England win women's team championship


England have won the European women’s bridge team championship. Yesterday at City West Nicola Smith, Sally Brock, Fiona Brown, Susan Stockdale, Nevena Senior and Heather Dhondy, despite losing their last match 14-16 to Sweden, won comfortably, taking the gold medals from France who took silver and Turkey bronze.

The leading teams were: England 351, France 342, Turkey 333.5, Netherlands 333, Poland 323, Israel 317, Sweden 314, Austria 305, Italy 298, Norway.

The leading six will go to the world championships in Bali next year. Ireland, represented by Aileen O’Keeffe, Valerie Hand, Joan Kenny, Emer Joyce, Hilary Dowling-Long and Gilda Pender, with Gay Keaveney as non-playing captain, had a poor competition and finished last of the 19 competing nations.

Monaco have a commanding lead in the open championship. In the fifth round of the finals Monaco beat Ireland 25-0 – the heaviest defeat inflicted on an Irish team for many years.