Our opponents were two ladies who defended well throughout. They had to defend well, as Anna played all of the first four hands, and then I played lots of the rest. We missed one slam, but made a lot of games. Anna wasn't holding back. On one hand she opened a weak 2♥ then later came right back in with 5♥. I was silently shocked by the gross indiscipline, but actually it was the winning choice.
At the half way mark, Team Rowan were about 2500 points up. It could have been more, but me and Anna had one massive disaster. It's a good story, but Anna's banned me from writing about it. Just to give a flavour, but no more, here's how the auction started:
My 3♣ confused everyone, and was not a success. When the dust settled I was in 6♦x-5, costing us 1100 points. The good news is that there was no argument from us afterwards, and we recovered well enough.
Here's a couple of hands from the second half:
I've just shown the North and South hand. West dealt. She paused for a while then started with a pass, as did everyone else, until it came round to me sitting South. I have a rather poor 12 points, but of course opened 1NT anyway. Anna has a textbook weak hand with 5-4 in the majors, perfect for bidding Stayman then correcting a 2♦ reply to her five card major, and this is what happened. West still looked like she was anxious to bid, and now came back in with 3♦, which I was glad to pass. We took it down two tricks. The hand is interesting as I could sense West was keen to bid (and this is authorised information), and that nearly tempted me to raise Anna's 2♠ bid to 3♠, just to keep West out. As it is I'm glad I let West bid, as she bid my suit. I think what West should have done is double my 2♦.
Finally, here's the strongest hand of the day, where we did well to stay out of slam.
I've only 18 points as South, but I decided to open it 2♣. My thinking was that if I open 1♠ then Anna might easily pass with a hand that makes game easy, though looking at the hand now I think 1♠ is right. Over my 2♣ opening, Anna bid 2♦. For us this shows a non-minimum, i.e. 5+ points or any hand with an Ace. I then showed my suit with 2♠. I could have jumped to 3♠, to show a single suited hand, but thought there was just a chance that we might want to play in Hearts or Diamonds (where my void is useful for ruffing in the short hand).
Anna raised my 2♠ straight to 4♠, showing a minimum, given her previous 2♦ bid. I reckon she's actually too good for this, and should just bid 3♠. As it happens, her Ace is opposite my void so 11 tricks was the limit - but move her ♣A to the ♦A or the ♥A and it would be an easy slam. So I guess we were a bit lucky there.
In the end Team Rowan won by just over 4000 points, so we're through to the second round! On the way out we bought some Apple and Bramble Jam too.