For the first time in three years, Victoria’s national Gold Point carnival of bridge, the Victor Champion Cup, took place “live” in Melbourne over the Queen’s Birthday weekend.
While numbers participating were around 55% of 2019, which was close to forecast, spirits were high and the quality of bridge undiminished. The successful completion of this year’s programme was an important stepping-stone for the reestablishment of bridge in Victoria after two dark years. It was particularly gratifying to see many youth players present.
Great thanks go to our Tournament Organizer, Geoff Schaller and to the wonderful team of volunteers who supported him. The event went seamlessly and with great precision.
As has been the case throughout 2022, Victorians featured prominently in the results, especially in the Pairs events.
The principal Pairs competition, the Wally Scott, named after one of our great players of last century, was won in a close contest by one of Victorian bridge’s great identities, Neil Ewart (paired with Canberra’s Ian Robinson), while another leading Victorian, Chris Hughes, finished second (with NSW’s Kim Morrison). Neil’s victory comes after being runner up in the 2022 Australian Seniors Teams , winning the 2022 Roger Penny Swiss Pairs and running 2nd in the qualifying event for the Australian Seniors Teams. The best all-Victorian pairing were evergreens Bob Gallus and Stephen Weisz, who also continued a terrific year that has seen them qualify for both the national and Victorian senior teams, by finishing in 5th.
A new event for 2022 was the Jim and Norma Borin Mixed Pairs, with Simon Hinge and VBA Vice-President Jenny Thompson finished a very popular second. A most commendable performance was put up by the next Victorians, inveterate congress participants, Peter Karol and Joanne Crockford, who beat many top pairs to finish ninth, despite having a combined masterpoints total one tenth of many of their competitors.
In the Restricted Pairs combined event Victorians Jolanta Terlecka and Rosemary Polya and Lynda and Philip Young finished second and third respectively overall with Lynda and Philip winning the <200 mp category and the Frank Power trophy.
Finally, in the main event, the Open Teams, Victorian James Coutts continued his astonishing year of rolling successes in joining teammates Liam Milne and Jamie Thompson (NSW) and Victoria’s Rob Fruewirth in taking out the big prize, with a dominant, undefeated performance. It was a grand return to the national stage for Rob, one of the great players in Australia of the 1990s and 2000’s, coming back from a long sabbatical.
The best all-Victorian team, finishing 21st was a popular grouping of stalwarts Len Meyer, Phyllis Moritz, teaming up with Geelong players Denny Newland and Doug Newlands.
Victoria’s popular youth players, Damon Flicker and Darren Brake were part of the team which won the Charlie Snashall Cup for the best restricted team.
We look forward to a rise in numbers next year and a likely change of venue, as we rebuild the event back to pre-COVID levels.