Bay Pairs History

History of the Bay Pairs

Kawerau was the first club set up in the Bay around 1953, followed by Rotorua in 1955. At this time these two clubs visited each other to play bridge. The games were held in a room at the Blue Baths Rotorua and the Town Cafeteria, now the library and museum Kawerau.

Opotiki started up in 1956 and was invited to join in on these evenings. This was the start from which the Bay Of Plenty Interclub Teams was formed.

It was around this time that Denis Cave of the Opotiki club came up with the idea of Pairs tournament. This tournament was to be only for members of a club within the Bay of Plenty’s borders, and would involve a day’s bridge, to be hosted by each club. He brought this idea up with the other two clubs. Due to commitments Denis was unable to promote this idea further. At this point Mr. Ib Thurlin took over the reins.

Over the next couple of years Ib approached The Centre for permission to hold this tournament, but was turned down as The Centre would not allow a closed tournament within the Bay of Plenty. Ib persisted and The Centre relented, but with the ruling that no grading points would be awarded. During this period, in 1957 the Tauranga Bridge Club was established.

Then in 1959 (Minutes from the Kawerau Bridge Club), the Te Puke Bridge Club had been formed and the first ever Bay Of Plenty Pairs Tournament was held, with each of the five clubs hosting a one day tournament: the first of its kind within New Zealand. This also was the first year of the Bay of Plenty Interclub Teams, an interclub competition to be played separately from the Bay Of Plenty Pairs.

Whakatane Bridge Club was established in 1961 and was invited to become involved with the tournament. Now six clubs were each hosting a one day tournament, with upwards of 30 tables.

It was around this time that The Centre conceded and grading points were awarded. Pairs placing in the tournament were now getting “C” points.

In 1964 Mount Maunganui Bridge club was formed and was invited to join in both the Pairs and Teams events. Though it was decided that the Pairs would be limited to six one day tournaments, to be rotated through the seven clubs.

Over the years we have seen the Bay Of Plenty Pair become a “A” point tournament awarding an “A” point to the winners of each session and 5 ”A” points to the overall Champion Pairs. The competition in its modern form consists of four rounds with each round counting.