Presidents Newspage

Started by Administrator (Tony), May 03, 2023, 09:46 AM

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Administrator (Tony)

Presidents Newspage (4)

(Posted on behalf of Gilly, by Administrator)


I hadn't realised that it was such a hardship for mediocre bridge players to be selected to play for Wales. Is there a GoFundMe page we can start?

Obviously I can't mean Gilly, so let's assume I'm talking about myself. I have limited experience of these exalted levels, but such as I have had left me feeling enormously priviliged. Yes there were costs involved, but all tournament bridge costs money and we do it because we love it. To be eligible to represent Wales confers an enormous additional benefit because it puts these international tournaments within reach of those of us who would not have a snowball's chance in hell of being selected to represent England, whether in Open, Ladies, Seniors or Juniors. Some very good players have represented Wales, but there have also been a host of ordinary ones. We're a lucky bunch.

There are two issues that deserve serious consideration, and both point in what for many will be an unpalatable direction. The first is the disproportionate cost - for an NBO with a tiny membership such as ours - of supporting teams across four home international tournaments each year (five if you take into account that there are two Camrose weekends). This is a huge financial burden on the organisation and consumes most of our resources. We're not broke yet, but we're heading in that direction. We also have to host one home international tournament each year, and that gives rise to a significant organisational burden which we can barely manage. We can hardly step back from that and yet claim the right to field teams.

The second issue is that the membership, through their clubs, is showing signs of waking up to the fact that the national body offers them very little. Some clubs suspect they could get along perfectly well without the WBU, and who can blame them. For the past few years, pre and post pandemic, the WBU has failed in its most basic responsibility, which is to run a programmme of national events. In terms of competitive opportunity, it's a desert. WBU membership is currently coerced through the clubs, but even so it has declined significantly and could be about to decline further as more clubs opt to disaffiliate. Let's be honest about it: clubs don't need the WBU.

Do players need the WBU? Hardly. There are some tournament players in Wales (I'm sure I saw one just the other day), but given the paucity of events on offer many of us have taken to playing our 'serious' bridge in events organised by the other home unions. It will take real leadership, and imagination, to turn this situation around. Bridge as a whole is struggling. It's not just in Wales, but our problems are the most acute.

So, Gilly, well done on accepting the role of President of the WBU. I didn't want to do it and I'll admit why that was: I didn't think I had it in me to turn the WBU around. I can see you're trying, but in order to succeed you will have to focus on the right things. Whinging about the cost of playing international bridge is misconceived to the point of absurdity.

Alan Screen


Gwynn is obviously a mind reader as well as sagacious for he has expressed my thoughts perfectly in his post!
The WBU is in a serious decline but there seems to be a lack of determination to tackle the problems.

* No mission statement or strategy communications from the Management Committee.
* Minutes of the MC meetings sparse in detail and published late.
* Abandoned or postponed competitions.
* AGM not yet scheduled.
* No new promotional material, sponsored or otherwise (playing cards, pens, publications, clothing).


Gilly Clench

I am disappointed to read your post Gwynne and to see the support from Alan and Mark.  You have taken nothing from my previous Newspage when I stated many many reasons for joining the WBU.  Not least is that we are trying to encourage and fund Juniors and provide lessons hopefully to attract new members. I have also addressed the issue of the cost of hosting International events, which we hope will be discussed at the next BGB meeting.

It is, indeed, a priviledge to play in International events, however it can also be stressful, expensive and sometimes very frustrating.  I have always enjoyed the Lady Milne and will play as long as I am useful and needed but there are several excellent women players who won't even consider it.  I remember many years ago that Fil Kurbalija said he would far rather play in some competition abroad, such as La Baule or Deauville, which would probably cost less and be more enjoyable. An interesting viewpoint from someone of his calibre.

To complain about an annual fee of £15 is equally ridiculous - just to have a website must be worth more than that.  I was not whinging, merely pointing out that the game can be expensive and should not exclude people without the means to play, but we do not have enough money for a hardship fund.  Self funding is obviously being considered and is already in place for the Teltcher.  International players are forever being criticised, so I thought it be nice for once to present the issues from a different perspective.  These "mediocre players" have won the Camrose and Lady Milne in the past and seem to hold their own.

To criticise the lack of commitment from the MC is also distressing and completely incorrect.  We didn't jump on the online bandwagon early enough I agree and that needs to alter, however I have instigated a women's event and that is only supported by a few loyal Welsh players.  Simon is in his first year as NTO and has tried various new options, most of which have not worked, so onwards and upwards.  The other points you raise, Mark, are for a different post.


This is a discussion forum so I take it all contributions are welcome - we don't have to agree. Incidentally Ddraig_Goch is Neville Richards, not Mark Roderick - likewise in previous posts. And I'm Gwynn.

Gilly Clench

Sincere apologies to Mark for muddling you up with Neville and moreso for spelling your name wrong yet again Gwynn! I seem to have a complete block about it  ::)  :-[

It is certainly good to present opposing viewpoints, but constructive criticism in a positive way is so much nicer.