Yes, of course the League title is the Blue Riband of Province curling,but surely the romance still lies , like the F.A. Cup,in the cut and thrust of the Open Knockout . It is hardly a “ Clash of Continents “ and thankfully neither was it a clash of incontinents. Nevertheless,there was excitement aplenty.
In this week’s quarter finals, the traditional East v West match ups finished with 2 victories to each side of the Province and set up a couple of mouth watering semi final clashes.
The pick of the games was the 6-6 peel between Aberlour’s Andy Cameron and Dalcross’s Tom Pendreigh . Pendreigh is a man who has curled and coached near the summits, but Cameron himself is no stranger to mountain tops! The Aberlour rink were ahead early before Pendreigh’s men hit back with a 3 and then a single steal to lead 6-4 going into the final end. A cleverly set up deuce brought the teams level at 6 shots each and so it was down to which skip could draw his extra stone nearest the button to decide who would advance. Cameron held his nerve and delivered a beauty thus setting up a semi final clash with current trophy holder Ardclach’s Ally Fraser.Fraser’s team totally outplayed Elgin’s Bob Stewart, scoring heavily over the last 4 ends in a 17-2 win.
In the Battle of the Bakers, shortbread came out on top of scotch pies as Allan Campbell’s team overcame Ali Asher 6-3. Never behind, the Buckie unit’s pair of deuces in the third and fourth ends were enough to secure their passage to the semi final and a meeting with Angus Forbes whose Nairn team came from a 6-4 deficit to pip Alan Durno. A 3 and a steal in the last end allowed the Nairn lads to leapfrog the big Clochan farmer.
In the East League Division 1, Kenny OswaId maintained his perfect record with a 6-5 win over Alan Campbell. This was suitable recompense for last week’s knockout game between the teams, when the score was the same, but was a reverse of the outcome.
Sunninghill’s 11-3 win over Mike MacDonald saw a welcome return to skip by Donald Ross. A count of 5 to the hoteliers in the fourth end was the decisive blow. In the Aberlour club and family battle, it was father Willie who triumphed over son Andy. Racing to a 7-0 lead after 4 ends, Cameron senior was never behind as skip Jim Gault steered his rink to a 9-7 win.
In Division 2 Elgin Tennis Club also maintained their 100 % record with a convincing 10-2 win over Eddie Milne’s Darnaway team. Skip Roy Thomson was in scintillating form and the straight sets victory was in the bag as the Tennis boys racked up an 8-1 lead after 5 ends.
Abby Duncan won the Fochabers club bragging rights with an 11-8 victory over clubmate Bill Jaffrey. In a contest where the lead changed hands several times, the experienced Fochabers gunslinger Duncan pulled away with threes at ends five and six for a handsome win. A count of 3 at the penultimate end was decisive in Alan Durno’s win over Andrew Allardyce. Shared counts of one at all the other ends meant that the Elgin rink had to settle for a 6-4 defeat.
Owen Watson and Bob Stewart were vying for second place in Division 3 and it was the old fox Stewart who prevailed over Watson’s young guns. In a very tight contest, a 2 at the fourth end and then 2 single steals gave the Elgin rink the closest of 7-5 victories.