Back on January 31 2016 the IBU trials had been turned upside down. The underdogs known as Team O'Brien had doggedly hung on for 60 boards and on boards 61-80 on Sunday morning they suddenly opened up a 52 imp lead.
So what if anything could Team Moran do ... Well they started with a team talk from Hugh McGann out the front of the Regent Bridge Club
We lead well We defend well We bid well and we just hope the boards contain the IMPS..
And so it began
We setup the vugraph and retired down to the Regent Bar and the big screen and we also had
a few laptops
We started watching the Closed Room where Ranald and BJ as North South battled John Carroll and Tommy Garvey ..
Board 19 was a quiet 2S down 1 by EW looking like a gain for Moran as up to 10 tricks were available for NS in a no trump contract ..
Board 20 came on the screen and showed North South declaring 3H with Garvey Carroll taking a cut at it... so 3HX by BJ OBrien
From the off to us kibitzers it looked like 3 simple clubs a diamond and a HEART for down 1 ...
However Carroll and Garvey had other ideas and a clu and two diamond plays later the gallant BJ had a plausible play for 10 tricks ... However like all good players he guaranteed his contract and made 3H for 730...
This looked like about 15 imps out for Team Moran and a deficit of 67 imps ..
At this stage Declan Byrne the Regent Club Manager approached and glanced at the score and indicated we can make better use of our time. He wanted to know about setting up vugraph and some
Pairs Scorer stuff .. so off we went to his private kitchen where the Regent Club computer and other tools reside. For the next 40 minutes we did some computer bridge techy stuff and there was little sound from the battlefront..
When I emerged from Declans Den ... the BJ Milne room was starting board 5....A light 1S opening by McGann caught Wojech with a strong NT without a spade stop so he was confined to DOUBLE and Ruzinski holding a 2452 8 count bid 2H and there they played.
With no opening in this room Garvey Carroll sailed into the cold (as cards lie) 3NT and it was 6 imps for Moran
Board 6 saw a flat 4S
Onto Board 7 Both played in 3NT
Milne chose an attacking spade lead and that sort of was a comfortable 9th trick for Carroll ..
In the other room Hanlon found a safer Diamond lead and Wojech had to sniff out a 9th trick.
He tried for 3-3 HEARTS eventually and down he went .. 12 imps
The gap was 32 imps but the 15 on board 20 still loomed so call it 47 imps
Board 8 and 6C contract flashed on the screen as the Hanlon result in other room
O;Brien Milne stopped off in 5C
Hanlon McGann with slightly better methods were able to indicate DIAMONDS on the way
and Hanlon bid the 6C ... No problems in the play .. ruff out some diamonds ...
11 imps to Moran ... and now its 191 played 170 and the gap is closing but 3HX is still in the bag for Team O'Brien
Hanlon sent over 4H in the North for 420 ..
Garvey Carroll found an unfavourable 5D sacrifice doubled off 1 to gain another 6 imps
These guys wear IRON trousers ... 191 plays 176 ...
Meanwhile Rory Boland sitting beside me is looking ahead and analysing the future boards as the mainly pro O'Brien audience look on ... He thinks a small imp win is possible despite the 3H heavy loss looming on board 20
Onto Board 10 Wojech Marcin drop 200 for off 2 vulnerable in 2S
Meanwhile in the other room Carroll also declares 2S and gets the H10 lead
Anyway Carroll got home in 2S for 6 imps and the score was O'Brien 191 Moran 183
And so we moved to Board 11
Team Moran declared 4H in one room and were defeated by 1 trick whereas Team O'Brien stayed lower and played in 3H and were allowed make that contract for another 6 imps
Some respite for Team O'Brien who opened up a 14 imp lead with Board 20 still to score.
197 plays 183
Onto board 12 and the excitement continued
Hanlon McGann as is their style bid a game and hoped someone might allow it make.
Not today boys so down 1 in 4S. Not a good result when you are on the chase and down 1 normally slows down chasers
However Carroll and Garvey attempted the double fit 5D as East West and the defenders failed to find the club ruffs and 5DX came home for 550 and 10 much needed imps
The score .. 197 O'Brien 193 Moran
And we go to 13 where both sides get to declare 3NT ... Hanlon is quickest and gets a spade lead as opposed to a killing Heart Lead ... Hanlon makes 10 tricks for 630 and the screw is turning ..
Garvey pings out a HEART and that's down 1 and another 12 imps
7 boards to go and the scoreboard amazingly shows Moran 205 O'Brien 197 but more is required to cover board 20
Boards 14 15 16 17 were quiet flat boards played in mostly the same contracts
So we are at board 18 with the score 205 plays 197
O'Brien Milne tried or got pushed to 4C in the Open Room and despite the defense not collecting all their tricks it was 4C down 2 and plus 100 .. In the Closed Room Wojech attempted 2D as a contract on the 4-3 fit. This also went down 1 and the tunnel was open and one could see light and it was not
an oncoming O'Brien train .. Moran 211 O'Brien 197
Board 19 finally came on the screen ...
Carroll and Garvey stole away in a 2S contract with less than their share of the high cards.
It looked like a NT partcore for North South making about 9 tricks so should be 2 imps to Moran
However Rory Boland in the spectators vugraph room had been touting 3NT by Hanlon McGann since around board 10 when the imps started flowing back ..
He reckoned .. McGann upgrades to a 14-16 and Hanlon drives to game
How right he was
Moran 219 O'Brien 197 and it was onto board 20 with a 22 imp lead
So Congratulations to the Moran team on a terrific comeback. However maybe they need to examine some of the previous 80 boards to find out why they were in the hole