Bridge not for faint-hearted

Matamata Chronicle - - News -

For the past three months, Tues­day nights at the Mata­mata Bridge Club have seen scenes of con­fu­sion, be­wil­der­ment, scratch­ing of heads and a great deal of laugh­ter.

In to­tal, 19 brave stu­dents chose to learn the fas­ci­nat­ing yet frus­trat­ing card game of con­tract bridge. Tu­tor Jane Stearns pre­sented the lessons with gusto and en­thu­si­asm, aided by a glass of wine at half time, and pa­tiently nur­tured her flock through the 10 week course.

‘‘ Peo­ple don’t re­alise what a hard game bridge is,’’ Stearns said. ‘‘I watch them leave the first les­son look­ing rea­son­ably con­fi­dent that this is go­ing to be a breeze. By the end of les­son three they are fraz­zled and think­ing it is im­pos­si­ble.

‘‘It is sim­ply the best card game in the world and such a chal­lenge to learn. I haven’t dared tell them yet that they have only skimmed the sur­face and there is in fact so much more to learn,’’ she said.

A grad­u­a­tion day was held at the bridge club last Thurs­day, with the clu­b­rooms packed to the rafters.

There was a happy buzz as the grad­u­ates played their first game of club bridge sup­ported by their ‘‘buddy’’, a reg­u­lar club mem­ber who has stepped for­ward to men­tor their begin­ner on their bridge jour­ney.

The stu­dents had a wide age range from their 20s to their 80s.

Stearns said bridge was a great lev­eller.

‘‘It is a game for all ages and one that is hard to mas­ter and gain con­sis­tent form in. Re­sults see play­ers top one week and bot­tom the next. It is a very so­cial game and al­ready good friend­ships and bonds have been cre­ated among the new stu­dents who sup­port each other in their learn­ing jour­ney.’’

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