As avid bridge players, Evelyn and Bob Hurley have made plenty of contracts in their time. But it was the one they made in 1973 that's shaped their lives the most.
Bob joined Palmerston North Bridge Club in 1970, while Evelyn joined in 1971; 1971 is the year they met and they married at Easter 1973. On their honeymoon in Gisborne, they played their first tournament together.
Evelyn remembers Bob as being shy when they met, while Bob remembers being impressed his future wife was driving a sports car.
Evelyn worked at Massey University as an academic and helped set up the Bachelor of Agricultural Business there. Bob worked at the Palmerston North Courthouse for 43 years.
Bob was 18 when he started playing bridge in Ōpōtiki. His father was a keen bridge player who had learnt to play in the army.
"It's the best card game there is," Bob says. Once you've played bridge, you'll never play 500 or euchre again, he says. He got bored with those games.
Evelyn always wanted to play bridge and when she was doing her master's degree in Australia she played "kitchen" or "lunchtime" bridge, but nothing sophisticated.
She had read about bridge and it appealed as a way to occupy her mind.
When she returned to Palmy she decided to join the club. Her first partner was Heather Simpson, her former lecturer who is also still playing at the club.
Bob says partnerships have to spend time working on their game discussing their bidding, playing and defending strategies.
That it's a complicated game is demonstrated by the need for eight two-hour lessons for beginners before someone can begin to play.
Evelyn admits to sitting up in bed after a game analysing what happened and says Bob is the much better bridge player.
Bob says it is common for people's brains to be ticking over thinking about hands, but he can switch off. Evelyn says sometimes she does and sometimes she doesn't.
The Palmerston North Bridge Club opened in 1946 and past and present members are invited to celebrate the 75th jubilee on Sunday, May 30. There will be a champagne lunch, no fear bridge and a pot luck dinner with guest speaker.
"It is the membership that established and grew the club we know today: an exquisite building with modern facilities that has nurtured many grand master and international players," president Denise Servante says.
;• For more information on the jubilee, email email@example.com or contact Denise Servante on 027 353 0664. RSVPs are needed by May 24.