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Newark hosts annual Café Bridge tournament to raise £1,600 for Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire Air Ambulance

Card players in and around Newark have been enjoying some competitive fun ­— and at the same time raising money for charity.

The town recently hosted an annual Café Bridge tournament, which raised £1,600 for Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire Air Ambulance.

Café Bridge, which is growing in popularity, combines fundraising with a fun card game and competitive contract bridge, with players moving from café location to location during the day.

Cafe Bridge fundraiser.
Cafe Bridge fundraiser.

Many towns and cities in the UK now host the events, and some players travel into Europe to play.

Those taking part in the Newark tournament started the day at The Ram Hotel, where the 78 taking part received their itinerary and heard a talk by Heather Rabett from the charity.

The tournament involved playing 30 hands of bridge at five café venues ­— Carriages, Gannets, Harbour Master, Castle Barge, and The Ram ­— who also gave raffle prizes.

Many of the usual clients were surprised to find 16 people at each location, playing cards, while they were enjoying their coffees and cake, but players paused to join them for lunch.

Although the tournament was primarily a fun and fundraising event, the competitive element is never far away.

The bridge is played in a duplicate format that allows all pairs to play the same hands, so the scores reflect the skill of the players, rather than the luck of the cards.

Whether players hold aces and kings, or twos and threes, does not matter. Bridge consists of an auction, and the playing of the cards. Getting those two things right should determine the result.

The logistics of setting up the event are quite daunting, involving getting 78 people around the various cafés, making sure everyone is in the right place at the right time, along with equipment including an electronic scoring system, which is monitored by the tournament director in a remote location.

The winners were Newark player Dick Milne and his pla ying partner Shirley Ashtari, who defended their title from last year, narrowly defeating Mervyn Jones and Mike Nailard from East Bridgford.

If you fancy a game of bridge, Newark Bridge Club meets at The Town and District Club on Barnbygate on Mondays at 6.45pm. You would be very welcome.


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