252 players joined us to mark the end of an era by saying goodbye in style at the final Peebles congress.

Much serious bridge was played.  Congratulations go to Sally Brock and Barry Myers for winning the Swiss Pairs; Richard Bowdery, Ian Angus, Croz Croswell and Jon Thoresen for winning the Swiss Teams; and Archie Leith, Andy Phillip, John Faben and David Liggat for winning the Open Teams.  This last event featured a selection of hands taken from Peebles congresses over the past 47 years, with a commentary booklet highlighting many notable names, all co-ordinated by Liz McGowan.

The speedball event, during which laughing and drinking were strongly encouraged, was rather more relaxed.  The new trophy, made from a polystyrene coffee cup and a crisp packet, entirely reflected the prestige which should go to winners Martin Stephens and Andrew Murphy.  Even the wobbly photo of them receiving their prize conveys the nature of the event, where each three-board round had to be played within ten minutes – with all activity, including bidding, playing, moving, and going to the bar or to the toilet having to be completed within that time.  Any delays were immediately greeted by calls of “speedball, speedball, speedball” from other players at the table!

The highlight of the weekend was the Gala Dinner, but the atmosphere throughout was wonderfully supportive, with many left wondering why such a splendid event was coming to an end.  Let us hope that whatever may replace it will receive such enthusiastic support.

Julie Choudhury