Curling resumed this week at Moray Leisure Centre following the October school holiday break and what a cracking opening match it turned out to be.In Moray Province’s equivalent of the U.E.F.A. Supercup Ally Fraser’s West Province winning Ardclach rink just held off Kenny Oswald’s East winning Elgin rink by a single shot to pick up the Nicol Quaich and are thus crowned Moray Province Champions of season 2021/22.
On difficult and rather disappointing ice, the game started with a bang as Oswald scored a second end 3 in response to his opponent’s opening end 4. Things settled down thereafter and Oswald’s perfectly laid draw to the button pulled his team level at 5 shots each after 4 ends. Hitting on the negative ice was proving hazardous and so heads were pretty congested around the button and Fraser played an absolute beauty to tap and lie 2 for a 2 shot lead going down the last end. With last stone and lying 1, OswaId had a chance to tie the match , but his well weighted draw just fell against the handle to wreck on a front stone and an audible sigh of relief heralded the Ardclach team’s tightest of victories. Congratulations to what is most probably Moray Province’s finest team who had got to the semi finals of the Scottish Province Championship the previous weekend.
East League business opened with 2 Division 2 club derbies as Charlie Watt jnr put one over on Forres clubmate Mike MacDonald with a convincing 8-3 win. MacDonald could only pick up 3 singles in reply to Watt’s opening deuce and seventh end 3 to give the youngster his first Division 2 success.
With both skips absent, the Fochabers’ Durno versus Duncan derby was once again in the hands of relief skips Mike Watt and Gordon Fraser. Clochan farmer Durno ,fulfilling a longstanding obligation as guest lead breakdancer for the Piccadilly Rats in Manchester and Duncan were not particularly missed as the game was a veritable cat and mouse affair with single shot scores at each of the 8 ends played. Things could have gone either way and , tied at 3 apiece after 6 ends it was Watt who looked as if he might be the likelier victor with counting stones around the house. However, the wily Fraser, rather akin to a Dickensian Artful Dodger took singles at the last 2 ends to leave Watt and his team dejectedly looking as if they had just had their pockets picked.
Elgin’s Bob Stewart maintained his good form with a big win over Willie Cameron’s Aberlour. Cameron was another absent leader, currently nursing a dodgy shoulder, and, quite frankly, a chicken has a healthier pair of wings than Willie.Stand in Speyside skip Jim Gault picked up a 3 in the second end to briefly lead but a third end 3 of his own and another 3 at the last gave the Elgin rink both points.