As the 2022/23 Moray Province Curling season reached its conclusion this week, virtually all the silverware has now found it’s summer home.
Nairn’s Mike McInnes won the Open Knockout in his battle of the underdogs with Fochabers’ Alan Durno. Both teams currently reside in Division 2 of their respective Province Leagues and both had taken a number of fancied scalps en route to the Big Show. McInnes got off to a flyer, opening his account with 3 shots and led 6-0 after 3 ends.Durno could only pick up single shots and as the klaxon sounded, the Nairn rink were worthy 8-3 winners.
In the Province League East, Division 2 has seen the tightest finish in many a season as Charlie Watt jnr and Abby Duncan both lost their final game but Watt’s superior shots up total just allowed him to scrape ahead of both Fraser and Forres clubmate Mike MacDonald to win yet another Division title and climb into the top League next season . Watt jnr appeared to be in east street, leading 6-3 against the Durno team skipped by Mike Watt, but a steal of 3 by the Fochabers rink at the last end for a 7-6 win put a slight damper on the Forres celebrations. Charlie wasn’t worried for long however, as a couple of sheets away, Duncan’s Fochabers rink ,under the continued direction of Gordon Fraser were suffering a heavy defeat in their game against an inspired Bob Stewart. The Elgin skip could do no wrong on a tricky sheet of ice and a 10-3 victory was a dagger in the heart of his Fochabers opponents who had led the Division for such a substantial part of the season.
Division 1 champions Andy Cameron came a real cropper against Bill Jaffrey’s Fochabers team for whom skip Wilson Burnett was in exceptional form. With the front end putting shots in the house on straight and sometimes negative ice, and Burnett throwing perfect guards and freezes, poor Andy was continually left with nigh on impossible set ups and a consolation 3 shots in the final end was at least a small exclamation point on his outstanding season’s campaign.
Kenny Oswald and Dave McPherson were fighting for Division 1 survival, and the Tennis Club lads’ narrow 8-7 win was just enough to keep them in the top League despite Kenny’s convincing 8-3 win over Buckie’s Alan Campbell . 8-3 up with 2 ends to go, Tennis Club skip Roy Thomson breathed a huge sigh of relief as his Sunninghill opponents fought back strongly but just fell short of the win that would have condemned McPherson to relegation.
In the West, Larry Kerr just kept his nose ahead of clubmate Mike McInnes to snare the Division 2 title. McInnes managed a good win against Ian Thomson and was hoping for a Kerr loss but Larry ensured his table top spot with a convincing win over Ricky Marwick who is sent back to Division 2 along with Gus Forbes after just a year in the top Division.
Next Wednesday Inverness Ice Centre hosts the season’s finale with the meeting of East and West Division 1 winners as Andy Cameron’s Aberlour rink take on West champions Ali Fraser’s Ardclach rink for the Nicol Quaich