After finishing second in Glasgow Division Two (see here), we fancied our chances in the Summer Cup, which is only open to teams from Division Two to Division Four. From our original Team Rowan me and Anna joined David and Heather Merriman to form Team Merriman.
In the first round we drew a team whose name I sadly can't quite remember [someone help me out?]. Me and Anna arrived at the Maccabi centre early, and snuck into the empty hall and turned the lights on. I covertly had my dinner and Anna helped herself to a honeycomb Club.
In the first half the Boards were pretty flat. Maybe we didn't shuffle enough. But the quality of the bridge was good and the match was tight. After 12 boards the score was just 15-20, meaning we trailed by 5 IMPs. In the hand before the mid-session interval I was dummy and pre ordered two teas, like I was at the theatre. This was the deal, a small gain for Team Merriman. East-West are vulnerable, and West is the dealer.
I was sitting North and opened 1♠. East overcalled 2♣. Since they were vulnerable, I guess he didn't fancy 3♣. West could have passed this (in which case I would have reopened with a double), but instead he bid 2♥. I passed and it was up to Anna as South. She decided to come back in with 3♦. I probably wouldn't have bid this, scared the whole hand was a misfit and defending was best. But Anna went for it, and it is a nice bold bid.
Against 3♦ West lead a club. Anna ducked this, won the next Club then played one more Club, West throwing a Spade and allowing her to ruff in dummy. She then played the ♠A and ♠Q, covered by the ♠K and ruffed in hand. When she played trumps West won and returned a Heart. Anna won and lead her winning Spade from the dummy, throwing a losing Heart and letting West ruff. So in the end the defence came to three Diamonds and a Club, for 3♦= and +110.
The hand diagram above is generated by a program called Bridgify, which is free to download (see www.bridgify.net). The numbers under the West cards show how many tricks the defence gets, depending on his lead. You can see that on the actual Club lead, the defence get only 3 tricks, meaning declarer could have made 3♦+1. This is from playing the Spades early on to establish a long Spade, but 3♦= was still a good result and we gained 4 IMPs on the hand.
I enjoyed my half time tea tremendously. For the second half we swapped opponents, and sat down with [?name] and his Mum. As they bid a series of games against us, I had a few tricky decisions. Once partner opened Spades, the next hand doubled, and I had a weak hand with five Spades. I think now it's all about tactics, and choosing the most cunning bid. My current maxim is always to pre-empt to the max so I went for a not very cunning immediate 4♠, prompting the next hand to bid and make 5♥. I wonder if I could have kept them out their game by shrewdly only bidding 2♠, or even passing.
There was one big swing hand, when our opponents accidentally got to 6NT after failing to stop in 4NT or 5NT. They played it very nicely and made it. This all confused me and when we bid to 6♣ on the next hand I was seriously on the tilt, playing a very straight-forward contract needlessly slowly. My chat plummeted at this point, and I commented that I was wearing a jumper and Anna wasn't.
After a tight first half we also narrowly lost the second half, 15-30. That lead to a final loss of 30-50, probably the right result against opponents' who made very few mistakes. Congratulations to them, and I hope they now go on to win the cup!