Jules, who can often be found on BBO with a glass of Shiraz to hand, tells me that there was no official photograph taken but I found this image on the interweb of them:
I must admit that I am a little disappointed with the lack of photographs. This does not seem to happen when the ‘stars’ of the Scottish game win, so hopefully this will be rectified soon.
Having established that neither Jules or Claire were going to write up their win, I asked them for a hand. Initially it was all the same modest rubbish, “we didn’t have the cards, but were lucky”, “we seemed to defend fairly routinely, but that seemed better than most”, “luckily we didn’t have the cards as we cannot bid” but eventually they sent me the following hand:
Unlike the Dutch Julia and Claire have fairly strict requirements for their weak opening bids and it is expected to be "good" in first or second position. A sound strategy even if it does reduce the frequency of the bid.
After such an auction, when dummy goes down it is important to plan the play. At matchpoints especially, it is very important to consider what the target number of tricks is. In this case, it is probable that few will bid game, so your target is to make the contract and not worry about overtricks. It is also acceptable to take a risk to make the game, as the field will be making a part-score and any minus score will be poor.
On such an auction it is likely that declarer has values in both minors, but Jules’ opponent missed this inference and led a club. On a good day you might be able to ruff down the ace of clubs and, with trumps 2-2, make a lot of tricks. But if you can make eleven tricks you will be scoring very well so Jules’ discarded a heart from dummy as North won the ace of clubs. Belatedly North switched to a heart but Jules could rise with the ace, draw two rounds of trumps ending in her own hand, discarding hearts on the top two clubs, establishing the rest of the clubs and conceding a trick to the queen of diamonds.
Sensible play in a thin game that won most, if not all, of the masterpoints on the board.
Hopefully the results will be published soon so that we can see the margin of victory. Sam and Liz, fresh from the Lady Milne, were second.
Congratulations to Julia and Claire, I know that they work hard on their partnership and it’s good to see that rewarded.
Update: results now online and they won by almost 2%, or three-quarters of one board.