There were a couple of stunning results in this week’s Moray curling League .
The last remaining East Province rink with an unblemished 2023/24 record, Jim Gault’s Aberlour were comprehensively defeated by Helen Downey’s Elgin team who pulled themselves up from the Division 3 basement with an outstanding win. The scoreboard showed just single shots scored over the first 5 ends as Downey held a marginal 3-2 lead, but the game changed decisively as the Elgin team scored a 3 at the sixth end and then a steal of 2 at the last to give Downey a thoroughly deserved victory. Front end Callum Buchan at lead and Marlyn Mackenzie at second were instrumental in setting up third player Graeme Mackenzie and skip Helen Downey to apply the necessary “coup de grace “. Leads are often unsung heroes and as well as being useful for taking dogs for walks they are the players who invariably set up their teams to score heavily or steal at the outset of every end. Downey has a diamond in Buchan whose other claim to near fame was just failing the final audition for a bit part in a Spaghetti Western.
Janice Rankin’s Moray Firth Ladies lost their chance to reduce the gap between them and Division leader Gault as they too were on the wrong end of an inspired opponent. Downey’s equally experienced Elgin Club colleague Andrew Allardyce was on fire as his team raced to a 10-0 lead before Olympian curler Rankin picked a consolation deuce to at least register on the scorecard. Allardyce was understandably ecstatic after his win and in an exclusive interview he told me “ The boys done well. We’re not going to get carried away and are just taking one game at a time, Brian”.
In Division 4 Jodi Best’s table topping rink were also in tip top form as they easily overcame the challenge of Buckie clubmate Jim Walls. On a scoreboard that looked strikingly similar to the neighbouring Allardyce versus Rankin game, Best skip ( I use the term advisedly) Sandy Howie steered his rink to an 8-0 lead before Walls was able to register his solitary one shot in a 9-1 loss.
The contest of the night meanwhile, was taking place on sheet E as Gemma Forgie’s Moray Juniors and John Key’s Gateway teams fought out a ding dong battle. Key and co were 3-1 up after 3 ends before the Juniors powered into a 5-3 lead going down the last. In a nail biting finale, Key couldn’t quite unlock the Forgie door counting just a single shot to give the Juniors the tightest of victories.