Bridge partners . . . Liz Duke, left, and Jenny Shore, celebrating the Rangiora Bridge Club’s 50th anniversary during the club’s Oscar awards at the club rooms on Monday last week. PHOTO: SHELLEY TOPP
By SHELLEY TOPP
A zany version of the Oscar Awards saw the Rangiora Bridge Club celebrate its 50th anniversary in style.
Members were encouraged to wear “Oscar outfits” for the event and many of them did not hold back.
The awards were held on Monday March 20 and Wednesday March 22 with further anniversary celebrations last weekend.
The club’s Oscars were presented by Craig Shannahan and Jill Amer, to the accompaniment of Tina Turner’s “Simply the Best” blasting through the club’s sound system at full volume.
Craig is a “director of bridge” and referees the bridge games. He also directs at the Christchurch Bridge Club, the Crockfords Bridge Club in Christchurch and is often invited to direct at the Timaru, Ashburton, Oxford, Kaikoura, Westport, Takaka and Blenheim clubs and the National Congress in Hamilton.
He is also the author of a new book written to mark the club’s anniversary called: “The First 50 Years of the History of the Rangiora Bridge Club 1967-2017” which was launched at the club’s Good St rooms last Friday. Liz Duke, club member and convenor of the anniversary celebrations, said the club held its first session on March 30, 1967, with eight tables and 34 players.
In the beginning it only had 39 members but grew quickly and now has 215. The club originally used the Rangiora Nursery School as their base to play bridge on Wednesday evenings.
At that time the nursery school was based in a house on the Rangiora High School site.
“The present club rooms, now six years old, are the result of a concerted effort by members to fund raise for the new building,” Liz said.
“It is a wonderful asset for the club.”
Bridge became a popular card game in New Zealand during the 1920s after small groups met for competitions in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch and has retained its popularity through clubs, books and the internet.
“Now anyone who has the internet can play bridge with people from all over the world,” Liz said.
Female members outnumber males at the Rangiora Bridge Club. However there is a good mix of ages with a number of teenage learners and players, but most players are middle-aged or retired.
“Some of our younger members have represented New Zealand at International Youth Bridge tournaments,” Liz said.
The club also has a “Grand Master” player.
“Mr D’Arcy Preston is our only member with this rare bridge title,” she said. “He began his bridge career at the Rangiora club 50 years ago and is one of the few members who was at the opening and able to be here for the 50th anniversary.”
Liz said she really looked forward to playing bridge every week, especially at the Rangiora Club where everyone was friendly and welcoming.
“It is an all-consuming game where you can play at the club in a friendly, social way or in a very competitive manner, or perhaps in a casual way where you can laugh at your mistakes and generally have fun,” she said “However, I do love club bridge and playing with a wide variety of people of all ages and walks of life.”