Draw & Results
|Tue 01 Feb|
|18.30||Elgin||[Andy Cameron] vs [Wilson Burnett]||7 – 3||5 – 2|
|Tue 01 Mar|
|18.30||Elgin||[Steve Rankin] vs [Andy Cameron] Final||6 – 3||4 – 3|
Donated by Charlie Gammack of Aberlour Curling Club, a local saddler, enthusiastic curler and great character of the game.
The unique curling trophy of the “Bell” is highly sought after but, even more importantly, has contributed significantly in fostering mixed curling in the Province.
Updates From the Rink
- OswaId and Watt jnr Win Their Respective Divisions
The dust has finally settled on the Moray Province East curling league and perhaps as expected,Kenny OswaId has topped Division 1 and long time favourite Charlie Watt jnr has snared the Division 3 title.
Despite a loss to Aberlour’s Andy Cameron this week, Oswald had already secured the East’s top rink status and was a clear winner of the League race. Cameron’s win meanwhile, confirmed his Division 1 position for next season , unfortunately,at the expense of club colleague Willie Cameron. 3 counts of 2 against Oswald’s 4 single shots was enough for Andy to sneak past his father’s rink and find mid table safety. Snapping at Oswald’s heels, Alan Campbell’s Buckie team and Donald Ross’s Sunninghill were contesting the runner up spot and it was the Hotel team who came out on top.6-1 down after 4 ends, 2 scores of 3 and a single steal gave Ross’s rink the win.
Forres’s Charlie Watt jnr had been in falter mode over the last couple of months but normal
service was resumed for the long time Division 3 leader as he trounced clubmate Linda Hardie 15-4. It was great to see Linda back on the ice for the first time this season albeit rather rusty in losing a couple of 4 shot ends to Watt and co. Bob Stewart did all he could in his title challenge with a tight 4-3 win over Owen Watson’s Moray Juniors. The ends count was tied at 3 apiece but a steal of 2 at the third end was just enough for Stewart to sneak home and confirm his runner up spot.
Moray Wheels had their best game of the season against Helen Downey with both teams only able to pick up single end counts . The Elgin team’s hammer at the last end proved decisive in the tightest of tight contests. Georgia Clarke finished her season in fine style with a terrific 7-4 win over the wily Gordie Kennedy. Georgia’s Juniors have ended the campaign in a very creditable third place.
The annual Province Points competition for the Heather Little Trophy took place this week and on keen ice the clear winner with a terrific score of 45 points was Steve Rankin. This week’s Province Open Knockout final between Rankin’s East team and Ardclach’s Ally Fraser’s West team will bring down the curtain on the 2021/22 curling season.
- Frasers Set For West Showdown
Moray Province West Division 1 will be decided by a “ cup final” winner takes all showdown next week when the Frasers face off at Inverness Ice Centre .After a straightforward 9-0 win for Ally of that Ilk against Nairn’s Mike McInnes, he will meet Mark Fraser’s Dalcross team in the season’s last League game. The Dalcross rink hold a 1 point advantage at the table top and so Ally’s Ardclach rink must win to leapfrog to the title.
In the East, Alan Campbell kept his Buckie team in with an outside chance of League glory after the tightest of wins against Andy Cameron. Single shot counts over the first 6 ends left the score at 3-3 with the Aberlour rink holding the hammer in the final end. A steal of 1 saw the Coast Club just about sneak home in a nail biting finish.
In Division 3, Elgin’s Bob Stewart has once again moved into top spot , displacing his Forres rival Charlie Watt jnr. A count of 4 at the second against Georgia Clarke’s Juniors and then a single steal gave the veteran skip his win, whilst the recently rather inconsistent Charlie lost a close match to Owen Watson and his Moray Juniors rink. The Juniors displayed terrific tactical nous , their 2 shot steal at the second end probably proving to be the decisive moment . At the other end of the Division 3 table, Forres’s Linda Hardie, skipped as usual by Carol Bennet jumped ahead of Elgin’s Helen Downey with a solid 9-3 victory. The Forres rink raced to an unanswered 9 shot lead before a consolation 3 shots over the final 2 ends put a bit of polish on Helen’s scorecard.
As we approach the end of another season, there is still all to play for, especially in Division 1 West and Divisions 2 and 3 East.
- Open Knockout Finalists Decided
The second semifinal of the Moray Province Open Knockout was an East versus West clash which resulted in a decisive win for Steve Rankin’s Buckie rink and set the coast club up for a final against Ardclach’s Ally Fraser. Gus Forbes’ Nairn team travelled East in vain as handshakes after 5 ends saw Rankin’s lads victorious 8-2 . The Nairn boys took single shots at the opening 2 ends but counts of 3 and then a steal of 4 and another single steal sent them homewards to think again.
In the East Province League the lead at the top of Division 2 tightened as Bill Jaffrey took both points in the game against Eddie Milne. A huge count of 6 for Fochabers at the second end saw the scoreboard showing a 9-0 lead and, despite a strong comeback from the Darnaway team, they could never quite peg back such a big deficit and ran out 13-8 losers. With only 1 game to play, Jaffrey is just a single point behind leaders Dave MacPherson with both teams just about guaranteed promotion. Abby Duncan may still have something to say about that as his crushing 12-3 win over Andrew Allardyce kept his team in with an outside chance of going up a Division. 12-1 down after 6 ends, the Allardyce combo took little consolation from a 2 shot pick up at the last and are now, along with Eddie Milne, unable to avoid relegation.
The Division 3 lead changed hands again this week after Forres’s Charlie Watt jnr returned to winning ways with a big 18-0 victory over Lynn Roberts’ Moray Wheels . Simply nothing went the Wheels way and now Charlie leads the Province’s most competitive Division by a single point from Elgin’s Bob Stewart.
Commiserations are in order for the Great Britain Paralympic curlers, as not even the good form of Moray’s Gregor Ewan could steer the team into the semifinals.
- Rankin Rink Wrap up Mixed Knockout
In the final of the Moray Province Mixed knockout, the Rankin family together with lead Jodi Best overcame a very strong Andy Cameron rink 6-3 in a fine exhibition of high quality curling. With son Fraser at second and Salt Lake City Olympic Gold medalist mum Janice at third setting up strong positions and dad Steve clinically clearing up potential opposition opportunities, it was down to several coolly played last stone draws from skip Andy Cameron to keep his own team in the hunt . Cameron’s 3 single shot ends however, were insufficient to counter a couple of 2 shot scores and a couple of single shot ends from the Rankin combo.
In East Division 1, Elgin’s Kenny OswaId consolidated his spot at the summit with a good 8-5 win over Donald Ross. The game was a precise reversal of their previous league encounter when the hoteliers took both points and with only 2 games to play, Kenny looks like a strong bet to pick up the title.
Division 2 leader Dave McPherson also took a step nearer winning his division, albeit whilst dropping a point against Alan Durno. The Tennis Club lads looked to be in control all the way until a loss of 3 at the last end gave the Fochabers rink a share of the spoils.
Division 3 is the tightest and most competitive in the whole Province and Elgin’s Bob Stewart leapfrogged long time League leader Charlie Watt jnr with a hard fought victory over club colleague Helen Downey. Counts of 3 and 4 in ends 2 and 4 and then a double steal ensured Stewart’s new position at the top of the table. Charlie Watt jnr continues to falter from his previous seemingly invincible form, this time dropping a point to Gordie Kennedy, but the Forres rink are still well in the title race ,only a single point behind Stewart. Owen Watson moved his Moray Junior team into contention with a very strong 9-2 win over Linda Hardie. The Forres rink could only score 2 singles as the clinical Juniors won 5 ends and are now only 3 points off the top of the Division.
With Try Curling being extremely well attended in the aftermath of a hugely successful Winter Olympics and a fully subscribed Curling’s Cool Primary School Bonspiel taking place next week, it is very encouraging to see the popularity of the game booming at Moray Leisure Centre.
- Oswald Maintains Winning Ways
In Moray Province East Division 1 it was business as usual for Kenny Oswald as 13 proved to be Willie Cameron’s unlucky number. The unfortunate Aberlour rink went scoreless as their Elgin opponents relentlessly won every end and the 3,2,2,1,1,4 count that went up on the scoreboard was more like Kenny’s phone number than a curling scoreline. Buckie’s Alan Campbell was in equally dominant form in his 14-6 win over Mike MacDonald. The Forres rink, skipped by Greg Stephen took an opening end 4 and were 6-4 to the good after 3 ends but Buckie skip Steve Rankin sprung into action thereafter with multiple counts at the last 4 ends to keep his team in the title chase. The game between Sunninghill and Aberlour was a real thriller. A count of 5 in the fourth end brought the Hotel team back into the lead before they were leapfrogged by the Speysiders who led 8-7 after 6 ends. A single shot then a single steal was enough for Donald Ross’s rink to just sneak home and claim both points.
In Division 2 Dave Macpherson’s Tennis Club rink lost their 100% league record in a somewhat surprising heavy loss to the bottom team. Andrew Allardyce was in vintage form allowing the current Division toppers only 2 single shots as his Elgin team dominated proceedings in a 9-2 victory. Fochabers’ Abby Duncan maintained his good form in a 9-7 win over Darnaway’s Eddie Milne. 5-0 down after the opening 2 ends, Duncan bounced back with consecutive 3’s and a further count of 2 and then a single steal proved too much for the Darnaway crew. Bill Jaffrey and Alan Durno were tied at 5-5 with 2 ends to play ,the former eventually taking the points as skip Wilson Burnett engineered a final end single steal.
In Division 1 West, leader Mark Fraser slipped up ,scoring all his shots at the third end as Callum Greenwood’s Ardclach rink won the last 3 ends to prevail in a 6-3 victory. At one point in the last end,the excitement was so great that even Ardclach second player Neil Campbell’s hair was standing on end.
Andy Cameron advanced to the final of the Mixed Knockout win a straightforward 7-3 win over Wilson Burnett and will now meet Steve Rankin in the final.
- HONOURS EVEN IN EAST V WEST QUARTER FINALS
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.