I started playing bridge with my parents when I was 14. It was only social rubber bridge but they were quite keen, and I guess I played a couple of times a week with them when I was in the sixth form. Then I went to Nottingham University, joined the bridge club there and subsequently married Tony Sowter. The bridge flourished and I played in my first Lady Milne, with Sally Eggett, in 1976, heavily pregnant with my son Ben.
I played in my first European Championship in 1979 with Sandra Landy, which we won. And we won again in 1981 and also the Venice Cup that year.
Round about then my marriage broke up and in December 1981 I married Mark Horton. The British women won the world championship again in 1985. The Landy/Horton bridge partnership broke up in 1987 and I started playing with Steve Lodge. We got very close to making the open team but not quite close enough. In 1991 my marriage again finished and in 1993 I married Raymond Brock. At that time I gave up any interest in international bridge to have two children, but started playing again in 2000 - in the mixed teams in Maastricht with Jason Hackett. I formed a partnership with Margaret Courtney and we won the European Championship in 2001 in Tenerife. In 2003 and 2004 I played with Kitty Teltscher. Our best performance resulted in a bronze medal in the 2004 Olympiad in Istanbul. Sadly Raymond died in early 2008 after a short illness.
At the end of 2008 I was brought in to form a scratch partnership with Nicola Smith in order to join the England Women's team for the World Mind Sports Games, where we won the gold medal. We then became a regular partnership, contending the Venice Cup in 2011 (4th), 2013 (2nd) and 2015 (3rd). In that period we also played in four European Championships with medals in 2012 (gold), 2014 (silver) and 2016 (gold). We also won the world women’s teams in Lille in 2012, Sanya in 2014 and Orlando in 2018. In 2017 we changed partnerships and I was runner-up in the Venice Cup in partnership with Fiona Brown.
Nowadays I make living mostly by professional bridge of one sort or another: writing (I am the columnist for the Sunday Times, and also write for Mr Bridge), playing and teaching online. For the last few years I have formed a partnership, both at and away from the bridge table, with Barry Myers. I am squad leader on the Under 26 women, and captained them to win the bronze medal in the European Championship in 2017, and, with less success, in the 2018 World Championship and 2019 European.
Sally received the Diamond Award from the EBU in November 2017 in recognition of her outstanding contribution to England's international teams. In 2019 Sally was inducted into the European Hall of Fame.
Read Sally's Top Table interview - December 2012
Last updated: July 2019
Major International Appearances
Women's European Championships: 1979* 1981* 1983 1985 1987 1989 1993 2001* 2004 2010 2012* 2014 2016* and 2018
Venice Cup: 1981* 1985* 2001 2005 2011 2013 2015 and 2017
Women's World Olympiad: 1980 1984 2004 2008* 2012* and 2016
McConnell Cup: 2014* 2018*
* = 1st place
Camrose Trophy Selections: 1985 1989 1990 1991 and 2015
Lady Milne Trophy Selection: 1976 1977 1982 1985 1986 2001 2004 2010 (EBU team) 2011 2013, 2015 and 2019
Teltscher Trophy Selections: 2016
Gold Cup Winner: 1984 1989 and 1990
Crockfords Winner: 1985 1987 1990 and 2004
National Teams Congress winner: 1990
The Hubert Phillips Bowl Winner: 2000 2001 2002 2004 2014, 2016 and 2019
Tollemache Cup winner: 2013 and 2014
Player of the Year Championship:
For most of 2019 I am the current number one world ranked woman.