In 1836, according to the Reverend John Kerr's History of Curling, the rules of points were formalised by Currie schoolteacher, Robert Palmer, local doctor, Dr Somerville and Mr Cunningham of Harlaw. All three were members of the Currie curling club, so when its successor club, the Currie and Balerno curling club, gather for its annual points competition, it is a special moment in the ongoing history of the game.
14 members turned out for the competition which took place on two adjacent sheets of ice. The first discipline is always the straight hit and it was good to see that there was a high standard of hitting on show,with many of the competitors scoring a maximum of eight ponts.
The next discipline we attempted was the in-wick. Two stones are placed close together. If you hit and roll to the correct side, you score one point; if you manage to touch the second stone as well, you score a maximum two points. Tricky stuff. Interestingly, only one curler managed the maximum score - young Gavin Barr. He was now on 16 points after just two disciplines - good going!
There were some good scores in the drawing competition. Brian Fleming bounced right back to form here - to be fair, he had only dropped one point on the first two - and scored a maximum eight points to take him back into the lead. David Aitken was always known as a strong drawer, so there were none surprised when he came in with seven points, as did Niall Gunn. At this stage in the competition, Brian Fleming was leading on 23 points and young Gavin Barr was only 1 point behind on 22. Others in the hunt included Niall and Francis on 19 and David Aitken on 18. In the separate ladies competition, Susan Kesley was on 18 points and Jenny Barr and Morna Aitken were both on 17.
Raymond Preston and David Aitken were the only two curlers who managed the maximum 8 points in their guards. The ice was swingy and not perhaps as keen as normal, so a full score in this discipline takes some good curling. Donald Kennedy did superbly well here - a 7 (along with Tasha Aitken and Niall Gunn) speaks to a high level of curling as well. Brian managed 6 points and Gavin hung on with 4.
Two more disciplines to go and some good scores had already been posted. Next up was the chap and lie. The clever curler has already tried to get a read on the ice with their earlier hits. Dave Munro and Raymond Preston were the star turns here with maximum scores. Brian faltered with 4 and Gavin made up some of the leeway with an impressive 6 points out of 8.
This meant that going into the tricky last session (the inwick from a stone placed at five o'clock on the rings), Brian led by one from Gavin Barr; Niall Gunn, David Aitken and Dave Munro were all no more than 4 points away. In the ladies competition, Jenny Barr lead by 1 point from Susan Kesley and by 3 points from Tasha Aitken. In a low-scoring round, Gavin managed to score the one point he needed with his very last stone; Brian failed to score so the scores were tied. Susan managed 4 points to Jenny's 2, so she managed to overhaul her and win the ladies competition - congratulations!
In the "last stone draw" competition after the Kettle games, Gavin - just back from watching Edinburgh lose the rugby match at Murrayfield stadium by an agonising point - managed to draw the eight-foot with his stone after Brian had surprisingly missed the rings altogether. Young Gavin is a first-time winner and one imagines that the three curling worthies from the 19th century looked down approvingly!