I’m not your typical bridge player that’s for sure! After not making football professionally for Norwich City, I was mixing with the wrong crowd at secondary school and nearly left at 16 to do something vocational at college. However, I managed to pull my socks up and get the sufficient GCSE’s I needed to stay onto sixth form. It was here when I enjoyed what I chose to do rather than have subjects put out right in front of me! At this point I had already decided I wanted to give something back to the community and become a PE teacher. A levels in PE, psychology and biology significantly improved and got me into one of the top 10 sport science providers in the UK at the time and also the joys of London. As you can imagine, It was fair to say that bridge was quite limited at uni but I did manage to squeeze in a Silver Plate (Gold Cup Consolation) win in 2009. I started learning bridge when I was about 15, through my bridge-playing dad (the better bridge-playing Ip in the family of course) who you may have come across when we’re playing in National competitions and congresses. Like many others, I found it addictive and very enjoyable. Currently, I live in South Birmingham after relocating there 3 years ago for my previous PE teaching role at a sixth form college. I live 10 minutes away from West Midlands Bridge Club, where I play in the Warwickshire Pairs League and the rare club game. I bought a house and actually do Airbnb at my place so if you are playing in a congress nearby, come and book with me for a comfortable and luxurious stay at a very reasonable price! My favourite bridge moments/memories include:
- Wearing a baseball cap aged 15 whilst playing in a bridge club in Norfolk and causing distress amongst the community - oh how times have changed!
- Being Zia Mahmood for one morning on April Fool’s Day and asking the tournament organiser to find me a partner at my local congress. She was not expecting Zia to come to a small place in Norfolk that’s for sure! On that same morning I told one of my regular partners (on standby) that he had to play with someone he’d rather avoid!
- Making my partners play my complicated system (I feel sorry for them!), particularly my dad, Simon Budd and Mark Hill. Andy Cope is my latest victim but he seems to be ‘Coping’ with it!
- Facing a bridge professional at a big congress in my younger days, we bid to 6NT. At trick 2, I pulled out the wrong card letting something stupid like the 7 win the trick. I was devastated, and called the director in despair. Nothing could be done about it, so I won the return and started to reel off my winners. Amusingly, a squeeze developed and I proceeded to make the rest of the tricks. Some might say I rectified the count ha! That really goes to show not to give up if you make a mistake during the play, and it also taught me to play slower ever-so slightly!
My other hobbies include travelling, playing various sports, going to the gym, being a foodie and being massively in to my music! I surprise a lot of people with my music repertoire, as I go through my timeline of favourites. Due to working at a nightclub when I was 14 (Don’t ask how), I developed a love for Soul/Motown music as they held regular soul and northern soul nights. I love how hip-hop and R’n’b have sampled some old classics (e.g. Warren G’s Regulate sampling Michael McDonald’s I keep Forgetting), but also some hidden gems that may have not been heard of before (e.g. Dr Dre’s Next Episode sampling David McCallum’s The Edge and G-Unit’s Wanna Get To Know You sampling Marvin Gaye’s Come Live With Me Angel). I also like British rock, including the invasion of the 60s (Stones, Who) to the Punk era… The Jam, Pistols, The Clash leading onto post punk like The Smiths, The Cure, Joy Division, The Style Council, and then The Stone Roses and into 90’s Britpop, with the Blur vs Oasis battle! Old school R’n’b has a special place in my early teens, and some Indie bands in the noughties but it wasn’t until 2008-2014 when I was going to a lot of gigs in London where I met a lot of the indie bands in real life before they made the big time! (Bombay Bicycle Club, Mystery Jets, Foals, Two Door Cinema Club etc) Not bad for a 90’s baby eh!