Things started very well, when I doubled a Blackwood response of 5♦ leading Phil to find a winning Diamond lead against 6♣ which let us take the first two tricks and defeat a slam that would normally make. A pleasing instance of partnership co-operation in defence. Then two boards later we were the only table to bid and make 7♥ after a very unconvincing auction. But these few highs were wiped out by all the little boards that make the difference in match points. It was a high standard, much higher than us, and after those initial highs we plummeted to finish bottom with 38.5%.
As bridge players like to do, I have rationalised our bad score into boards where the opponents were particularly successful against us, and boards where I had to admit we brought it on ourselves. In the first category were a couple where they bid a game (e.g. 3♣-5♣), we sat there and defended accurately (taking the maximum possible of two tricks), but got a bottom as other tables were not in the same making game. Nothing you can do about that.
Another example is the deal below, where our opponents were the only ones to bid 4♠, after Phil opened the South hand with a Weak Two.
It's probably an overbid by East with his Hearts sitting badly, but worked well here with the Club fit and ten tricks were easy.
That one I expected to be a bad score, ,ore frustrating was the board below. I took a bit of a risk and thought it had paid of handsomely with a good result, until I looked at the Bridgemate and saw we'd got another bottom score.
After Phil opened the South hand 1♦, I responded 1♠, reasoning that with my Diamond fit we'd always end up somewhere good. This turned out to be the case as Phil rebid 2♦, and made it for +90. But every other table had East-West going down one in 4♥, for +100 to East-West. It's a cruel game.
Last time Phil and I played together (see here) it was aggregate, and we thought afterwards that we should have bid a few more thin games. Six months later playing match points, we adopted that strategy, and played some very dicey contracts, that all went down. The deal below was the height of our folly:
The auction is fine up to 2♠, but then I should really pass. We might have a game, but it's very unlikely, and 2♠ could well be high enough, if partner has only a doubleton Spade and weak hand (as here). But I chose to invite anyway. And Phil, perhaps overestimating my playing ability, chose to accept with his 5 point hand and tried 3NT based on his long Clubs. But we couldn't play 3NT with 20 points between us so settled in 4♠. The one advantage of bad bidding is that it's hard to defend, and we managed nine tricks, but would much rather have had them in 2♠+1 than 4♠-1.
We were playing a simple Acol system with three Weak Twos, and I think it worked well. The only confusion was in defence, when we weren't sure what counted as enough to encourage, and I ended up eagerly continuing a suit that Phil didn't really want. Of course we'll fix all that up though and come storming back for the National Pairs.