling Potential, Friendly and Welcoming, Professionalism and Expertise and Good Social Environment.




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