Since our last Council meeting, I have played in the Bowman Trophy, the Highland District Congress, the second weekend of the National League, the Winter National Congress, the Winter Foursomes, the Winter Swiss Teams (due to non-qualification for the final stages of the Winter Foursomes) and the Hutcheson Shield  On the whole, numbers have been increasing slightly of late - many thanks to Cathy Ferguson for all her recruitment activity!

I have also made plans to participate in the Mixed Swiss Pairs, the West District Pairs Semi-Final, the Men's Pairs, the Farquharson Trophy, the Senior Trials and the National Pairs Semi-Final as well as directing at the Junior Camrose and Peggy Bayer.

As ever, there was much to be discussed at last week's Council meeting:

  • A draft paper for AGM submission had been prepared, addressing proposed changes to Council structure and voting procedures from May 2016 onwards.  Although this received general approval, one or two significant changes were agreed and a revised draft is to be resubmitted to the April meeting prior to its inclusion in the agenda for the Annual General Meeting in May.
  • Council held a lengthy discussion on the International Committee's controversial selection decision for the European Women's Team Championship in Budapest in June.  The selectors originally selected the same six-person team as for the Lady Milne Trophy in April but, following the withdrawal of Michele Gladstone due to unforeseen family reasons and after consultation with the other players, they had decided upon a four-person team plus Liz McGowan as a playing captain.  While there were a number of concerns expressed over the viability and competitiveness of a smaller team, Council decided to back the decision of the International Committee.  Complaints on this approach had been received from the other two members of the team who had come second in the trials and it appears possible that these may yet be further escalated.
  • Initial discussions were held on the viability of funding up to three teams for the World Bridge Games (formerly Olympiad) in Poland in September.  A final decision on this was deferred until Council's next meeting in April to give the Treasurer sufficient time to prepare 5-year financial projections.
  • A discussion paper was submitted by the Member Services Convener:
    - Following delegation of tasks to a number of willing volunteers, master point processing response times have improved significantly
    - Negotiations will be undertaken with English Bridge Union and ScoreBridge to explore the possibility of obtaining block licences for their scoring programs to cover all Scottish clubs
    - It was agreed that we would promote an online version of Bridge Magazine to our members
    - Following input from Dundee BC, we are to explore the possibility of advertising revenue from Scottish Bridge News.
  • Discussions were held on the funding of our growing Education activities in schools.  It was felt that the existing budget should be sufficient but that Council would be receptive to requests for further funding if it was felt that this would prove necessary.
  • It was agreed that the Convener of Law & Ethics would contact District Secretaries to offer them the possibility of a local workshop on Appeals Committees.
  • The Tournament Committee Convener is to contact District Secretaries in an attempt to fill the few remaining vacancies on the upcoming Tournament Director course on judgement situations.  Given the spread of experience within the Bronze category, it has been agreed that this should be divided in four, as follows:
    1 - Club Masters and Novices
    2 - Local and District Masters
    3 - Masters and 1 & 2 Star Masters
    4 - 3 Star Masters and above.

 Many thanks once again to all Council members who continue to give of their time for the benefit of the members of everyone who plays bridge in a Scottish club.