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Otago- Southland News with Brad Johnston

There have been a few tournaments in the region since Moss last touched base. Seems like as good a time as any to celebrate the winners.


Taieri Junior Pairs 29th September.

7 tables of Juniors played in this event. Wanaka pair Bridget McCaughan and Sonya Adams would have thought they’d have done enough with their 57, 66 (61.63 average); but Otago pair Annemarie Tangney and Steve Moratti squeaked past them to average 62.85% after a blistering 70% in the afternoon session.


Gore Open Pairs 12th October

16 tables made the trek, from as far afield as Invercargill, Queenstown and Dunedin. The Invercargill pair, Lindsay Glover and Greg Buzzard, took out the event with a solid 60.45% average, while Dunedin's Tim Webb and Brad Johnston were second on 59.81%.


Otago/Southland Congress 26-28th October

One of the bigger events on the local calendar, the O/S Congress, always attracts strong competition. While the number of people making the trip to Dunedin wasn’t as high as some other events, each team that turned up was there to play.


Intermediate Pairs

This 10 pair event was won by local pair, Pam Hodgkinson and Judy Russell, with running 60+ scores to average 63.19%. Invercargill pair,Jeff Elton and Jo Smith, finished second, on a more modest 55.79%.


Intermediate Teams

Only 4 teams stumped up for this event (non-Open teams events seem to suffer from a lack of entries in the South), but it meant that each match could be a comfortable 18 boards in length. Keeping with the theme of locals winning, BARRON (Murray Barron, David Larsen, Steve Moratti, Pam Hodgkinson) enjoyed the day with a commanding 52.74 VP total. Second place went to the WHITE team (Jen White (Winton), Sandy Buzzard, Jo Smith, Jeff Elton (Invercargill)


Open Pairs

24 pairs were contesting the Hensman Challenge trophy, and after two of the three sessions it looked like a two-horse race. Locals Chris Ackerley and Arleen Schwartz had bolstered their morning effort with a 70% in the afternoon to be sitting on a comfortable 63.74 average; ahead of Matt Blakeley and Brad Johnston (Dunedin), who were on a solid 62.19% - with third place sitting on a “mere” 55.79%. Disaster struck both pairs in the final session though, neither scoring above 50% and all were wondering “was it enough?”. When the dust settled, the podium was:
3rd Michael Johnstone and Paula Gregory (56.54%)

2nd Chris Ackerley and Arleen Schwartz (57.09%)

1st Matt Blakeley and Brad Johnston (57.51%)


A good showing of form, as Matt and Brad will be competing in the upcoming IPs in Christchurch.

Brad Johnston and Matt.png 
Matt Blakeley and Brad Johnston


Open Teams

12 teams is an awkward number for a 10A Teams, but having two days to play with, Lindsay Gunn decided to run the format of a complete round robin of 10 board matches; for a healthy total of 110 boards. Enough to convincingly find a winner? One would hope.

Throughout the event, the lead changed no fewer than 7 times, between 4 different teams – a sign that the event was being strongly contested by all. In the end, these were the final scores:



Paula Gregory- Michael Johnstone, Moss Wylie- Anne Sommerville, Kevin Skoropada



Margaret Perley, Paul Freeland, Murat Genc- Mindy Wu



Vicki Bouton, Sam and Glenn Coutts, Graeme Stout and Brad Johnston



Ernie Sutton- Jean-Olivier Begouin, Chris Ackerley- Arleen Schwartz


 Commiserations to the SUTTON team who were leading before the last match but who fell down to 4th .

Anne Somerville, Moss, Kevin, Paula Michael.png 
Teams winners, Anne Somerville, Paula Gregory, Kevin Skoropada and Michael Johnston


Gold for Moss


This is a second strong showing from the newly minted Gold Grandmaster Moss Wylie; who recalled this board against Perley as especially crucial in securing their win:
Moss was sitting East against Margaret Perley and Paul Freeland and heard this auction:



South Deals
Both Vul
Q 3
Q 9 5 3 2
K 10 6 5 4
8 6 2
A 4
Q 8 2
J 10 8 5 2
W   E
A K J 10 7 5 4
10 6
J 9
A 3
K J 8 7
A 7 3
K 9 7 6 4
West North East South
Pass 2  2  Pass
Pass 3  3  Pass
4  All pass    

  (1Heart-small was 4+ hearts ,10- 15 hcp and could have a longer minor)

Moss won the opening heart lead with dummy's ace, and immediately finessed the Diamond-small9 breathing a sigh of relief when South won a top honour and not the Diamond-smallT. After cashing their heart winner Paul and Margaret accurately switched to clubs. Moss rose Ace and set about drawing trumps, before exiting the Diamond-smallJ to North. With only hearts and diamonds left, Margaret was forced to either concede a ruff/sluff, or give Moss an entry to dummy’s established Diamond-smallQ. 10 tricks - easy game.


Also of note was the local Peacock team (Lorraine Peacock, Barbara Hutton, Bernadette Van der Lem, Alan Geare), who perhaps performed worse than they would have liked in the event; but had a great record against the stronger teams playing:

Peacock 38 - 16 Thompson (Jeff Thompson, Peter McCaskill, Stephen and Annette Henry)

Peacock 21 - 21 Gregory

Peacock 21 - 19 Bouton

Peacock 23 - 24 Perley


Babich NZ Wide Pairs1st November

By my count, 7 O/S clubs ran a heat of this event. The most successful club in terms of numbers was  Taieri, who had 12 tables playing. They also hosted the most successful regional pairs; as the Regional Ladder was:

3rd Margaret Perley and Paul Freeland, who scored 63.85% at Taieri

2nd Alan and Susan McRae,  64.27% at Winton

1st Glenn Coutts and Brad Johnston, 69.22% at Taieri – which was good for 3rd over the country too.


Congress News

New Zealand Pairs

In the Pairs Qualifying (the true start to Congress for most), Moss Wylie (Invercargill) teamed up with Ishmael Del'monte to comfortably qualify 4th on day 1 with a healthy 59% average. A notably less comfortable qualification was Jean-Olivier Begouin (Queenstown) playing with Brad Johnston (Dunedin); who sneaked in 78th (and just 0.13% ahead of the esteemed editor Richard Solomon – pairs can be a great leveller).


Moss and Jean-Olivier both made the NZ Pairs Finals but sadly finished in the lower-half of the field, while Graeme Stout and Glenn Coutts (both Dunedin) finished up above average in the NZ Pairs Plate. Pride of place in the NZ Pairs went to James Coutts [2nd win in a row] and Shane Harrison (Australia). Although James is currently living in Australia and in the finals of the Australian 2020 Open Team play-off, I still feel that I can milk another year of claiming him as a Dunedinite.


Matchpoint Swiss

This event was more successful for Otago/Southland, with Peter McCaskill (Dunedin) winning while playing with Jeff Thompson (Auckland); and Sam Coutts (Dunedin) playing with Lakshmi Sunderasan (Australia).


New Zealand Teams

92 teams were battling it out for the top 16 spots over 2 days, and from Otago/Southland the dark horse Batchelor (Bruce Batchelor, Greg Buzzard, Harry Shepherd, Kevin Skoropada) from Invercargill surprised everyone with a brilliant run to finish 6th. Also making the cut was the  mainly Dunedin Johnston (Brad Johnston, Vicki Bouton, Glenn Coutts, Graeme Stout, Sam Coutts, Jamie Thompson (Australia)) – who finished 7th; Somerville (Anne Somerville (Invercargill), Jeremy Fraser-Hoskin (Auckland), Chris Ackerley (Dunedin), Mike Pemberton (Australia)) placed a respectable 10th; and Del'Monte (Ishmael, Moss, Paul Dalley, William Zhang (both Australia)) won their last match by 51 IMPs to sneak in at the 15th spot.


Sadly, the knockouts weren’t quite so rosy for the deep South. Somerville scored more imps in their match against the Australian Sebesfi team, but not enough to overcome Sebesfi's carry-forward. Johnston lost a closely fought and pleasant match against the Christchurch based Skipper team. Batchelor went down swinging to another Australian team (Mulley). Del'Monte proved they were here to stay by beating a strong team in Fisher to make the quarter finals, and then Boughey to make the semi-finals, where they lost to the eventual winners Bach. A solid recovery after their ‘qualification scare’ in the Swiss.


Last but not least – Nelson Teams

A few Otago/Southland players made the trek up to Nelson to play the National Open Teams over last weekend. I’m sure they enjoyed themselves; but may have been questioning their decisions after disappointing finishes and delayed flights out. How many people would look forward to having their flight cancelled, then renting a car and driving nearly 800 km through the night down to Dunedin? I know that at least Paul Freeland and Ann Woodhead were pressed enough to do this; and could well imagine that others joined them on their drive (I haven’t heard from them as they’re probably still sleeping off their return journey). 



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