Photo of Cassandra with her grandchildren

In 1974, I was offered a job in the NSW Dept of Education as a 22-year- old recent graduate from a university in the US. It was a 2-year stint tax free from both countries so I jumped at the chance.

Soon after arriving I met my husband-to-be who already played bridge. I grew up playing a lot of cards – mostly with my grandmother who changed the rules in Canasta each time we played (or so it seemed)! Playing so many games growing up led me to want to join Graham and his friends to learn how to play bridge.

Within 6 months we were married and had moved to Melbourne as Graham worked for Esso and was transferred there. Bridge was not on our radar there and we stopped playing. Shortly after arriving in Melbourne, buying ablock of land and starting our new home, I got a job, got busy working and we started our family. Within 16 months we had our four sons; Triplets first then the fourth one.

Shortly afterwards we moved to Malaysia for two years where, with a lot of household help, I could join a bridge club and play every week in a regular group. My love of bridge couldn’t be stopped now.  

After Graham’s job was over we again moved to Melbourne where I went back to university to get a postgraduate degree In Special Education, raised the boys, went back to work and onto the board of the Australian Multiple Birth Association.

Bridge took a temporary back seat. In 1986, we moved back to Sydney and into our home in Roseville where we still live.I can still remember going to the Gordon Bridge Club and meeting Pauline Haynes. With the naivety of youth, I thought we wouldn’t be partnering very long because of her age. She was the age I am now. (Pauline still plays very well too!) We were regular partners for 25 years, 2 nights a week!

I think we joined Peninsula in 1999, a year or two before the club moved into the new premises. In 2011 Pauline decided not to play at night anymore so I too stopped playing for a little bit.

Clare Filmer-Ramsay called me up one day and asked me to play with her at night and our partnership developed from then. Our most successful results came in January this year when we came in second in the Canberra Penline 500. It was thrilling to be playing so well in that field! We won the Goulburn competition in October 2016 and we also made it to the finals in the GNOT in Sydney in 2016 with Peter Clarke and Jim Rothwell! This successful team will battle it out again this year for glory!

Clare and I play every Tuesday and Friday night and I also play on Wednesday nights with Noleen Cregan. I have recently ‘retired’ (although I am only on leave until all my leave is used up and I decide to relinquish my position) as Principal of a small special school near North Sydney - so I am looking to play regularly during the day one day a week too. I will also be spending more time with our adult children and delightful grandchildren (pictured here).

I have played in four countries and in a lot of clubs and I can honestly say no club beats the friendly atmosphere, the clean and spacious environment and the level of expertise that we enjoy at Peninsula. I am on my ‘L’ plates as a director and hope to join the committee this year to lend a hand. Bridge is an exciting and stimulating game; one which I don’t think I will ever master but also one in which I will aspire to improve.