HONOURS: Whakatane mahjong player Rika DeVries was the overall winner of last weekend’s tournament. Photo supplied

LAST weekend’s Whakatane Mahjong Tournament was the biggest yet and raised more than $1000 for Hospice Eastern Bay.

It is the 21st year the tournament has been held and organiser Kathleen Riggs says players enjoyed the larger venue of the Whakatane Bridge Club rooms in Commerce Street, where it was held for the first time this year.

“This turned out to be a perfect venue with plenty of room for the players to move around the rooms and a lovely area out the back to have their lunch,” she says. In previous years the event has been held at the Lyceum Club where the Whakatane group holds twice-weekly games.

Thanks to Eastern Bay businesses donating prizes both for the tournament winners and for raffles, which raised $415, the group was able to present a cheque for $1100 to hospice.

“We would also like to thank the Quota ladies, who for the past nine years, have volunteered their day to prepare morning and afternoon teas and lunch for the tournament, which are to the highest standard and beautifully presented.”

Kathleen says the tournament was attended by 72 players from around the North Island, and this year, for the first time, four of the players were men.

“Three of the men were from Whakatane and one from Ohope. I think they were a bit nervous to start with, with so many women, but they all said they thoroughly enjoyed it.”

The overall winner was Whakatane woman Rika DeVries with 46 points. Runner up was Janet Randell from Whangamata with 45 points and third-equal with 41 points were Joy Leydon from Tauranga and Michelle Lunny from Auckland.

Eastern Bay Life Photographer John Morin went along to catch the action.

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