Hereward Legge-Bhandy's quartet (Lucinda Legge-Bhandy/Merkin, Rancible) forced the early pace at the Area Finals at the Pillager Hotel, Westward Ho! and Ivor Merkin came up with a fine 'barrage' of 'three over fives' to help Legge-Bhandy's cause.
The 'dutch auction' proved a dilemma for East. Though we know that 1NT covers a multitude of sins, there is often a hidden penalty, due to the absence of intermediates, and West will rarely ignore the Holy Grail of quandary ducking (here, a JackSpades attack was spurned in favour of a KingHearts starving precursor, and South was left seeking inspiration).
Circumspect embattlement - QueenDiamonds on the table and a singleton JackClubs in the hand of either North or West proved a decisive gambit - saved the day. Merkin could drive out the AceClubs and bide his time with AceHearts.
North's deficiency in an awkward continuation brought the curtain down. Legge-Bhandy could walk tall yet again. Merkin had covered over the cracks and spared the blushes of a grateful Legge-Bhandy, who is surely destined for the Minchinhampton Nationals.