Oswald Retains Quaich.

Moray Province East winner v Moray Province West winner for Nicol Quaich

K. Oswald ( Elgin)  7 A. Fraser ( Ardclach)   6

The 2018/2019 Moray Province Curling season closed this week with the traditional East League Winners versus West League Winners for the Nicol Quaich  and then ,on the following night, the Province Points competition for The Heather Little Trophy.
The Quaich donor, Bill Nicol was in attendance at Moray Leisure Center to see the East’s champion Kenny Oswald retain the silverware  he won last year, but only by the closest of margins in a titanic tussle with Ardclach’s Ali Fraser.  Interestingly, anagrams of the skips names suggested the match up was between Air Flares And Slow Keny. In any case, the  Elgin skip got off to a great start with a 4 at the second end, but Ali hit back immediately with a 3 at the next end to tie the scores.There were plenty of stones  in play all through the match, as Oswald’s steady lead Susan Mackenzie was metronomic with her weight, setting up virtually every end and  with an on form Barron and  and a consistently strong Marshall at two and three, the Elgin team seemed to outrank if not actually outplay their Nairnshire opponents.  With the ice running rather straight in patches, Ali missed an open takeout  in the  fourth end and Kenny drew for two to open up a two shot lead. Fraser hit back with a single  and then a cannily weighted hit and roll gave the Ardclach rink a good steal at the next to tie the game again. The final end saw a pretty congested head  and with the Elgin team lying shot and holding the hammer, Ardclach third Neil MacArthur played a cracking draw through a narrow port to just outcount the Elgin stone. Oswald’s only way into the button was an in wick off  his own wide stone on the right of the house and following an on hack discussion with brother Grant and cousin Simon, Ali Fraser elected to hit and run to remove that option. Agonisingly, however, his out turn take out drew and poor Ali nipped out his own shot to leave Oswald lying one for his 7-6 victory and no need to play his last stone.  Phew! What a game.

Moray Province Points 2018-2019

In the  season’s only  competition  where the players only have themselves to blame, 4 shots at each of 9 different shot set ups allow individual curlers to accumulate points.  Neil MacArthur  partially made up for his previous night’s disappointment with a two point win. His score of 46 beat  runner up Steve Rankin who, in turn was two points ahead of joint third placed Dean Clark of Nairn and Mike Watt of Fochabers .

Curling concludes on the first weekend of April with Andy Cameron’s Moray International Bonspiel.