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2024 News and Results

Higson Cup and Plate Finals

The multi-team, handicap finals of these competitions took place at Bramhall on Sunday 21st April for the teams who had survived the knockout rounds.  Thanks to Paul Beckwith for organising and Stuart Davies for directing, also to Bramhall for hosting the event.

In the Cup Inverted Minors (Jeff Smith, Rhona Goldenfield, Joy and Irving Blakey) won ahead of St Titus when the handicap was taken into account.

In the Plate event Ashton United won, their handicap moving them up to first place from fourth on raw scores.

cup winners

Paul Beckwith with Jeff Smith, Rhona Goldenfield, Joy and Irving Blakey

plate winners

Ashton United with Paul Beckwith


Pos Team Players Matches Total
1 6
Tom Dessain & Michael Byrne
John Holland & John Hassett
19 19 10 17 16 * 81 207
2 5
Joy & Irving Blakey
Jeffrey Smith & Rhona Goldenfield
19 19 18 19 * 4 79 156
3 3
Neil Thomas & Gillian McMullan
Michael Wymer & Peter Green
9 7 * 15 2 10 43 45
4 1
Rak Kapur & Subash Gupta
Daniel & Chris Kelsall
* 18 11 11 1 1 42 90
5 4
Ann Thornton & Barbara Lewis
Alec Smalley & Gideon Harvey
9 11 5 * 1 3 29 30
6 2
Ian Ashworth & Anthony Lane
David Milne & Andrew Phillips
2 * 13 9 1 1 26 30

Team Name Team No Allsorts AZ Trumpers New Connections Grasshoppers Inverted Minors   Totals Place
Allsorts     15.29 13.14 12.18 4.03
54 3
AZ Trumpers   4.71   17.84 15.05 6
53 4
New Connections   6.86 2.16   13.43 3.82
41 5
Grasshoppers   7.82 4.95 6.57   1.85
28 6
Inverted Minors   15.97 14 16.18 18.15  
69 1
St Titus   11.14 10.77 5.72
13.43 15.05   56 2


Pos Team Players Matches Total
1= 4
Tracy Sherman & Paddy Murphy
Liz Commins & David Stevenson
11 13 19 * 14 57 198
1= 5
Nicholas Greer & Phillip Taylor
Paul Murray & Peter Grauer
15 18 18 6 * 57 162
3 3
Gordon Bickley & Ann Farquhar
Jenny & Chris Rippin
14 18 * 1 2 35 72
4 1
Sheila Wimbleton & Kenneth Doodson
Chris Blackett & Christine Richardson
* 14 6 9 5 34 36
5 2
Michael Parr & Joyce White
Julia Bannister & Steve Mattinson
6 * 2 7 2 17

Team Name team Ashton Utd The Sandbaggers Ashton Aces Deal or No Deal Silver & Black   Totals place
Ashton Utd     16.37 11.05 16.18 13.18   57 1
The Sandbaggers   3.63   3.27 12.31 4.85   24 5
Ashton Aces   8.95 16.73   2.92 4.42   33 4
Deal or No Deal   3.82 7.69 17.08   13.71   42 3
Silver & Black   6.82 15.15 15.58 6.29     44 2

Seniors Trials

The second weekend of the Seniors Trials was on 6-7th April.  David Mossop/Gunnar Hallberg, John Holland/Alan Mould played a match against Trevor Ward/Rob Cliffe, Patrick Shields/Richard Chamberlain to determine who will represent England in Denmark in June.  The Mossop team won by 33 imps, so congratulations to John and Alan who are selected.

Results are on the EBU web site.

Congratulations to John Holland and Alan Mould who finished a close second in the first weekend of the European Trials at West Midland Bridge Club from 8th-10th March.

Easter Festivals

Congratulations to Roger Hopton and Irene Davies who finished third in the Swiss Pairs at Harrogate on Saturday 30th March.

Results are on the EBU web site.

National Pairs

Congratulations to Janet Tolan and Peter Grauer and George & Sally Leigh who finished in the top 50 nationally in the regional heats of the national pairs on Sunday 24th March.  They qualify to play in the national final in April to be held online.  Results are on the EBU web site.

Denis Robson

Denis Robson, who died on March 10th at the age of 89, was one of Manchester's best players from the late fifties on.

He formed a strong partnership with Bernard Goldenfield.  Together with team mates John Buck and Raymond Semp, they were one of the top teams in the North of England for several decades.

He won the Manchester League and Cup several times as well as other county events.  At national level he reached a Gold Cup final and won the National Swiss Teams and Tollemache Cup.  His crowning achievement was to play for England in the Camrose Trophy in 1976.

On the administrative side he was the EBU chairman for four years.

He was an accountant by profession, becoming a senior partner in his firm and also the chairman of Thwaites Brewery.

He married Val in 1959, they had five children Alison, Jacqui, Nicole, Robert and John.  After giving up bridge at the top level he played with Val in local events.  When Val died in 2021 Denis returned to his roots living in a nursing home in Sunderland.

Thanks to Raymond Semp for much of this information.

A well attended funeral was held on 27th March where two of his daughters gave a nice eulogy and revealed many other facets of Denis' life which most bridge players did not know about.

Denis Robson

GP Swiss Pairs

The Green Point Swiss Pairs was held on Saturday 2nd March at Altrincham.  38 pairs competed with a good number of non-expert pairs there.  Thanks to Stuart Davies for directing with his usual efficiency, Rhona Goldenfield for organising and to Joan Lewis and others for their help in setting up and clearing away.

Rodney Lighton and Tom Dessain reached the top tables quickly and continued to win throughout the day finishing with a good score of 110 VPs from the seven matches.  They were well clear of David Sarabowski and Jeff Morris in second place, with Tracy Sherman and Chris Child third.  Top non-experts were Graham Burns and Anthony Lipson with Ann Edwards and Anne Jordan second.

Detailed results are on the MCBA entries site.  The PotY spreadsheet has been updated, Rodney Lighton increased his lead in the Expert category, there was no change in the non-expert category, where Karen Jones and Barbara Eastabrook lead.


Winners Rodney Lighton (Kevin Comrie MCBA President) Tom Dessain


Second David Sarabowski, Jeff Morris


Third Chris Child, Tracy Sherman


Fourth John Holland (with Gillian Whyte)

2nd Intermediate

Second non-experts Ann Edwards, Anne Jordan

Camrose Trophy in Manchester

The second weekend of the Home Nations Internationals took place from Friday 1st March to Sunday 3rd March at the Cresta Court Hotel WA14 4DP in Altrincham.  Thanks to Alec Smalley, the match manager, and his team of helpers for their efforts over the weekend. The England team won the event with the EBU team finishing second.  Michael Byrne played for the EBU team as a reserve.

Click here for program and live results

Cantor Cup

The annual event for new and inexperienced players was held at Manchester Bridge Club on Sunday 25th Feb.

The event is sponsored by the Cantor family in memory of Trudy and Oliver Cantor who taught and played bridge in Manchester many years ago.

The event was ably directed by Nicholas Greer, with support from Anne Naylor of the Manchester Bridge Club.  Thanks to Susan Triggs for organising and for the report and pictures.  Detailed results are on the Manchester Bridge Club web site.

Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves.  Some of the players were very new to bridge - a few of the players only started their bridge lessons in September 2023 and so were brave to enter and also did very well (Meg Warner, Eddie Clift, Vic SIngfield and Rod Dean).  Congratulations to the winners Angela and Prakash who had never partnered each other before.

1 8
Angela Petrouis & Prakash Mehta
146.00 64.04
2 10
Susan Holden & June Ellicott
141.20 61.93
3 6
Anne Humphreys & Sarah O'Neill
129.95 57.00
4 9
Usha Murugan & Carole Gavin
124.25 54.50
5 2
Caroline Blake & Bruce Moreman
122.65 53.79
6 7
Victoria Singfield & Rodney Dean
119.40 52.37
7 4
Tina & Joe Norwood
114.75 50.33
8 13
Eddie Clift & Meg Warner
113.65 49.85
9 1
Sue Berry & Jacqui Haworth
104.80 45.96
10 11
Lin Mallon & Peter Bardsley
96.20 44.54
11 12
Elaine Dowse & Indira Vishnubhatla
100.55 44.10
12 3
Stephen Dauncey & Jackie O'Donnell
92.85 40.72
13 14
Paul & Maureen Davies
92.15 40.42
14 5
Joanne Finn & Pamela Williams
85.60 39.63

Cantor Winners

Winners Prakash Mehta (Susan Triggs) Angela Petrious

Cantor 2nd

Second Susan Holden and June Ellicott

Cantor 3rd

Third Anne Humphries and Sarah O'Neill

Tollemache Final - Manchester Win

Congratulations to the Manchester team who won the inter counties team of eight for the second year running in Coventry over the weekend of 17-18th Febuary.  They won six and drew one of their matches against the other counties to finish well clear of Middlesex in second place.  The team was Tom Slater/Alec Smalley(capt), John Holland/Alan Mould, Jeff Morris/John Hassett, Phil Taylor/Nicholas Greer, travelling reserve Rhona Goldenfield. John and Alan were the best pair on cross imps.  Especial congratulations to Phil and Nicholas who were drafted in as last minute replacements for their first ever Tollemache.  Well done to the selectors in selecting a fine team despite various withdrawals and non-availabilities.

Results are on the EBU web site.

Tolle winners

Phillip Taylor, Nicholas Greer, John Hassett, Alan Mould, Rhona Goldenfield,
Alec Smalley, Jeff Morris, Tom Slater, John Holland

Chair's Newsletter

Click here for Irene Davies' February newsletter.

Harrogate EBU Spring Congress

Congratulations to John Holland playing with Jackie Pye who finished second of seventy pairs in the Swiss Pairs at Harrogate on 9-10th February.  Results are on the EBU web site.

England Mixed Trials

Trials for the Mixed Team to represent England in the European Championships took place from 2nd to 5th February in Solihull.  Michael Byrne played in Team Knottenbelt, Catherine Draper and Andrew Woodcock in Team Seale.  Both teams qualified from the round robin on Friday and Saturday to play in the semi-final matches on Sunday.  Team Seale won the round robin and Team Knottenbelt were third.  Both teams went on to win their semifinals on Sunday, they played each other on Monday. 

Congratulations to Michael Byrne and team (Maggie Knottenbelt, Kieran Dyke, Heather Dhondy, Mike & Sarah Bell) who won the final convincingly and will represent England in the European Championships in Herning Denmark in June.  Commiserations to Andrew and Catherine who did very well, especially as they were a four player team.

Results are on the EBU web site.

Gazette Trophy

The inter club teams of eight competition was held on Sunday 4th February at Manchester Bridge Club.  Eight teams competed, three each from Manchester and Bramhall & Cheadle and two from Altrincham.  Bramhall A held a small lead at half time with the strong Manchester A team languishing in the bottom half of the field.  A late surge from Manchester A saw them leap into second place, but they couldn't catch Bramhall.  Congratulations to Alec Smalley, Tom Slater, Peter Grauer, Stephen Ward, John Holland, Raymond Semp, Gary Hyett and Rodney Lighton. Tom and Alec headed the cross imp rankings.  Manchester A were Paul Hackett, Mike Goldsmith, Jason Hackett, Martin Taylor, Jeff Morris, David Sarabowski, John Hassett, Rhona Goldenfield.  In third equal place were Bramhall C Steve Mattinson, Tony Hodgson, Julia Bannister, Joyce White, Howard Stubbings, Dhun Daji, Barbara Lewis, Ann Thornton and Manchester B Ann Wood, Dee Connolly, Susan Triggs, Graham Winn, Ceilia and Kevin Comrie, Jon Middleton, Andy Brocklehurst.

The winning team goes on to represent Manchester in the Garden Cities Regional Final in May.

Thanks to Jeff Smith for directing, Michael Byrne for organising and providing half time desserts and to Manchester Bridge Club members for hosting.

Detailed results are on the Manchester Events site.


Alec Smalley and Tom Slater with MCBA President Kevin Comrie

Chester Congress

The annual congress at Deva Bridge Club took place on 27th-28th January.  Congratulations to Kath Nelson who won the pairs playing with Tracy Sherman; Alec Smalley and Tom Slater were second.  In the teams Kath Nelson, Rhona Goldenfield, Jeff Smith and Leslie Klein won. Click here for results.

Teams Winners

Leslie Klein, Kath Nelson, Jeff Smith, Rhona Goldenfield

Reykjavik Festival

A large international tournament took place in Iceland from 25th-28th January.  In the Swiss Pairs, Michael Byrne, playing with Kieran Dyke, finished 12th in a field of 158 pairs.  Results are here.

Richard Bowdery Swiss Pairs

Congratulations to Alec Smalley and Tom Slater who finished a close second of 56 pairs in this event run by Oliver Cowan on 13th January.

Results are here.

European Open Trials

The pairs trials for the England team for the European Championship took place from 12th-15th January in London.  Six pairs, including Michael Byrne playing with Kieran Dyke competed for two places to join the pre-selected pair of David Gold and Andrew Robson.  The last two days were very exciting, with the positions (especially 2nd to 5th) changing rapidly.  Michael and Kieran were lying second with a few boards to go, but eventually finished fourth, disappointingly for them.

Manchester Congress

The popular MCBA congress returned as a face to face event on January 6th and 7th 2024 at a new venue, the Cresta Court Hotel in Altrincham, ably organised by Oliver Cowan and directed by Stuart Davies.  Thanks also to Barbara Lewis and Manchester committee members for their hard work in making this a well supported and successful event.

The event attracted an entry of 47 pairs, 24 teams and 21 pairs for the Kevin Comrie non-expert pairs.  This is not as many as pre covid, but an encouraging number for a return to face to face play.  Entries came from all over the country and we welcomed back women's world champion Jovi Smederevac from Austria.

The pairs event on the Saturday was comfortably won by Sally Brock and Jovi Smederevac nearly 4% ahead of Claire Robinson and Paul Barden, who won the mixed pairs title.  In third place and Mens Pairs winners were veteran pair Paul Casselle and Raymond Semp (who is 90).  Ladies pairs went to Rhona Goldenfield and Marianne Farr.  The non-expert prize went to Anne Whitehead and Haidee Tattersall who did well to finish 16th in a strong field.

The teams on Sunday was run as two all play all sections with teams qualifying for main and consolation finals.

The main final was won by Ollie Burgess, Susanna Gross, Paul Barden and Claire Robinson, ahead of Martin Taylor and Paul, Barbara and Justin Hackett.

The consolation final winners were Joy & Irving Blakey, Rhona Goldenfield and Jim Luck, with Sally Brock, Barry Myers, Jovi Smederevac and Rodney Lighton second.

Victor Ridding directed the single session non-expert pais with a good entry of 21 pairs.  The event was won by Melanie Foster and Gail Jones, with Paul Jones and Peter Wilson second and Patricia Gorham and Anne Naylor third.

The Player of the Year spreadsheet has been updated with the congress results.  In the expert category Rodney Lighton now leads just ahead of John Holland with John Hassett and Kath Nelson close behind.  In the non-expert category Karen Jones and Barbara Eastabrook are joint leaders.

For results of all events click here.

Congratulations to Janet Tolan who won Michael Byrne's quizAnswers are here.

Comrie Winners

Kevin Comrie Trophy Winners Melanie Foster and Gail Jones with Kevin

Comrie Second

Kevin Comrie Trophy Second Paul Jones and Peter Wilson

Comrie 3rd

Kevin Comrie Trophy Third Patricia Gorham and Anne Naylor

Pairs winners

Winners Jovi Smederevac and Sally Brock with Kevin Comrie MCBA President


Second and Mixed Pairs Paul Barden and Claire Robinson


Third and Men's Pairs Paul Casselle and Raymond Semp


Ladies Pairs Rhona Goldenfield (Marianne Farr missing)

                        Session one prize David Smith (Jeremy Bishon 1

Session one prize David Smith (Jeremy Bishop missing)

Consolation Teams

Consolation Teams winners

Joy Blakey, Rhona Goldenfield, Irving Blakey, Jim Luck

Teams Winners

Teams Winners Ollie Burgess, Susanna Gross, Claire Robinson, Paul Barden


The first weekend of the home internationals took place on 5th-7th January in Newport.  Michael Byrne played for the EBU team with Kieran Dyke, Maggie Knottenbelt, Ben Handley-Pritchard and Tom Townsend.  They won ahead of the England team.   Results are here.