As the daffodils push through into flower and the daylight lengthens towards Spring, so the curling season in Moray slips gently into the record books. Champions have been crowned in all but Division 1 East and that title will be decided in next week’s table top tussle between Aberlour’s Andy Cameron and Buckie’s Alan Campbell.
If it’s nearly Spring, it must be the Province Points showdown and this season’s Heather Little Trophy winner is Forres’s Charlie Watt jnr. Albeit, he is not now Junior in anything but name, Charles capped an outstanding season with the tightest of victories. Only a single point separated Watt from second placed Steve Rankin, scores of 41 and 40 respectively,a commendable return in the 9 discipline Points competition. Eilidh Smith was the leading lady with a stuffy score of 25.

In East Division 2 Fochabers’ Abby Duncan completed his unbeaten League season with a commanding win over Bob Stewart. Duncan reminded me that he and current team skip Gordon Fraser have now been curling together for 25 years and their smooth symbiosis was evident as they picked up a couple of 4 shot ends in their 11-3 win.
Fraser is one of the Province’s unsung heroes, a man who has been instrumental in support of club curling and coordinating Duncan’s team success over a number of seasons. Tony Duncan and Bill Ross in turn have been loyal stalwarts in their Fochabers club and Province curling.
Donald Ross and his Sunninghill rink will move up to Division 1 next term as the second promoted team after a 9-3 victory over Alan Durno. Like Duncan, Ross relies on a firm hand on the last stone tiller in the considerable shape of Angus Gunn who was instrumental in the Sunninghill squad scoring a total of 6 shots in the 3 ends following an opening end single shot loss.
Alan Douglas’s last opportunity to pick up a League point floundered on the rock of Owen Watson’s Juniors. With 3 of the weekend’s Scottish Schools Champion rink on the ice, Watson’s youngsters once again showed their ruthless edge in a 10-2 win. Powered by the Rankin twins and with the ever steady Gwyn Edwards at lead, Watson and co have been the team that most of the seniors dread to come up against and consecutive counts of 2,2 and 4 after a close opening three ends were sufficient to put a seal on Douglas’s miserable league season.
Jodi Best is Division 4 champion after a winner takes all victory over first season entrants
Gateway Club’s Steve Field. Field and co must however, be delighted with a second place League finish which means promotion to Division 3 in their first year of competitive curling.
In the West, honours had been decided some weeks ago as it was a case of Ally Fraser in Division 1 and Jamie Cattell in Division 2 out of sight ahead of the chasing pack.
Fraser completed another successful campaign with an 8-2 win over clubmate and perennial title contender Ruaridh Greenwood. In a closely fought game, Fraser’s final end 4 rubber stamped his championship credentials and gave the Fraser boys another year of Ardclach bragging rights.
Mike McInnes came out on top in his club derby duel with Ali Asher. Always in control and leading 4-0 after 3 ends, the ever steady McInnes allowed his opponents just a single shot in the fourth end to run out 7-1 winners.
Larry Kerr completed a difficult season with a 5-3 defeat to Mark Fraser. Kerr has had plenty of team availability problems and drops down to the lower Division next season. Fraser himself has been a pretty regular ice absentee but has a doughty deputy in the experienced Tom Pendreigh who has kept his Dalcross rink in the promotion mix all year.

Jamie Cattell has a good claim to be team of the Province League season having dropped just a single point in the ten game campaign. Despite a loss of 3 shots in the second end, the Nairn rink never again faltered and 10 unanswered counters against Gus Forbes gave Cattell a satisfying 11-3 victory.
Ian Thomson’s win over Fiona Steel was founded on a 3 shot score in the second end and then a 2 shot steal and despite a last end deuce, the Ladies just came up short in a 6-4 loss.
Newcomer Ernie Nicholson has been on a steep learning curve , but has a commendable League win under his belt. Ricky Marwick however was in no sympathetic mood in reply to an opening end 2 shot deficit as his Nairn rink scored multiple shots at 5 of the next 6 ends in a comprehensive 13-3 win.
A marquee week of curling next week will see the decisive East Division 1 finale and the open knockout final between Ally Fraser and Andy Cameron together with the Province Pairs competition .It should be a cracker.