Waikato Bays Christmas Cheer News from Anna Kalma
Our newest Gold Grand Master: Kathy Yule from Matamata recently joined the exclusive group of 40 members (including her husband Ken). She responded to the request for some background on her bridge career…
Kathy with her ‘gold card’
When and why did you start playing bridge?
I started playing bridge when I moved to Invercargill in about 1977. I was Kathy Willcox then, and my aunty Edna insisted I learn to play. She had a group of improvers who went to her place on Tuesday nights and I learnt to play there with Terry Lawson and Manahi Maaka who she also roped in.
I met Noel [Grigg … Matamata’s newest Grandmaster] in about 1981 and we became regular partners in a group of Steve Boughey, Paula Cameron Boughey, Tony Hinkley, Noel, Fergus More, me, John Lonie and Thelma Shepherd now known as Kate Ramsay.
In those days we sat around after bridge when everyone stayed for a drink. We scored the results on travellers which went around the room with the boards and was in the scoring team before computers. We prided ourselves in getting the results out in ten minutes.
We all sat around studying the travellers and learning more from each other and some of the best players. Max Skerrett, who passed away recently, was a great mentor.
Results were displayed on huge big boards. We had 2 big ones and a small one for the bottom 3 pairs overall which sat on the piano. Our goal was to get off the piano.
I scored my first A points with Steve Boughey and was immediately unable to play Junior or Intermediate tournaments. You only got A points for your final result so in a 5A point tournament, you had to win to get 5As. No session A points like there are now.
How did you juggle work, bridge and parenthood in the early days in Invercargill?
Do you really want me to write about how I left my kids in the bassinet in the corridor outside the playing room at Congress? And when the Chinese bus load of women took my blond child away without me knowing so they could play with her hair? Or when I stood in for Michael Ware’s partner who was late for a tournament at Hamilton and breastfed the baby whilst playing? Or that Joyce Nicholson’s book ,"Why women lose at bridge" was my bible?
Okay then onto the next question … Who were your regular partners over the years and your memorable results?
I played my first trial with Trish Evans in 1986 in Christchurch where the Association ran an Open to anyone, butler trial and then later Sue Thorpe. I first represented NZ in 1987 playing with Sue and then played with Jan Cormack, Karen Cumpstone , Sue Weal, Rose Don and then back to Jan until her retirement from serious competition.
The NZ APBF women’s team in 1990
rear: Andy Braithwaite (npc), Vivien Cornell, Lorraine Boyd, Elizabeth Blackham, Paula Bryant
front: Kathy Yule and Jan Cormack
I moved to Dunedin from Christchurch to live with Ken and started playing in tournaments occasionally together.
My first major tournament success was winning the inaugural NZ Intermediate Pairs with Noel Grigg in Dunedin in the early 80’s. We came in a car with 2 others (nameless) who wanted to get home back to Invercargill without waiting for the results and because we knew we had won, we became stranded in Dunedin.
I attended a women’s training squad run my Malcolm Mayer and Lionel Wright in the early 90’s.
I spent many years playing bridge in Australia with Sue Weal, often qualifying for the Australian playoffs but couldn’t play in them because of residency issues. Most of those A points were not transferred but when I was diagnosed with cancer, Noel had a conversation about the missing A points earned there. So, Alister sorted it out and transferred them recently.
I played in the Olympiad in Salsomaggiore in Italy. At the time women weren’t allowed to play for NZ if they were pregnant. So, I had to keep mum about that until after the event.
I have played in Olympiads, Venice Cup and the APBF many times between 1987 and the mid 2000’s. So, I represented NZ in 4 different decades. I hung up my international playing boots when Jan retired.
My most memorable tournament was winning the NZ Teams playing with Sam Simpson, Pat Carter and Ken.
I was diagnosed with cancer a year ago and been playing bridge this year while I was having chemotherapy which knocked me around … but still managed to win the Coffs Harbour Swiss Pairs for the second time while suffering from many side effects.
I have been a member of the following clubs: Invercargill, Waikato, Hamilton, Dunedin, Christchurch, Akarana, Tauranga and Matamata.
Is that enough for you?
Yep – thanks and Congratulations Kathy and all the best for your continued recovery from cancer. You have a lot more anecdotes which I can’t publish but make for an entertaining ride home from tournaments😊
Xmas Party Wrap
Two households to visit at Christmas (hams all round)
Blair and Liz Fisher at Huntly Kathy and Ken Yule (with Santa Heini Lux) at Rotorua
The flurry of Xmas parties ended in Huntly last weekend with a triumph for Blair and Liz Fisher. They grabbed the early advantage with 73% in the morning session but with very good reason they weren’t taking any chances that they would have done enough for the win (they scored around 70% at the Thames and Waikato tournaments but didn’t keep it up in the afternoon session). Happily, it was to be their day this time guaranteeing victory with a very solid 61% in the afternoon ensuring a comfortable win and thus took home the last ham on offer for the year.
The previous week was the popular Rotorua tournament. It was the turn of another married couple, Kathy and Ken Yule, to take the top spot with a consistently awesome two sessions of 65% or thereabouts. While it is the tactics of some spouses to split up in the bid to maximise their chances of taking home at least one ham … it was double or nothing for Kathy and Ken. Looks like their Christmas is sorted!
Meanwhile we skip back another week to the Waikato Christmas Party – the only tournament on the Waikato Club calendar which is well supported by a maximum number of 20 tables. It was a double celebration for the winners, Karen Martelletti and Kate Terry of Tauranga. Kate revealed in her acceptance speech that Karen had earned the requisite 6 B points required to get her into Silver GM territory. Well done, Karen😊
Silver at Waikato Overcoming the heat at Te Awamutu
That's new Silver Grand Master, Karen Immune from the heat were Kate McFadyen
Martelletti and Kate Terry and Kevin Whyte
Back from the future another week saw another sold out tournament in Te Awamutu where another capacity field hotly contested the prize hams.
Hotly contested is the operative statement … Part of the way into the first session the lights went out … and the air conditioning (on perhaps the hottest day of the year)… shouldn’t be an issue but a few enquiries by director Nick Cantlon revealed widespread power cuts in the area with reconnection TBA. Showing great initiative the Te Awamutu club leapt into action with bbq’s and thermos to ensure we got a hot cuppa tea at the lunch break. We didn’t get our personal score sheet for the first session at the lunchbreak and the contingency was there to make sure the famous Christmas dinner still went ahead … luckily late in the second session the lights came back on and everybody breathed a sigh of relief that we should be able to score up at the end of play … not least Kate McFadyen and Kevin Whyte from Cambridge who came out tops (as well as those in the kitchen)!
Finally in reverse order, onto the first Xmas tournament of the year at the Thames club. It was still mid-November. So we were still struggling with the idea of tinsel and festive cheer but the meal and atmosphere were fantastic … another sold out event (maybe next year we should just hold Xmas tournaments to ensure maximum participation). The eventual winners were Yuzhong Chen and Gary Foidl both from Waikato. Great also to see young director William Harlow also from the Waikato Club taking on tournament directing and doing a great job.
Tops at Thames
Yuzhong Chen and Gary Foidl
Peter Snell and his connection to Waikato Bays bridge
Legendary athlete and Olympic gold medal winner Peter Snell sadly passed away last week following a short illness. Our condolences go out to the Snell family including his sister Mary Berry who still is an active playing member of the Te Awamutu club.
Peter’s mother and father were founding members of the Te Aroha Bridge Club that was incorporated in 1953.
A few years ago when we were in the process of rejuvenating Te Aroha Bridge, Jane Stearns contacted Peter for his support for the club and memories about the game … he wrote back to her:
"Mum loved the game and was still competitive in Pukekohe at the age of 90! I was taught the Culbertson system as a teenager (in Te Aroha) but never played outside the home until University and recently on a QE2 cruise ship where I played my first game of duplicate. I am working on convincing my wife to take a series of lessons with me in the hope she will get over her fear of looking silly and not being able to remember the cards that have been played.
Margaret Snell, Peter's mother The Snell family home in Te Aroha that hosted
loads of bridge parties in the 1950's
I recall that Mum held bridge parties fairly frequently in our old house on the corner of Shakespeare St and Centennial Ave. Dad played, more to do an activity that Mum enjoyed so much, rather than being a big enthusiast of the game. It is clearly apparent that I inherited my competitiveness from my mother who frequently discussed her triumphs at the Pukekohe Bridge Club.
When I lived in Auckland, the secretary of Butland Industries for whom I worked was Bruce Bell, one of NZ's top players, who knew my mother through bridge.
Good luck with resuscitating the Te Aroha Bridge Club.
With best regards,
All the best from the Waikato Bays committee … we look forward to seeing you in the New Year at the Thames Summer Festival … 11-12th January … book your spot online at: www.nzbridge.co.nz/events.html
and this will be the last Regional News for a few weeks. The weekly reporting will resume in early February. Thanks to all the reporters who put in a lot of effort to cover events in their region.