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Lady Milne Trophy – by Liz McGowan

Posted on 14 April 2011

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Lady Milne Trophy –  April 15-17, 2011. This Trophy, now the equivalent of the Camrose Trophy for Women, has a long history. It was first presented in 1934 (by a certain Lady Milne) as a trophy for a knock-out British Women’s Teams event, the equivalent of the very prestigious British Gold Cup. But the entries were always too low to justify running such an event, and in 1950 it became a Challenge Trophy for the winners of the Women’s Teams of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Ireland also participated that first year – and Scotland won.

Ireland withdrew from the Camrose series in 1950, but the event continued with 4 teams – and England won most years (except 1956 when Scotland managed their second win; and Wales won in 1967 and 1968). Changes were made in an attempt to halt the English domination: imitating the Camrose Trophy the matches were divided into three sets of 10 boards, with two ridiculous 5-board segments on the Sunday; then the three segments were scored separately, making the event a perpetual Swiss Teams. This had the desired effect: Scotland won its 3rd Lady Milne after 24 years in 1980, then again in 1984 and 1986; Northern Ireland won in 1981 and 1985; Wales in 1988.

The Trophy has now been won as follows: England 46, Scotland 10, Wales 3, Northern Ireland 2. Ireland, who rejoined in 1999, have yet to record a win.

In 1974, when Scotland changed its Women’s Teams to a Swiss event, women’s selection was introduced, with Trials and their consequent controversy. England actually broadcasts it Women’s Trials on BBO – none of the other countries dare.

The five team format proved unsatisfactory, and a sixth team from the host NBO was introduced two years ago. Now we play 32-board matches again, with screens and BBO coverage sp that those with a strong constitution can watch. This year we play Belfast and I make my 26th appearance, which is some kind of record, though Diane Greenwood, from Northern Ireland, is not far behind. The event is wide open, since of the English stars only Sally Brock makes an appearance – but history suggests another English win.

         Liz McGowan

Notes by Paolo Enrico Garrisi:

Schedule, Teams, and Covention Cards are in

 http://www.bridgegreatbritain.org/homeinternationals/2011/ladymilneteams.html

And in http://www.nibu.co.uk/ladymilne2011.htm the site of the North Ireland Bridge Union, the Guest Country.

The venue is in Belfast Park Avenue Hotel (click here)

Liz will play with Samantha Punch in Scottish Team. Their style:

4CM, weak 1NT (12-14), strong 2 (game forcing or 22+ balanced), Jacoby 2NT, 2o1 response promises rebid. Aggressive overcall at 1 level, sound vulnerable at 2 level. Weak jumps overcall. Mainly standard carding.

 ***

 April 14, 2011

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