Maureen Wright has become Mudgee's first Gold Master, one of the highest rankings available in the card game Bridge.
The rankings work on a career point count.
Games at a local level are played for green points, at congress level are red and super congress are gold points, which are tallied for a player’s overall ‘Masterpoints’.
But to climb the rankings you need a combination of the three different types.
Maureen and playing partner Barbara Green have travelled thousands of kilometres attending congresses from Canberra to the Gold Coast competing against the best in Australia to reach this level.
‘Gold Life’ level requires 750 points, however she said everything over the ‘Life’ ranking (300 points) is a bonus.
“Once I got to be Life Master I was absolutely overjoyed, then Bronze, Silver and now Gold,” she said.
“I’ve been playing since 1990, I started at Hunters Hill in Sydney and played there until I moved here in 2007.
“I started when I was semi-retired and I was brought up with Euchre, 500 and Solo, and Bridge was the ultimate.
“Once you play Bridge you’re not interested in anything else, it’s a fantastic game.
“And the local club is just lovely, I feel very privileged to be a part of it.”
There are two sides to Maureen when playing Bridge - kind and forgiving with beginners, but against the best she takes no prisoners.
“In congresses I’m quite ruthless, because it’s all or nothing then,” she said with a smile.
She has two partners, Sandra Capper who she plays with locally and Barbara who plays with her locally and travels to congresses with.
“You can’t do it without your partners, it’s impossible, and I’ve been very lucky,” she said.
The honour comes in the same year that Mudgee will host its first congress in a long time, on the weekend of November 4-5.
The next target is the ‘Grand’ rank at 1000 points or 250 points away for Maureen.
“It depends how ambitious you are, I’ve been ambitious for it ever since I started, and I just love it.
“It’s challenging, you’ve got to win and if you can’t win you’ve got to make the opposition lose,” she laughed.