Saturday 24 October saw the staging of the 4th Indoor Grand Match, a 5 yearly event which involved 2,376 curlers representing 388 clubs competing in a North versus South format at 17 ice rinks throughout Scotland with 3 sessions being played at each rink. Ayr and Alloway had entered 2 rinks and were drawn to play in the first session (10.00am) at Ayr (very convenient!) and also at Perth (less so!).
A & A1 comprising Ronnie Wilson (skip), Alan McKinlay, Bella Kennedy and Lynne Bowman were up against Abercorn 1, a Linlithgow based club founded in 1897 and (according to the RCCC yearbook) with a membership of 30. Their home ice rink is Kinross though on occasions play also takes place at Murrayfield and The Peak, Stirling. It was a close game with A & A scoring a successions of 1s, interspersed with a 2 at the 4th end – perhaps the attraction of a “Clyde Steamer” at the imminent interval was the necessary incentive. In end 6 however Abercorn got on the scoreboard with a 3 but their hopes of more success were ill founded as A & A wrapped up the last 2 ends to complete an 8 – 3 victory. Overall everyone in the A & A rink played well with skip Ronnie in particular making amends for a fatal error in end 6 by playing a crucial winning shot in end 7!! All in all it had been a fun morning rounded off with good food and banter after the game.
A & A2 were represented by June Richmond, Ken Gray, John MacLeod and David Gray (skip) for whom it was an early start in order to be at Perth Ice Rink for the 10.00am session. David reports as follows: We arrived in plenty of time for a coffee and bacon roll, registration and exchange of badges before being piped on to the ice in an orderly fashion for photographs. Our opponents were a local team from Muthill CC, which, we were to learn, has extremely interesting history. They have minutes of their Club Meetings dating back to 1739 – thus establishing 275 years of continuous play and amongst the top oldest Clubs in Scotland. Seemingly our local historian David Smith acknowledges they could in fact be the oldest.
We found the ice exceptionally keen but after losing a two at the first end, our lead players June and Ken quickly found their weight and were able to give us a telling foundation thereafter and we scored singles at ends two and three before a four at the fourth end. Brooms were then stacked for a wee dram…sadly no gin for June! All teams had been asked beforehand to ensure that 8 ends were played in each session so it was a short break and when play continued we won three of the four remaining ends, winning the game with a score of 9 to 3. This may appear convincing but in the final end Muthil threatened strongly to snatch a peel but narrowly failed.
We then returned upstairs for a drink followed by a welcome lunch…our opponents being interesting and generous hosts. Overall a very enjoyable event very well organised by RCCC and Perth Curling Club and very much appreciated by the A&ACC travelling team.
As a post script it should be noted that South beat North by 226 shots – 2,154 to 1,928! – so at least both A & A rinks can take some credit for helping to ensure a South success.
Ayr & Alloway 1 with their Abercorn opposition
The Perth travellers! – Ayr & Alloway 2 with the Muthil rink