I learned to play Bridge as a student, and played intermittently before moving to Aberdeen where work and the travel involved meant that I dropped out of the bridge world for about 20 years. I started playing again in the mid-90s and I've been trying to catch up ever since
I moved back to Ayrshire 10 years ago, and, having worked as a Software Developer, offered to build a web site for the District - for purely selfish reasons: I wanted to see my results when I got home, not wait until the following week at the club. When the offer was accepted, I didn't really mean to join the ABU Council but ended up doing so, and then eventually got involved with the SBU. I rejoined the SBU Council last year, and took on the role of Tournament Convener.
The year has been a real learning curve and a roller coaster. We're desperately short of experienced Directors and Scorers, as the Men's Pairs and Women's Pairs & Teams have shown. This has to be addressed, rapidly, and the first steps were taken at the Scottish Swiss Pairs in Ayr earlier in May, where Duncan Cursiter came back from retirement to do some 'hands-on' training for scoring.
Let's hope our chief Tournament Director. Christine Walker, will be inundated with enquiries about the course on 29-30 September.
With a reduced size, Council meetings in Stirling have become more calm and business like. That doesn't mean that differences don't arise, but the same point is no longer repeated around the room, and the agenda is usually covered in the allotted time. The downside is that there are fewer bodies to share the workload of the various committees. If you're willing to help and get involved, you'll not be turned away!
Numbers aren't notably increasing at SBU events. We've moved the Winter 4s to a different weekend to try and get more teams, but will probably have to change it again for 2020.
SBU Sims for the Lord Thomson Trophy will now be played Monday to Thursday, rather than just Tuesday-Wednesday, to allow more clubs to take part (Thursday boards may be played on Friday if more suitable),
The Easter Pairs event has been removed from the calendar, and the Bobby Allan Sims (previously Wednesday-Thursday in January) have been incorporated into the new Easter Sims in March. These will be Monday to Thursday, and, again, the Thursday boards may be played on the Friday. The best Mixed Pair's score in the Easter Sims will win the Bobby Allan Trophy. Smaller clubs were finding it difficult run a session of the Bobby Allan when it was restricted to Mixed Pairs.
I do hope that clubs will take the opportunity to play in these National Point events. Most clubs play Monday to Thursday, so there should be no excuse not to have both the SBU Sims and the Easter Sims in a club's syllabus.
Internationally, congratulations to the Lady Milne and Senior Camrose teams. In the coming season the Senior Camrose will have a new sponsor: Stewart Duguid, and the sponsor's team will be Ayrshire based. Since the diary was published our Ladies team finished 7th in the Europeans in Ostend qualifying for the World Championships in 2019. Look out for, and please support, the fund-raising events to help send the team to China.
A fast track series of lessons is being developed to get students and learners playing more quickly. Clubs are being (re-)established at Aberdeen & Stirling Universities. It should be an exciting time to see how this progresses. If you'd like to get involved, contact the Education group.
In the meantime, I'm starting to plan how I'm going to get around the districts and clubs. Drop me a line if you've anything special coming up. I look forward to meeting you at the table, and wish you all the best for this season.