Players harbouring international aspirations are naturally interested in the level of funding available to support Welsh teams playing in international events. Players who harbour no such aspirations are also interested in the matter, although their take on the appropriate allocation of WBU funds to support international bridge may be somewhat different.

Here is some background information.

Welsh Bridge Union funds are divided into two elements, the General Fund and the World Fund. This division was first made in 2000, when Wales became a separate NBO (having previously been part of Great Britain). It was thought appropriate at the time to separate the additional international opportunities (and associated expenses) that then arose from the activities that we had always supported. Expenditure that is incurred as a consequence of our status as an NBO is therefore ascribed to the World Fund.

Unfortunately this distinction tends to obscure, rather than illuminate, the WBU’s annual expenditure on international bridge as a whole. It also does nothing to assist in defining the sum that is available to that end.

The current balance of WBU funds is £159,527, £3,000 less than 12 months ago. This is as per Balance Sheet; the funds in cash accounts total significantly less than this – of the order of £140,000. That money has to support all WBU-sponsored activities, and meet the needs of the entire membership.

The General Fund notionally supports various administrative charges, national events, all home internationals, and honoraria. It also meets EBL and WBF affiliation charges which amount to some £3,000 pa. Further, it supports a ‘training budget’ (£5,000 pa is assigned to this) and a Junior Development Fund (also £5,000).

The cost of hosting a home international match is of the order of £8,000. The cost to the WBU of participation in home international matches not held in Wales depends greatly on the location. In the 2014/15 season, when there was one home international (Junior Camrose/Peggy Bayer) and four away (two Camrose weekends, plus Lady Milne and Teltcher Trophy) the net cost to the WBU was £18,522.

The World Fund does not exist as a separate bank account, but it is presented separately on the Balance Sheet. It is intended to support activities and events that are held outside the UK, such as the European Championships. There is no absolute distinction between the two funds, as may be inferred from the fact that a third of the Chief Executive’s stipend is currently charged to the World Fund.

The World Fund is replenished from:

income from Celtic Simultaneous events;

35% of Bank and Building Society interest received;

income from the Llangollen Swiss teams; and

a % share of Welsh participation in Simultaneous events that are organised by other NBOs.

This gives an income of approximately £7,000 pa to the World Fund.

The cost of entry to the European Championships (held biennially) was, on the last occasion, £2,746.63 per team. Expenses paid to the players and NPCs, along with insurance and pre-event training, are additional to this. The entry fee for the Commonwealth Nations Championship (held every four years) was on the last occasion £1,000 per team. Support for a Welsh Junior team competing internationally, such as this summer in Norway, comes to some £3,000 per event.

The 2010 European Championships, to which three Welsh teams were sent, cost the WBU £16,673. Entry fees to that event amounted to £9,137, while player grants, which were of the order of £250/£300 per player/NPC, totalled £7,536.

The corresponding figures for the 2012 European Championships, held in Dublin, when we sent just two teams, were as follows:

entry fees: £5,641

player grants (of the order of £500 per player/NPC): £7,800

total expenditure: £13,441

It can be seen that the European Championships can give rise to some tricky decisions for WBU management and the selectors. To send three teams on each occasion, whilst also making a significant contribution to players’ expenses, would inevitably deplete WBU funds. A calculation has to be made on each occasion as to the number of teams (in the three categories of Open, Seniors and Ladies) that merit an entry, and also the level at which players’ expenses should be capped.

Thanks to Fiona Noyce, Alan Screen and Linda Greenland for supporting information.




Following last weekend’s trial, the selectors have chosen the following team to represent Wales in the Teltscher Trophy (‘Senior Camrose’), which this year will be held in County Meath, Republic of Ireland, on the weekend of 15-17 May.

Tony Disley & Roger Penton

Patrick Jourdain & Patrick Shields

John Salisbury & Mike Tedd (playing captain)

Reserve pair: Beth & Barry Wennell

We wish the team well.





Following last weekend’s trial, the team to represent Wales in the Ladies Home Internationals has been chosen and is as follows:

Aida Aris & Sue Ingham

Gilly Clench & Maggie Pierce

Liz Commins & Diane Kurbalija

NPC: Linda Greenland

Reserve pair: Mary Lee & Joan Marray

The Lady Milne this year will be tough, with England as the host nation fielding two teams. Nonetheless Wales has a very experienced team who are capable of challenging for the trophy. The event takes place at the Holiday Inn, Birmingham International Airport, on the weekend of 17/18/19 April. All matches will be shown live on BBO. We wish the team well.


For the first time in several years Wales is able to field teams in the Junior Home Internationals – a tribute to the hard work put in by our Junior Co-ordinator, Mark Roderick. We are the hosts, and the event will take place at The Seabank Hotel, Porthcawl, on the weekend of 21/22 February.

The Welsh teams are as follows:

Junior Camrose (u 25):

Jonny Richards & Ben Barrett; Becky Watkins & Alice Smart

NPC: Paul Denning

Peggy Bayer (u 20)

Joe Mullally & Sarah Greener; Stephen Loat & James Harris

NPC: Julian Pottage/Gwynn Davis

If you possibly can, come along to The Seabank to support the teams. They certainly deserve it. Enquiries and offers of assistance to our Match Manager, Irene Thomas ( or to the Hospitality Manager, Jenny Vaughan (



This trial is scheduled for next weekend, at the Metropole Hotel, Llandrindod Wells. As previously advised, eleven pairs are competing.

The trial will comprise ten head-to-head matches, each of 9 boards. Given the sit-out, the schedule is for six matches on the Saturday, five on the Sunday. Play starts at 11.25 on Saturday, finishing at 7.25pm; and at 10am on Sunday, finishing at 4.40 pm. There will be a 35 minute lunch break on both days, in which sandwiches, tea and coffee will be provided.





The following pairs have entered the trial to help select the team to represent Wales in the Teltscher Trophy (‘Senior Camrose’). The trial will be held in the Metropole Hotel, Llandrindod Wells on the weekend of 7th/8th February. Tony Howarth will direct.

Liz Atkinson & Simon Gottschalk

John Beard & Liam Sheridan

Dave Birt & Gilly Clench

Gwynn Davis & John Glubb

Tony Disley & Roger Penton

Philip Felman & Mike Hirst

Patrick Jourdain & Patrick Shields

Diane & Filip Kurbalija

George Novak & Alan Screen

John Salisbury & Mike Tedd

Beth & Barry Wennell



As most reading this post will know, the Welsh team performed splendidly over the first of two Camrose weekends, in Edinburgh on 9/10/11 January. Wales won all their matches and at the conclusion of the weekend lead the Camrose table, fractionally ahead of the Republic, with a dangerous England lurking in 3rd place.

This was a remarkable achievement by the Welsh team in the circumstances, with one team member, Tim Rees, having been taken ill the day before the event and not making it to Edinburgh. The news of Tim’s indisposition only reached the team shortly before the event was due to start, and even then it was not clear whether he would be available for some part of the weekend. A decision was taken at the playing venue that Tim’s partner, Gary Jones, would play in partnership with Paul Denning, the appointed NPC, whenever it was necessary to relieve the other two pairs. Paul and Gary in fact played four sets – two on the Saturday and two on Sunday, enabling our other two pairs, Tedd & Salisbury, Ratcliff & Jourdain, to have a much needed rest.

The Camrose will conclude on the weekend of 6/7/8 March, in Northern Ireland. The Welsh team will be as selected for the first weekend, namely:

Mike Tedd & John Salisbury

Tony Ratcliff & Patrick Jourdain

Tim Rees & Gary Jones

NPC: Paul Denning

Reserve pair: Filip Kurbalija & Patrick Shields

It is likely that the second weekend will be tougher than the first, with a full strength England line-up. Still, Wales have put themselves in with a chance. Again, all matches will be shown on BBO. Come on Wales!




The trial to aid selection for the team to represent Wales in the 2015 Lady Milne (Ladies Home International) will be held in The Metropole Hotel, Llandrindod Wells on  24/25 January. Tony Haworth will direct. Play will start at 11.30 on Saturday, finishing at approximately 8pm. On Sunday we expect to start at 10.30 and finish around 5pm.

The following pairs, listed in alphabetical order, have entered the trial:

Aida Aris & Sue Ingham

Gilly Clench & Maggie Pierce

Lee Collier & Jean Hand

Liz Commins & Diane Kurbalija

Helen Davies & Di Jones

Val Kennewell & Margaret Lane

Mary Lee & Joan Marray

Sheila Shea & Beth Wennell

The trial will comprise seven head to head matches of 14 boards, four on the Saturday, three on the Sunday. It is hoped to run the trial in tandem with the Scottish Lady Milne trial, with each pair’s results being X-imped against a datum derived from the results on all the tables in play in both trials. Further details will be sent to the players in due course.



Further training days have been held:

On 13 December there was a training day for members and prospective members of this season’s Welsh Camrose team. This was held at Gwent Bridge Academy and run by David Burn. Four pairs attended.

On 19/20 December there was a training weekend for members of this season’s Junior Camrose (u 25) and Peggy Bayer (u20) teams. Six players attended. Thanks are due to all those who gave their time and contributed to making this weekend a success: Mark Roderick; Julian Pottage; Mike Best; Herbie Rowley; Patrick Jourdain; Gwynn Davis and Sue Ingham. As well as running the Sunday session, Patrick provided overnight accommodation for three of the Juniors.



The first of two weekends comprising this year’s Camrose series will be held in Edinburgh on the weekend of  9/10/11 January. The Welsh team is Mike Tedd & John Salisbury; Patrick Jourdain & Tony Ratcliff; Tim Rees & Gary Jones; NPC: Paul Denning. We wish them the best of good fortune. All matches will be shown on BBO – make sure you log on to support your team!

Merry Christmas to all our readers.







Given the responsibility to select teams for various events, it is as well to explain, at least in outline, the criteria upon which selection will be based. There are basically three yardsticks, although the importance attached to each will vary.


This is the yardstick that, above all others, will guide our decision-making – certainly in respect of major events. When in comes to selection for the home international events, in all categories, and for the European Championships and the Commonwealth Nations Championships, the overriding consideration for the selectors will be: who, of the players eligible and available to play, will deliver the best result.

Some might be surprised to learn that the above is not the only criterion, but there are in fact two others.


It might be thought that all that is necessary to ensure ‘fair’ selection is to pick whichever players constitute the best team – in other words, criteria no.1. But that is not quite the case. Selectors may think they ‘know’ – just as everyone else thinks they know – who are the best players, but it is also important to uphold the principle of fairness in ensuring that selection conforms reasonably accurately to criteria that the selectors have themselves laid down.

The main instance of this concerns trials. Typically, trials will have their limitations, although it is essential that they be made as robust as possible (and important changes have recently been instituted with respect to trials for the ‘Open’ team). It is difficult to do more without committing an impractical amount of time and resource to the trials process, so some weaknesses are likely to remain. Nonetheless trials are the means by which players who might not necessarily be regarded as ‘the best’ can bring themselves to the selectors’ notice. To attend trials demands a commitment from the players, and trials are the one competition that everyone knows is designed to aid selection. Accordingly it is reasonable that trial results be influential – even where they run counter to what might otherwise be the selectors’ judgement. Where the decision is close, it is reasonable that trial results be decisive.


There may be times when selection is influenced by a desire to give players an opportunity to play at a level they have not previously experienced. This can only be a minor consideration with respect to major international events, but it may be a factor at the margins. Experience counts at all levels of the game, and if we always select the same players the opportunity to garner that experience is denied to others.

But we have to be careful. Selection on potential is only appropriate if the players in question have demonstrated the necessary talent, as well as the determination to succeed. We should not select ‘in hopes’. We must also ensure that we do not run counter to the principles outlined in 1. and 2. above. Accordingly, the main scope for applying the ‘development’ principle will come in giving opportunity to represent Wales in lesser (but still high standard) international events to which the WBU is invited to send teams.


There is one other consideration, although it will seldom apply. We will not select players if we consider, on good evidence, that their behaviour in the international arena has damaged the reputation of Welsh bridge, or if their conduct has undermined the performance of other team members.


Ideally, the Welsh Bridge Union would like to send teams, supported financially (at least to the extent of paying entry costs) to all home internationals, in all age and sex categories. That is to say: Open, Ladies, Seniors and Juniors. We should like to do the same with respect to the European Championships, the Commonwealth Nations Championships, and the World Mind Sports (formally the World Bridge Olympiad). That is our target. However, we have to be satisfied that we can field teams of a reasonable standard in these events, by which we mean of a standard appropriate to the level of the event. If that is not possible, for whatever reason, we may advise the WBU Executive, to whom we are answerable, that no team should be sent in one or more categories.

In the past, when a decision has been made in advance not to send any funded Welsh teams to an event – as for example in the 2014 European Championships – self-funded teams have been allowed to represent Wales. We hope not to repeat this. For the future the intention is that all teams who represent Wales will be chosen by us, and funded (at least to the extent of paying the entry fee) by the WBU. Alan Screen is currently undertaking a review of all upcoming international events, plus the associated spending commitments. When that review has been concluded we plan to discuss with the Executive the events to which we should like to send teams. An agreed programme of upcoming international events will then be published here.



2015 Lady Milne Trophy (Ladies Home Countries International)

Entries are invited from Pairs who wish to play in the WBU trial to aid selection for the team to represent Wales in the 2015 Lady Milne Trophy.

The Lady Milne is to be held on 17/18/19 April at the Holiday Inn, Birmingham Airport.

The WBU trial will be held on the weekend of 24/25 January in the Metropole Hotel, Llandrindod Wells.

The entry fee for the trial, which includes afternoon tea on Saturday and a sandwich lunch on Sunday, is £40 per person.

Entries to the Chief Executive ( by Friday 12th December.

A specially negotiated rate has been arranged for players who wish to stay at the Metropole for dinner, bed and breakfast. Ring 01597 823700 and quote Bridge Trial to receive the negotiated rate of £49.00 per person per night sharing a double/twin room, £59.00 per person per night in a single room, or £74.00 per person per night in a twin/double for single occupancy.

The Chief Executive can provide details of alternative accommodation, including hotels that permit smoking.

The format of the trial will be decided once entries are known. The Scottish Lady Milne trial is being held on the same weekend and it has been agreed that the pairs X-imping element of the trial will incorporate the Scottish results.

Any queries concerning this trial can be addressed to Gwynn Davis (


2015 Teltscher Trophy (Senior Camrose) 

Entries are invited for the trial to aid selection for the 2015 Teltscher Trophy. The trial will take place at the Metropole Hotel, Llandrindod Wells on 7/8 February 2015.

The Teltscher Trophy is to held on 15-17 May 2015, in Ireland.

The entry fee for the trial, which includes afternoon tea on Saturday and a sandwich lunch on Sunday, is £40 per person.

A specially negotiated rate for players who wish to stay at the Metropole for dinner, bed and breakfast has been arranged. Contact the Metropole on 01597 823700 and quote Bridge Trial to receive the negotiated rate of £49.00 per person per night sharing a double/twin room, £59.00 per person per night in a single room, or £74.00 per person per night in a twin/double for single occupancy.

The Chief Executive can provide details of alternative accommodation, including hotels that permit smoking.

Entries to the Chief Executive ( by Friday 9th January.

Any questions or comments concerning this trial should be directed to Alan Screen (



The second weekend of the Premier League was as successful as the first, with 98 boards of intense competition. The Tedd team (Mike Tedd/John Salisbury; Patrick Jourdain/Tony Ratcliff; Tim Rees/Gary Jones) confirmed their recent fine run of form, emerging as clear winners. In second place, and well clear of the remaining teams, was Kurbalija (Filip Kurbalija/Patrick Shields; Julian Pottage/Richard Plackett). The Kurbalija team actually enjoyed two narrow wins over Tedd, but suffered a heavy defeat to Denning which dented their chances of the overall win.


The selectors had committed themselves to offering the winning team at least one of the two Camrose weekends. Even had they not done so, the Tedd team’s recent run of form, most notably in the trials for the Commonwealth Nations Bridge Championship, and then in winning the event itself, would have made a very strong case for selection. Accordingly, the team for the first Camrose weekend, to be held in Scotland on 9/10/11 January, is:

Mike Tedd/John Salisbury;

Patrick Jourdain/Tony Ratcliff;

Tim Rees/Gary Jones

Reserve pair: Filip Kurbalija and Patrick Shields

NPC: Paul Denning

The team for the second Camrose weekend will be selected after the first series of matches has been played.


This season’s Lady Milne Trophy (home countries ladies international) will be held in England (venue yet to be determined) on the weekend of 17/18/19 April. Trials to assist selection for the Welsh team will be held in mid Wales on the weekend of 24/25 January. The precise format of the trials will be decided after entries have closed and we know how many pairs will be playing. Further information, including the closing date for entries, will be published shortly via this blog and on WBU websites.

It is likely that, just as last year, we will collaborate with the Scottish selectors in X-imping results across both fields of trialists. Having a larger field, provided it is of good standard, reduces the randomness inherent in pairs X-imping. It is also possible that there will be a teams element within the trial, but that has not been finally decided.

If anyone is uncertain about whether they are qualified to play in the trial, or would like more information about any aspect, including possible partners, feel free to contact Gwynn Davis (


The 2015 Teltscher Trophy is due to be held on the weekend of 16/17 May (venue yet to be determined). The trial to assist selection for this event is being organised by Alan Screen ( and will be held on the weekend of 7/8 February. Further information, including the closing date for entries, will be published shortly.

JUNIOR CAMROSE (under 25) and PEGGY BAYER (under20)

It is a matter of regret to all those concerned for the future of Welsh bridge that in recent years Wales has been unable to field teams in these two events. However this year, thanks in large part to the efforts of our Junior Co-ordinator, Mark Roderick, there is every prospect of Wales fielding teams in both competitions. This is timely as Wales is scheduled to host this year’s Junior Camrose and Peggy Bayer, to be held in Llandrindod Wells on the weekend of 20/21/22 February. It should be an exciting occasion!

Mark is still on the look-out for players, so if you know of junior players (under 25s) who might like to join his squad, please get in touch with him ( Mark is hoping to run a training day for junior players in December. This will probably be on the weekend of 20/21 December. Anyone who would like to participate in this training day, no matter what their current level of bridge experience, is encouraged to contact Mark. Mark would also welcome offers of assistance from senior players.


As advertised elsewhere on WBU websites, a training weekend for current and aspiring international players (Open, Seniors, and Ladies) will be held on 18/19 October at two venues: Gwent Bridge Academy in Newport, and the Colwyn Bay Cricket Pavilion. If you are thinking of attending, or would like advice as to whether the weekend is appropriate for you, contact Alan Screen (


One development that the selectors are keen to encourage is the offer of assistance from a senior player to pairs who are looking to improve their level. Whether or not you mean to attend the training weekend, if you and your current bridge partner(s) think you might welcome such assistance, contact Paul Denning ( .


Report No. 1

This is the first of what is intended to be a regular series of reports by the WBU selectors, summarising the results of our deliberations and indicating plans for the future.

The site is not at present designed to allow comment, so anyone wishing to communicate with the selectors is asked to email the Chairman, Paul Denning ( Should that
communication be of general interest the subject matter will no doubt feature here in due course.

The selectors

There are at present four selectors:

Paul Denning (Chairman)

Gwynn Davis

Linda Greenland

Alan Screen

Schedule of meetings

The selectors met briefly on 21st September and our next meeting (by Skype) is scheduled for 7th October, when our principal task will be to select the team for the first Camrose weekend.


The task of selection is shared, but selectors accept responsibility for organising specific sets of trials. Currently these responsibilities are as follows:

Open: Paul Denning

Lady Milne: Gwynn Davis

Seniors: Alan Screen

We shall in due course give notice of arrangements for the Lady Milne and Seniors trials.

Additionally, we shall consult with Mark Roderick, Junior Co-ordinator, concerning the scope for selecting a Junior team able to represent Wales in the Junior Camrose. (No decisions have been made about that as yet.)


Funding and expenses decisions are taken by the WBU management team, but the selectors may make recommendations. It is our intention from now on to publish any stipulations regarding the players’ expenses at the time of selection, so players will be in no doubt what they are entitled to claim.


The selectors are not directly responsible for training, but encourage all aspiring Welsh international players to take advantage of the training currently being offered, notice of which is given elsewhere on WBU websites. There are plans for at least one training day geared specifically to the needs of the Open team, and the selectors will be responsible for issuing invitations to that.

Open trials

The first trials to be held this season are for the Open team, and take place over two weekends (20/21 September and 4/5 October). This year, for the first time, the trials are being run as a Premier League of eight teams. The first weekend has been held, and in our view represents a huge improvement on the poorly attended Pairs X-imping of recent years. This is very encouraging, and gives us something to build on for the future. Thanks to all those, notably Bob Alderdice and Paul Denning, who contributed to making this happen. Thanks also to Neville Richards for his part in organising the two weekends, and to Sarah Amos who coped magnificently with all that the players (and the WBU dealing machine) contrived to throw at her.

Here is one hand of interest from the weekend.





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                                     ♥5                                               AK7642

                                    ♦A                                               QJ

                                    ♣KQ764                                     10982





It was a reflection of the generally high standard of the event that all eight East/West pairs bid to slam, seven in 6C and one in the inferior 6S. Six Spades had to go down. Six Clubs can of course be made, but should you make it? Not if you play according to the odds, although it is fairly close. Six declarers took the normal line of playing towards their club honours, and then in due course laying down the second honour. Unlucky! The only time Six Clubs was made was when North on lead began with the Ace of trumps. It can be a game of very fine margins.