Thirty Years On
Posted by Marcia Scudder on Friday, 21 October 2016 at 11:03
The Spring Nationals began life as an Open Teams event with Playoff rights in November 1987 and was played following the GNOT Finals of that year. That first event was held at the NSW Bridge Association’s clubrooms in Elizabeth Street and attracted 32 teams. The event was won by the Watson team (Mel Watson, Marek Borewicz, Dick Cummings, David Anderson, Zolly Nagy) who defeated the Theeman team (Frank Theeman, Seamus Browne, Khokan Bagchi, Simon Hinge, Chris Hughes and Avi Kanetkar). Paul Lavings wrote an article on this final which can be viewed [with permission from Australian Bridge] here.
Players from the quarterfinals in that year returning this year, thirty years later (where the number of contesting Open Teams has nearly doubled!) include Nigel Rosendorff, Michael Courtney, Paul Wyer, Gabi Lorentz, Ron Klinger, Peter Gill, Waren Lazer, Simon Hinge, Chris Hughes & Avi Kanetkar.
Following a demonstration Women’s teams event alongside the GNOT Finals in 1988 at the Lindfield Bridge Club, 1989 saw the introduction of the Spring National Women’s Teams with Norma Borin, Cathy Chua, Felicity Beale & Di Smart winning.
In 2000 the Dick Cumming Open Pairs was added. The inaugural winners of this event were Peter Gill & Ishmael Del’Monte. This was a once off with the Dick Cummings Open Pairs moving to the Sydney Festival alongside the Bobby Evans Seniors’ Teams.
The pairing of the GNOT Finals and Spring Nationals continued until 2006 when the GNOT moved to Banora Point and the Spring Nationals and the Sydney Festival were combined.
The Restricted Teams was added in 2010 after an unsuccessful trial the previous year. The inaugral winners were Robin Devries, Alex Ngan, Ian Bailey & Graham Markey.
The Ted Chadwick Restricted Pairs was added alongside the DCOP in 2013 with father & son combination of Tomer & Lavy Libman winning. Then the Novice Pairs was added in 2014 which saw Gary Kembrey & Andrew Grace victorious. Both events are now flourishing.
The event had several venues, the NSWBA clubrooms, the Lindfield Bridge Club, Wynard Vista, Masonic Centre, B'nai Brith before settling down at the Hakoah Club in 2001.
When the Hakoah Club closed in 2009, the event moved to Randwick Racecourse for 2010 and then to Canterbury Racecourse when the former was redeveloped.
Various Tournament Organisers (Conveners) have been at the helm of the Spring Nationals: Kevin Davies with Colin Mitchell, John Mottram, Frank Budai, Kim Neale and myself. Now we can add Mike Prescott to the list.