Up to Solihull again (I might as well move there) to play the Gold Cup finals. We sailed through the semis against Ken Ford’s team to meet Allfrey in the final. They had been 52 down with 16 boards to play in their semi-final match and had won! The writing was on the wall. The match was a rollercoaster and we went into the final set a few imps down. I sat out and put on my iPad to receive the following email from my old teacher, David Parry: ‘No one remembers who comes second.’ ‘Cheers, you garden gnome,’ I replied, and proceeded to come second — which is why I’m reminding you! Down 47 at one point, with four boards to play, we drew level with this effort by David Burn and Nick Sandqvist:
David was sitting South and had room to show all his assets after Nick’s game-forcing 2♣, but could he make it? Andrew Robson led a trump. David won in dummy and played another spade to hand. Then he left trumps alone for the time being and went through the nerve-wracking exercise of cashing three rounds of diamonds. When East showed out on the fourth round, but couldn’t ruff, the path was clear; David ruffed his diamond loser in dummy and returned to hand with the ♣A to claim his slam. But it was not enough. Congratulations to Alexander Allfrey, Andrew Robson, David Gold, Tony Forrester, Derek Patterson and Peter Crouch, who took the cup by 13 imps.