I initially schooled in Johannesburg but matriculated at DHS. I completed my BA LLB at the University of Natal. I practised as an attorney for 7 years before completing pupillage and have now practised as an advocate for 10 years.
My folks played bridge and I would often watch hands. At Greenside High, we played klaberjass at every possible opportunity and four of us played very rudimentary bridge. I hadn’t played bridge since leaving school when a friend who was needing a fourth in a social asked me to play. I was completely hooked. Each Wednesday morning I would wander into Adrian Collingwood’s office (who also practices at the Durban Bar) and question him with difficulties that I had had at the table. I continued playing social bridge for approximately six months until the one member of the school advised that he would be overseas for six months. Collingwood then suggested that I go for lessons with Jan Chemaly in order to start playing at the Club. Jan introduced bidding boxes and stopped practice of opening (a tiny club). After two courses with Jan I plucked up the courage to go to her Club where I was paired with a partner and finished second in the D section. I was immediately converted to Duplicate and began playing as often as I could.
After one weekend having played Friday night, Saturday morning, afternoon and evening as well as Sunday afternoon I required physiotherapy for my back (my first bridge injury).
I initially played with Ann Miller and when she was not able to play for a time I was lucky enough to pair up with Val Pearce and Val Stephenson who is my regular tournament partner. The first Nationals I competed in was at Durban two years ago, where I delayed having my appendix out in an effort to at least complete the qualifying and the pairs (not a great success – the appendix ruptured).
Fiona Smith convinced me to stand on the KZNBU Committee, and I served for two years under Roger Wilson before taking the chair.
I have been fortunate to play with most of Natal’s top players including Denise Nordengen who has forbidden me from ever leading a diamond, even with the ace, king and queen of diamonds, I have to find another lead.
I was very impressed with the development programme headed by Western Cape and will be contacting Kitty Cruise to obtain further details.
During my presidency I intend to push development specifically in the schools and hopefully the universities (I am thankful that I didn’t discover bridge at university). I contacted the Society of the Deaf and forged some sort of partnership in teaching.
I am often asked by friends why I have become so obsessed with bridge and explain that it is the rush of excitement each time you open up the hand. It is this excitement I hope we can pass on to the youth.
I look forward to working with my committee and hope we can promote bridge throughout the country.
M. A. Y. F. W