'Ruthless and aggressive' - meet the ladies of bridge

By Gabrielle Stuart

Jenny Wilkinson, left, and Shirley Newton will be flying off to South Korea at the end of the month for the Asia Pacific Bridge Federation Championships.
Jenny Wilkinson, left, and Shirley Newton will be flying off to South Korea at the end of the month for the Asia Pacific Bridge Federation Championships.

They are ruthless, aggressive, and have represented New Zealand at 30 international championships around the world - but you probably haven't heard of them.

Meet Jenny Wilkinson and Shirley Newton, Christchurch's bridge playing dream-team.

They are now New Zealand's longest-standing bridge partnership, playing together since 1989.

This year they will be off again, flying to South Korea at the end of the month to compete in the Asia Pacific Bridge Federation Championships, then to France in August for the World Bridge Teams Championships. Through competing, Newton said the pair had been able to have some amazing adventures around the world, from riding camels in the desert to exploring markets in Asia.

Their usual policy was "what goes on tour stays on tour," she said.

But they had plenty of stories - like one experience while taking a bus through a "dubious" neighbourhood in Tunisia in North Africa.

"Someone pinched my bum. I turned around and it was the oldest, wrinkliest old man. I elbowed Jenny, and she turned around and just burst out laughing," she said.

Although they had plenty of fun while on tour, during the tournaments they stayed very focused, she said.

The pair first competing together in 1989, when they made the World Championships in Perth. Since then, they have played for New Zealand as partners almost every year, and had steadily improved, she said.

Their best performance was a fifth placing in the World Games last year in Poland.

- Christchurch Star

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