The final match was against the Nomads and something of a grudge match. Actually having seen how strongly grudges are held in Scotland perhaps that is something of an overstatement, and fairer to say it was match that we did not wish to lose.
I was playing with David again, a man with at least two reasons to be a winner. Not only had Liz left Merchiston after 20+ years, and now playing for the Nomads, but he hates losing to his sister. So he was pleased that we had a comfortable win, and he scored about +2,000 more than his sibling who was sitting in the same North seat at the next table.
We put together another solid game. We did not do much right, but did not do much wrong either. Bid our games, defeated the ones we should beat, went one down in game four times in the second half (good aggregate bridge!) and avoided silly penalties. Our opponents were less fortunate and missed a good game, a couple of thin games and an excellent slam.
The real stars of our team this week were Simon and George. Playing at table 1 against Liz they didn't miss anything and easily posted the best E/W score. Our best N/S score at table 2 was sufficient to ensure the good win.
At the end David was keen to point out that our 4-card majors, weak 1NT system had helped us achieve the best result in our direction for the last two matches, at least. Although we played well, I said I thought it was despite the system! The fact that most pairs play the same system meant that we were not significantly disadvantaged.
So I've played all the matches except Falkirk. Unlike previous 49ers seasons I only played with two partners, Miro and David, and it all seemed to go well. I've enjoyed playing on the top tables and generally scored well (as we should) but now we all get the summer off.
Finally a hand: our opponents had an instructive misunderstanding on the following auction. Past winners of the Grand Master Pairs they are no fools and an established partnership, but clearly had not discussed this simple auction:
2 Lebensohl, either weak minor or values for 3NT without both majors stopped
I'm pleased to say that this sequence is already in my system notes, but do you know what 3♦ means?
Finally, congratulations to Julia, Claire and the other Grosvenor Aces who beat the Division 2 champions to also gain promotion to the top division. I've suggested lot of practice over the summer!