12 people attended the Annual General Meeting in support the work of the club and were involved in decisions affecting its future. We celebrated another successful season that built on the wins achieved in 2017-2018 and we confirmed plans to continue that expansion and success into season 2019-2020.
One of the main topics discussed was the change in discount that will impact us next season. This will see the amount of money we need to pay increase to £9.00 per per person per game, up from £8.50. This is a reduction of discount by 5% and this reduction is planned to continue over the following two years to bring the discount for a chartered club down to 10%. A payment plan suggested by the treasurer was discussed and it was agreed to keep the payments the same for next season and to review the impact at the next AGM. Norman Ainslie, the Development Officer notified everyone about the club introducing Mixed Doubles curling in a trial to let everyone experience it. The club will also sponsor a TryCurling evening with ice for coaching as well before the season starts.
The biggest change in personnel was President Graeme Anderson handing over to John Brisbane and Alan Watt stepping up from the committee to become Vice President. Alan Hadden will take his place in the committee. At the end of the meeting, new President John Brisbane, presented trophies to the winners of the competitions for the season. All the photos of the presentations are found here.
We had the most successful coaching / trycurling evening to date with 9 members turning up to get the feel on the ice and get their game back in order. Alan Watt also brought three new people from the Christmas family, Sally-Ann, daughter Alison and boyfriend Euan, along to try curling for the first time. Norman Ainslie, the club coach led their introduction to the sport on one sheet while everyone else eased into the way of playing again on a separate sheet. The secretary, Joe Kincaid directed a light coaching session for the members. First task was simply draw into the house to get started. There then followed a quick game for one end. Then we moved onto take out practice where two stones were placed in the house and only take outs were played. This continued for several ends while everyone was given feedback on their delivery. When Norman had the trialists up to a sufficient level of skill, he led then in a game with 4 members. The 4 remaining memebrs decided to try out mixed doubles rules curling and managed 3 ends of play to get a good experience in playing that type of game. It certainly made the type of play different from how normal doubles is played.
At the end, Sally-Ann Christmas duly announced that the whole family would sign up, including her husband Alastair, for membership of the club and also take up lessons and move onto the virtual club. So Alan, Norman and Joe stayed with them while they got Peak Membership and signed up for the lessons. They were proficient enough at playing for us to offer them to come along to the opening bonspiel and Alison and Euan have accepted it. We look forward to welcoming them at the Peak.
This is the reason why it is so much more meaningful to have at least 2 rinks playing together in a bonspiel. After rearranging teams 3 and 4 because of substitutes, play started. This was the first rink to shake hands on the night tied at 3 ends each and 6 shots each, so could not be separated. The other rink was tied at 3 ends each, but team 2 had scored 7 shots to 3 in reply so needed to win to take the trophy outright. It was looking good as they were lying shot but didn't have last stone. Jim Neilson played that last stone and knocked the scoring shot out of the way to lie two to win with 4 ends to 3, even though they were behind in shots. Alan Watt as vice president read out the scoring at the end and congratulated the winning team of Norman Ainslie, Joe Kincaid, Jim Neilson and Luisella Mosley. We also welcomed Alison Christmas and Euan McLagan onto the ice where they played on opposing sides and played with good skill given that they had only been introduced to the game the week before. So we look forward to more of their contributions in future as they go through lessons.
The team of Joe Kincaid, skip, Iain Gwynne, Alan Watt and Jim Marshall played in the Doune Rosebowl which is a winner moves up each end competition. The team won 5 ends to 2 lost with +7 shots up. This proved to be the highest score in the evening session, but in the afternoon a Kilsyth team ended up with the same ends but with +10 shots up to win the trophy. However our team were still rewarded with £5 M&S vouchers each at the buffet in the restaurant after the game.
Our team of skip Norman Ainslie, Jim Marshall, Joe Kincaid and Alan Hadden managed to successfully negotiate the first round of the Forth Valley Area knock out on Thursday the 19th September. 16 clubs took part in this match from all four provinces of Stirlingshire, West Lothian, Forth & Endrick and Central Scotland.
Our opponents were Kippen from Forth & Endrick Province. We got off to a great start opening with a steal of 2 and then another of a single shot. However, they replied with a 2 and then a 3 to lead 3 v 5. The best response was a 3 in reply to go back into the lead. This time Kippen were held to a single shot to bring us level at 6 v 6. In the 7th end it was building up to be another concentration of stones in the house when Jim Marshall played a take out on a single stone and took both oppositiion stones out of the house leaving us lying 4. Despite the best efforts of their skip they couldn't reduce the score and Norman should really have added another to the 4 scored in the end. In the last end, with Kippen lying a sinlge shot surrounded by our stones, they simply shook hands after 5 stones to end 10 v 7. Our opponents in the next round are Kilsyth. A bigger test this time.
We have made another poor start to the Small Curling Clubs Alliance league by losing all three of our games so far. What has happened to this competition?
Grangemouth and skip Malcolm Duncan have been incredibly difficult to beat in the past and they are defending champions. However, like us they are struggling to live up to last season's win. It was an enjoyable match with both sides playing some great shots and we managed to pull ahead with a 3 in the second last end and then held them to a single to see out the game 7 v 4. The team was a complete set of substitutes with Joe Kincaid as skip, Jim Marshall, John Brisbane and Derrick Douglas. Makeshift teams can sometimes work out. Well done all.
Another 10 v 7 win, this time in the Stirlinghshire Province Knock out against Falkirk Ladies. After winning the first end with a single, the Ladies managed to score a 6. We then managed to win the next 4 ends to take the lead and finally trade singles to win the match. Next match is against Torbrex.
Laurieston & Zetland were the opponents in the fifth round of matches on the 1st October. After losing a single shot the team never looked back and won every end till our opponents gave up at the sixth end with the score at 9 v 1. Our opponents had a new member in the team and she was clearly still learning. We hope she continues as they need new members if they are going to survive. Our team was Joe Kincaid as skip and the three Ians, Iain Gwynne, Ian Mackie and Iain Gilmour. We made sure their main skip had a hard time trying to score anything.
Kilsyth took the Area Knockout quarter final very seriously as we played against the British Open winners team and it certainly showed. We couldn't get going at all and they were very direct in their play with take outs being the order of play and they are unfortunately masters of that kind of curling. We finished after 6 ends beaten 0 v 12 and well before anyone else given the type of play. Everyone else played mostly a drawing game, giving the Chair of the Area, Joe Kincaid, time to go round and collect money, cards and take photos. Not the best experience to play against, but gives us an idea of what we would like to try and emulate. We might play against the same team in the Rinks Championship. Our team was skip Norman Ainslie, Jim Marshall, Joe Kincaid and Alan Hadden.
We played against Torbrex in the semi-final of the Stirlingshire Province Knockout on Wednesday 16th October. Unfortunately they only had 3 players. However, we carried on and played the game and started with a 5 and then a steal of a single before we traded 3 shots each then they repeated it again before winning the last two ends to peel the match on the night. Checking the rules for penalties etc, it appears that only teams of 4 can play so Torbrex are unfortunately disqualified and so we will play Kilsyth yet again in the final on Wednesday 23rd October.
On Wednesday 16th October at 8:45pm we had two sheets of ice for everyone to come along and learn and try MIXED DOUBLES curling. This competition has been extremely popular in World Curling and Stirling Curling Group have been promoting it as a new way of playing the game. So we decided to give it a try. Only 4 people turned up to give it a shot, Jim Marshall, Alan Watt, John Bribane and Joe Kincaid. Our coach, Norman Ainslie explained the play and set the group up and 10 ends were played on one sheet, with 2 ends using the power play option. The tactics are much more aggressive than either Pairs or full teams. Ones and twos were scored in the normal set up, but in the second power play a three was achieved, so it does work. Everyone enjoyed the experience but whether we take it forward as a club is open to doubt. A pity as it would suit so many players.
We played Kilsyth in another knockout competition, having lost to them before in the Forth Valley Area semi-final to a whitewash. In the Province final, we played exactly the same team with skip John Davie. This time we at least won all our own ends by a single shot, unfortunately, we couldn't keep their scoring down to eventually get beat 3 v 13. At least the team played better, so well done to skip Norman Ainslie, Iain Gwynne, Joe Kincaid and Luisella Mosley for getting that far.
The final game in the McWattie Trophy was between team 3 skipped by Alan Watt and team 4 skipped by Norman Ainslie. Both teams had won both of their previous matches and were level on 4 points each. Team 4 had scoded more shots, so Team 3 had to win. It was played out on the 22nd October in the main arena and straight away team 4 seemed to get the feel of the ice much better than team 3, who really struggled to get points on the board at all. after starting with a 3 in the first end, team 4 followed it up with another 3, then another steal of 2 and then two singles. At 0 v 10, team 3 finally got on the scoreboard with a 2 and then took another 2 to leave the final score at 4 v 10. So well done to Norman Ainslie, John Brisbane, Paul Mosley and Jim Marshall for the final win. Unfortunately, quite a few substitutes in action.
This is normally a three club competition among Kilsyth, Fintry and ourselves. However, with less than two weeks to go before the match, Fintry informed us that they were struggling to get enough people to play. Having tried the rest of their Province of Forth & Endrick we were notified last week that they were pulling out entirely as they only had three people who could play and that the club would cease to exist. A lot of rushing about to ensure Kilsyth turned up with a team happened at the last moment and after much fuss about substitutes on our side we divided into two teams and played off. Dougie McKenzie, an ex-member of our club skipped one of Kilsyth's teams. Kilsyth got off to a flying start with both rinks scoring 2. We came back with a 4 and a 2. Somehow Kilsyth blanked an end, while on the other we managed to steal a 1. Jim Marshall's rink then went on to score 1, 3 and 1 in consecutive ends beofre losing 3 to finish winners at 9 v 5. Meanwhile the other rink had a major tussle to hold Dougie to a win by a single shot at 5 v 6. So overall, we won by 3 shots. We all retired for a meal afterwards in the restuarant. The secretary thanked Les Goodfellow of Kilsyth for his prompt action in raising two teams at short notice due to Fintry's inaction and also the players for coming out. The demise of Fintry in the competition was confirmed and we had a quick discussion around the table and Kilsyth especially wanted the formet to remain at three clubs, so they agreed to seek another club from Forth & Endrick to play in the competition. They will let us know by the end of the season if they have been successful.
This is the first time we have entered this competition and we were drawn against Buccaneers in the semi-final to be played on 6th November. However, our opposition didn't think it was worth the effort to turn up so sure were they that they would get beat. So on the 13th November we played Keir. We lost the toss but caught them out and managed to steal a 1. They showed their class by scoring a 4 in the next, but didn't play well in the third end and with stones spread out Norman drew in for a 3. We couldn't stop them building up a big head in the next end and they eventually chipped our scoring stone out to take a 5. They then played defensively to limit us to a single shot while coming back with a 3. We shook hands at 5 v 12. It was a good experience playing.
The Points Competition took place with our neighbouring Stirling clubs of Torbrex with 2 players and Borestone & Stirling with 3 players. We had a total of 10 taking part, a best for a while, including Sally-Ann Christmas, along for the experience. With such a big number we split into two groups and started playing on both sheets. We were lucky to have two dedicated markers, one from Torbrex and the other from Borestone & Stirling, which meant we could focus on playing as quickly as possible rather than pass the marking round the players themselves. We played on sheets 3 and 4 and the ice was very different on them, 4 being straighter, 3 more of a draw. We managed to complete 5 disciplines and got half of the sixth done before time up. It was a very close score, with Paul Mosley and Derek Young from Borestone & Stirling both scoring 23. Our next best were John Brisbane and Iain Gwynne on 22. Thanks to everyone who turned up to make it a successful night. See the Points scoring here and further analysis here.
Our first team got off to a flier with 5 ends and 5 shots in this competition, unfortunately for them this was because Denny failed to turn up with 4 players and that was the penaltiy awarded for no opposition. The second team did have a game with Borestone & Stirling and after a slow start and losing 3 ends in a row, fought back to finish 4 ends each. Unfortunately, Kilsyth had won 10 ends over all and so just beat us to it for the Dunn trophy. Teams here.
After several call offs, one at the last minute, we managed to send seven people to Braehead to play the Cairns/Elder Trophy against Crossmyloof. It was a very different result for both teams, Presindent John Brisbane never lost an end to win 12 v 0, whereas Norman Ainslie's side had to hang on to just lose 3 v 11 so on aggregate we took the trophy back with us for another year. Crossmyloof had bad news to tell us that the Braehead ice rink was closing at the end of the season. They have no idea yet where they might end up playing, not good for Scottish Curling.
We were given a fair allocation of ice for the current season with most of our games taking place on Wednesdays and a fairly even spread of times over the evenings involved. The club secretary thanks the ActiveStirling ice rink management for being responsive to our needs once again after we made the decision to focus on Wednesday evenings five years ago.
The decider for the Mitchell/Wilson Trophy took place on Wednesday evening, 4th December between Team 2 skipped by Jim Marshall and Team 3 skipped (for the second time only) by Rory MacKenzie. Rory played a fantastic game despite not having played all that much this season and once he scored to win the first end always seemed to be in the strongest position in the ends that followed. Rory displayed a wide range of shots from draws, take outs and tap ups to edge every end till the sixth, when finally Jim scrambled a single to prevent a whitewash. It ended 7 v 1 to Team 3 so congratulations to Rory, Paul, Alan H and Alex for a well worked victory. It was a very strange atmosphere being the only rink playing in the main arena, with periods of absolute silence.
On Monday 2nd December we put out a team to play against Balfron in the NCA, who had booked ice but needed another team to complete a game against two of their teams. Bridge of Allan provided another team and we both played 4 ends against each Balfron team. Bridge of Allan won on ends over the night. Thanks to Norman Ainslie, Jim Marshall, Joe Kincaid and Alan Hadden for accepting the challenge. One bonus for us was they were receptive to becoming the third team in the Dunn Trophy competition to replace the withdrawal of Fintry from the competition. THe secretary notified Kilsyth and we wait their agreement to take it forward next season.
Eight teams played on Monday the 6th January over the two hour session on two rinks. It took us a wee while to get set up and so we started late. In Pairs, we really need to be ready to play ASAP. The first games were played on ice that was showing little inclination to curl but slowly improved in time for the second games. All matches were played in an aggressive fashion, with lots of stones in play and most of the games could have gone either way. There were several threes and twos scored. Rory couldn't stop Alan and Iain building a four to clinch their match. It was good to see Graeme and Caroline Anderson back out on the ice, even if they were playing against each other. See the results here. Left, Norman Ainslie watches his yellow stone knock out the opposition's counter to lie shot while Paul Mosley gets ready to sweep.
The semi-final was played on Monday 13th January on the worst sheet in the main arean, the dreaded sheet 6. Teams experienced variable ice and numerous pickups during the two games. Graeme Anderson and Alex Frew won the first game against Joe Kincaid and Luisella Mosley 7 v 2. Graeme lasted long enough with his injury to ensure victory as he did all the sweeping. In the second game Ian Mackie and Paul Mosley managed to edge out Alan Watt and Alan Hadden 5 v 3. There was an amazing amount of sweeping going on and Paul looked like he'd gone to the gym by the end of the match. Ian and Paul have a very different style of play with no one waiting in the head for the stone but both players sweeping the stone with the person playing the stone checking the line. So it will be a final of contrasting styles. Good luck to all on the 20th January.
Ian Mackie and Paul Mosley have a very different style of play with no one waiting in the head for the stone but both players sweeping the stone with the person playing the stone checking the line. So it was a final of contrasting styles with Graeme Anderson doing the decision making and sweeping. Ian and Paul scored big time with a 5 in the second end. But in Graeme's words: "Just kept chipping away, took ones at the 3rd and 4th ends then a 4 at the 5th to go into the lead. Managed to hide one at the 6th to go 8-5 up then they got a 1 at the last. Alex did all the hard work, I just had to guard. Alex set it up perfectly and we just had to stop them getting in." Congratualtions winners Graeme and Alex.