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Northland News with Tania Brown

First in New Zealand: that's Maureen Russ and Vivienne Sexton.

Greetings from the Winterless North yet again.

Doesn’t time fly when you are having fun. My turn again with all the news that is news from the fabulous upper part of NZ.

Whangarei had its AGM on August 30 and it was probably one of the best attended in many years. Hard to believe but I guess, like me, we were all keen on some faces that were not from our homes.

Aside from all of the “business” matters, usual “thank you”s and committee stuff, we were thrilled to have 3 new life members announced. Glenys Barrow, Janice Johnson and Judith Byrne were all acknowledged for the many years of hard work both in front and behind the scenes each of them has done for the Whangarei Bridge Club over the years. I would love to tell you how many but as a relative newbie (17 years), I have no idea as all three were there a long time before I was.

Glenys Barrow  Janice Johnson and Judith Byrne 2020.jpg
        Glenys Barrow, Janice Johnson and Judith Byrne

As a non-committee member it is people like Glenys, Janice and Judith who are the backbone of clubs and we are all thrilled they have been acknowledged for their work.

Confined but not "bridgeless"

Northland were lucky enough to have still been able to play over the Auckland restrictions and managed to squeeze a couple of tournaments in. Being “trapped” and unable to go no further South than Whangarei, we were pretty isolated, however, with strict conditions imposed, we washed our hands, wore our masks and played the Broome Family 8B Pairs on September 5th.

Top Junior pair were Laurie Brockliss and Jayne Broome, Top Intermediate Sue Skarupsky and Sue Hunt, and Top Open pair, myself and Neil Ruddell.

Laurie Brockliss and Jayne Broom 2020.jpg         sue hunt and sue skarupsy 2020.jpg
Jayne Broome and Laurie Brockliss   Sue Hunt and Sue Skarupsky
                                                        (with Jayne Broome whose family
                                                       sponsored the event.) As you can see,
                                                       Jayne can play too.

September 12th saw Whangarei head over to Dargaville for the Annual Tangiteroria Cup. A team of Intermediate, Junior and Open players compete for supremacy, and all scores are added together to decide the winner. Unfortunately for Dargaville, that while they won both the Open and Intermediate sections, the Whangarei Juniors had a huge win which meant the Cup stayed in Whangarei. Unfortunately ,I wasn’t able to be at this so I don’t have any photos to be able to share.

Off to Kerikeri next for the Quail Ridge Swiss Pairs which was won by Jane Stearns and John McIntosh. Jane and John have only recently started a Bridge Partnership as Jane is new to the area and already she is stamping her mark on the Bridge Winners list.  Top Junior pair were again Jayne and Laurie while Sue and Michael Spence took out the top Intermediate spot. 

Jane Stearns and John McIntosh.jpg             Sue and Mike Spence 2020.jpg 
 Jane Stearns and John McIntosh       Sue and Mike Spence
              with Glen representing the sponsor, Quail Ridge

I have asked Sue Brown to write a piece regarding the Congress week on my behalf as Kerikeri have had some big news this week which I am sure could be a little relevant to their trip South.

“The last week of September every year is the highlight of our bridge calendar – a whole week playing our favourite game!  So, this year we were very disappointed when Auckland remained in lockdown and Congress was cancelled.

Our accommodation had a cancellation clause but a group of us decided to holiday in Cambridge anyway.  We checked on the Waikato bridge clubs’ websites and made up a schedule of sessions we could play within a half hour drive of Cambridge (lots of Clubs in this category).  This was shared with some other bridge players.  After the cancellation of Congress, New Zealand Bridge offered clubs the option of running extra tournaments over the two weekends affected by the cancellation – great!  Now we could play every day of the eight.

We spent the week playing bridge every day – day and night sessions – at clubs in the region.  Not counting three tournaments, we played 3 times at Cambridge (our accommodation turned out to be just across the road from the Club – unexpected!), twice at Matamata and once each at Te Awamutu, Waikato and Hamilton.  We found all the Clubs very welcoming and friendly and some even found partners for some of our group when asked. 

 We enjoyed getting to know some Waikato players and caught up with some of them at the Hamilton Congress over Labour Weekend.  Our group was comprised of two pairs from Kerikeri and some bridge playing family members.  A very good warm-up in the Waikato was experienced by the newly formed partnership of Maureen Russ and Vivienne Sexton from Kerikeri who came top four times and second twice that week in the Waikato and topped it off by being the National WINNERS of the Babich Wines New Zealand Wide Pairs held last Friday.  Three players from Whangarei as well as several from other parts of the country were also playing in the Waikato that week.

Thanks to Tauranga, Matamata, Cambridge and Te Aroha for hosting excellently run tournaments at the eleventh hour.  Next year, we look forward to attending a bigger and brighter New Zealand Congress to be held in a new venue at Mt Maunganui (COVID willing!)"

Thanks Sue – Yes a HUGE CONGRATULATIONS to Maureen Russ and Vivienne Sexton on their success in the Babich. Another formidable partnership brewing in the North.

Maureen Ruus and Vivienne Sexton 2020.jpg                               Douglas Russell and Tracey Lewis.jpg

Babich winners, Maureen Russ and Vivienne Sexton            2nd in Whangarei, Douglas Russell and
                                                                                               Tracey Lewis, along with Whangarei President, Lee Walters

Dargaville had their Kauri Tournament October 10th and it was heartening to have so many visitors from Auckland come and play. Unfortunately, there could only be one winner on the day and we were thrilled that it was Whangarei pair, Isabel and Bruce Thom. The fact Isabel is still an Intermediate player made the win more exciting as it was a tough field.

Bruce and Isobel Thom 2020.jpg
Bruce and Isobel Thom, with Dargaville President,
Peter Ball.

And last weekend, after the Babich Pairs, Whangarei held the Craigs investment Swiss Pairs. This was won by Jane Stearns and John McIntosh. However, a very close second was Bridge personality Tracey Lewis, (who has moved just south of Whangarei) along with Douglas Russell from Auckland.

All in all it’s looking that the North is attracting some very good players to the area and the usual winners are having a bit of a shakeup. Competition is strong and some formidable partnerships being formed. Bring on 2021!

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