Suffolk celebrates new world champion

THE top bridge player in Suffolk was crowned a world champion in Brazil on Saturday after helping guide the England team to victory.

THE top bridge player in Suffolk was crowned a world champion in Brazil on Saturday after helping guide the England team to victory.

David Price, who is captain of the county side, was a member of the victorious six man England team which beat Poland 183-167 in the final of the D'Orsi Senior Bowl at the 39th World Team Championships in Sao Paulo.

The success was only the second victory achieved by an England team in more than half a century at the game's biannual world championships.

Colchester-born David, 60, who lives at Little Maplestead, near Halstead and is a retired insurance executive, has played professional bridge for many years.

He has won most of the top tournaments in Britain and represented England on numerous occasions. He was appointed Suffolk captain earlier this year.

Speaking from Brazil before flying into Heathrow today , the Clare bridge club member described the gold medal success as "the greatest thing that has happened to me in the bridge world."

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He said: "We had a feeling that something good was going to happen to us. We did not play very well in the first of six sets of 16 boards in the final but all through the event we had confidence and self belief.”

A strict regime during the fortnight long tournament contributed to England's victory. "We had one or two glasses of wine with dinner but there was no after dinner drinking and we went to bed early. In my case I was tucked up by 10pm most nights.

"During the two weeks I played 548 hands of bridge - and did not go outside the hotel at all. It is a violent city and after the second night, when the Japanese team were held up at knifepoint, the furthest I stepped outside was two yards!"

During a gruelling two weeks of bridge involving 22 different countries, England came top of the preliminary 'round robin' stage before a knockout between the top eight nations.

David guaranteed a gold medal for England in the final against Poland with some superb defensive play in the closing stages before a final board flourish in the which he bid three no trumps - requiring him to make nine tricks - and he made 11.

Andrew Moore, chairman of the Suffolk Contract Bridge Association, said: "David has helped to re-write the game's history books with this outstanding success. England's triumph in Brazil is the footballing equivalent of winning the World Cup - and we are enormously proud of his contribution to bridge for his country and for Suffolk."