The Home Bridge Internationals for England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland (then called the Irish Free State) was launched in 1937. Lord Camrose, at that time proprietor of the Daily Telegraph, donated the trophy in 1936. The original trophy has been lost, but a replacement is competed for annually.
The 1939 series was not completed due to the start of WWII. The Camrose re-started in 1946, so the 2007 Camrose will be the sixty fourth to be held. This makes the Camrose the most-played international bridge series in the world. The South of Ireland dropped out in 1951 but rejoined as the Republic of Ireland in December 1998.
England have won the Camrose on no less than 47 occasions, Scotland winning 13 times and the Republic of Ireland since their reinstatement in 1998 winning 3 Camrose trophies including the last 2. Sadly Northern Ireland and my very own Wales have never had the honour of lifting the trophy but who knows, 2007 could be the year of The Dragon!!! The trophy has been tied on 2 occasions and they were in 1972 & 1973 when England & Scotland could not be split.
The Camrose used to be decided with head to head matches over the course of 5 weekends with each team sitting out 1 weekend in turn. However since 2004 the Camrose has been played over just 2 weekends with all countries playing both weekends. This proved to be a successful change with the only draw back being that with 5 countries present there would always be a country having to sit out an entire session. BGB (Bridge Great Britain) have solved this by allowing the holders of the trophy each year to send 2 teams to the next Camrose trophy. This comes into affect at the up and coming 2007 Camrose trophy so the ROI will be represented by 2 teams.
My partner and I are lucky enough to have as team mates 2 very talented pairs with bags of experience playing not only in dozens of Camrose matches but have represented Wales at European and World championships too.
Mark Roderick (Coch Draig)