President’s Update, Autumn/Winter 2023
It’s been a while since my last update, and it’s been a busy three months for the club with the 90th Anniversary Celebrations and Doors Open Day at the beginning of September, through new classes starting in October, to us hosting, on behalf of North District, a heat of the Thea Teale, a national red pointed event for Bronze Level players in November. Looking ahead, we have the various ranked pairs events taking place in Dundee/Edinburgh on Sunday 3rd December, and I hope that at least some of you will ‘give them a go’, as they are national events with red points.
Club wise, we have our AGM and Christmas Party on Sunday 10th December. We will have a light lunch at 1pm, followed by the AGM at 1.30, then Bridge at 2.30. Brian will be sending out the official notification separately, but I hope that as many of you as possible will be able to come along to hear about your club and help us celebrate another successful year.
Monday night tournaments continue to do well, with us getting to the point that the Open Tournament is often full (10 tables), with Bronze 1 also doing well with seven or eight tables. Our Tuesday online tournament is also doing well with around 12 tables regularly signing up, and Thursday afternoon has a core of five tables who meet regularly for relaxed Bridge. I joined them recently and had a fun afternoon playing and analyzing hands, but mostly just enjoying the craic. However, the Wednesday evening tournament continues to disappoint and has had to be cancelled several times due to poor numbers.
At our Board meeting on 5th November, we spent some time trying to come up with a solution, including integrating the ‘Play and Learn’ Improvers (currently two to three tables), into the Wednesday Tournament, but decided that it wouldn’t work. Instead, we would like to encourage some of the people who play in Bronze 1 on Monday, or on Thursday Afternoon, to come along and strengthen the numbers on Wednesday evening, so we can build another Bronze 1 Tournament on Wednesday. Similarly, we would like to invite those who feel they’d like to move on from Bronze 1 but feel that ‘going downstairs’ is a step too far and is full anyway, to join the ‘Open’ Wednesday tournament to bolster numbers there. Both these tournaments would be in the downstairs card room, with Bronze 1 in the back, and the others in the front, with a maximum of five tables for each group, though the front card room could hold six.
Before Lockdown, the club was full on Tuesday and Thursday evenings too, and we would love to start a Thursday section again, so if you are interested, please contact Brian. Similarly, if you would like to play a daytime tournament, please let us know which days and times would suit. Mike and I are just back from Oxford where we played 21 boards on a Monday morning with a five table Howell movement, and in many countries, Bridge is a daytime pursuit rather than an evening one, so with the dark winter evenings, daytime Bridge has much to commend it.
These are just a few of our thoughts and ideas, but you will have noticed that we now have a ‘Suggestion Box’ for you, the members, to let us know what YOU would like to see done in the club. As the Americans say, ‘If we don’t know it’s broke we can’t fix it’, and that is true of the club. We like to think we are approachable and certainly recently I have been approached regarding improved access to the downstairs loo for those with mobility problems, and better lighting at the front door. Both issues were resolved within a week of them being raised (thanks Donald!}, and the Board will always do its best to resolve any issues raised by the members.
The Bridge club is a member led organization which means that it is run by its members, for its members, which in turn means that membership brings with it certain obligations to the other members. We are not ‘customers’ of the Bridge Club with people employed to set up and run tournaments, provide a bar service and set out the coffee cups. All these tasks and more are undertaken by our members, and it shouldn’t fall to the same half a dozen people to do these chores week after week. We should all ‘do our bit’ to ensure the smooth running of the club, even if it is something as simple as making sure your cup is in the dishwasher or washed up at the end of the session and making sure your table is left tidy. However, there are some jobs that HAVE to be done to ensure the smooth running of our tournaments. Some require training (TD/Host. Setting up Bridgemates, taking the table money, running the bar), but others such as setting out the coffee and tea things, do not. There is a rota for all these jobs and you can find it by looking under the ‘sign up’ section of the website. Training and support is available, so take a look and see what you would like to do, and ask for that training. For TD/Host/Bridgemates, etc, please talk to Steve; for collecting table money, it’s Carole or Alex; for the bar, it’s Neil; for anything else, please ask. Thank you.
Talking of volunteers…
Trustees (aka The Board/Committee)
It’s AGM time again and we are looking to strengthen the Board with new members. Now, the first thing to get out of the way is that you DO NOT HAVE TO BE GOOD PLAYERS to join the Board! The Board should be representative of everyone in the club, so it would be great if people who play on Monday Night (Bronze 1), and Thursday Afternoon would consider putting themselves forward to join us. It would also be good to lower the age profile of the Board too, so some of our younger players might want to think about serving as a Trustee.
Looking towards succession planning for the present board and non-executive officers, we are looking for people with IT skills, a background in Law, Admin and/or Finance skills, and knowledge of the building trade. So if you think you can help, please talk to me before the AGM. Thanks.
Donald and I will be standing down from the Board but will be seeking re-election, however, I am sad to report that David Hunter has tendered his resignation from the Board and I have reluctantly accepted it. David joined the club around three years ago and has been a Trustee for about one and a half years. He has been involved in the tournament set-up side of things, and I would like to thank him for serving as a Trustee.
In other news…
We had around 40 people round the club on doors Open Day, and at least two joined the club as a result and a couple are taking classes with Steve, who has Beginners Classes on Tuesday and Wednesday evening.
There are plans to do some Improvers Classes in the New Year, but they are not finalized yet so, if you are interested in taking Improvers Classes or joining our Mentoring program, please contact Mike Hodder (firstname.lastname@example.org)
We Celebrated our 90th Birthday with a Birthday Party, Cake and, of course, a Bridge Tournament, on Sunday 3rd September, when around 30 members joined us on a very warm day. I think a good time was had by all, but I could be wrong! Anyway, I have photos which I hope will be available on the website soon.
Membership is currently around 180, so has recovered well after the Pandemic, even though some of our members have chosen not to renew their membership for various reasons since we returned to Face to Face Bridge. eighteen months ago.
Congratulations to Kendall Knight and Margaret Dow who were a creditable 10th out of 108 pairs in the Thea Teale at the end of November, and also to Jane Hyde and her partner Innes Shaw from Moray, who came 11th. Well done to both pairs!
Finally, I would like to wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from everyone on the Board.
Let’s continue to enjoy our Bridge in 2024.