Friday, November 05, 2010

Can you ever have too much curling?

The thought of retirement has been uppermost in my mind recently as my job in the Civil Service comes under threat from Government cutbacks. Mind you many people seem to think I have been retired for years otherwise why am I always up in Scotland curling! And it has been one of those months – after the Duncan Stewart Trophy (see my earlier blog post) – I have now spent ten days north of the border, mainly at Greenacres playing in the Welsh Bonspiel and the European Seniors. In fact I am sitting in Greenacres now in the middle of the latter competition just waiting for my session to begin.

The Glenfarclas Welsh Bonspiel was another successful weekend for the organising committee of John and Ann Stone and Margaret Meikle. Unfortunately a late withdrawal meant that one group was a team short and so one team had to have a bye each session. Bob has mentioned the winners of the main trophy, see here. Adrian Meikle, Andy Tanner and Adrian’s young daughters, helped this time by Kirsty Harrison, became the first players to win three Welsh Bonspiels in a row. What a story for those young girls to tell in the future! In the final they defeated a team from the Borders skipped by Colin Martin with his wife Liz and Glynnice and David Lauder.

Yours truly was fortunate to win the B road especially after being 0-11 down after the first four ends of my first game! Fortunately there was one team worse than us after the first session and they got the bye while we were able to boost our ends and shots totals by winning our next two games quite easily. The fourth session saw us play our old rivals,the Mansons and Paxtons, and, as is always the case between us, this one went to the last stone. In the B final we (myself, Dawn Watson, Donald Forbes and Jean Robinson) defeated Graeme Adam, Jim Jamieson and their wives. See photo above.

In the C final Chris Wells, Michael Yuille and Lesley McKenna (playing as a 3 after their 4th player had to leave early) defeated perennial finalists in the Welsh, Gordon and Jacqui Crawford and Joyce Young, helped this year by Robin Shand.

And so after two days rest, including nine holes at a wonderful little golf course at Anstruther (see here) which includes what has been described as a blind dog-leg par 3 rated as one of the toughest par 3s in the country, it was back to Greenacres for the European Seniors.

A late withdrawal by the Russian men owing to a serious illness taxed the organisers who were able to find a local ‘gather-up’ team skipped by Jim Becket – another reminder of the pleasures of retirement – being able to step in at the last minute to play in a competition. All the scores can be found on the Greenacres website, here, and I will add a few more personal thoughts in a later blog. But it has been good to see such a wide selection of teams here from Finland, Sweden, Norway, England, Wales, Ireland, Czech Republic, Netherlands and Russia.

The withdrawal of the Russian men deprived me of my chance to get my revenge for them beating me in Chelyabinsk in the World Seniors and served me up a tough first game against Jim Becket. I managed a peel at 5-5 and this was one of six such games in the first day – 20% of the total. With no extra ends and ends and shots counting it enabled the programme to stay nearly on track but it has to be said that some of the games have been quite slow going.

Interesting results from Day one were the failure of the holder, Karl Nordlund, to win either of his first two games, losing to Chris Wells of Wales and David Clydesdale. Also the defeat of Scottish Champion, Isobel Waddell by Els Neeleman’s Dutch ladies, and peels for Mauno Nummila of Finland against Gary MacFarlane, and Peter Wilson of Ireland against Colin Hamilton.

The photo of the J & M Trophy winners is by Hugh Stewart. L-R: Andrew Tanner (presenting); Jean Robinson (lead), John Brown (skip), Dawn Watson (third) and Donald Forbes (second).

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