Sunday, 9 February 2014

Past-president John Steven Tells us all about the Province Bonspiel Final Round...

First Province Bonspiel Win for 22 Years!

Just to add more drama to the earlier report, we knew, going into the last game of the three that C & B had to play, that we had to win by at least +11 shots to tie and +12 shots to overtake Midcalder.  What has not been reported is that I also needed to watch the next sheet's game with the Barbarians because, with them only having two teams and their first team winning by +12 shots, they in fact were in the driving seat - albeit Midcalder CC had set the target in the bar of +9 and two thirds.

I decided to play true bonspiel tactics: took what could have been a controversial decision to have Katie (el Presidente!) play second and Shona third; and probably out of our team's 28 stones played in 7 ends, only played strike weight about four times - not my usual style of play!  It was about putting up the guards, drawing round or tapping up to the four foot - that's what gave us the edge.  My team of Bob Barr (lead), Katie Wood (second), Shona Watt (third) and I all played well (Shona probably the best) and it was throwing up the guards and winning big ends when we had the hammer - +3, +4, +3 and stealing when we did not have the hammer +2 and +1 that counted for us. When we lost an end - it was about forcing the one.  The RBS skip against whom we played was also having a bit of a cracker - were it not for him, we would have had an even bigger score.

It was nail-biting going down the last end; Barbarians were +6 going down their last end with last stone and we were +10 with last stone - giving the title at that stage to Midcalder.  I could see the faces of the Midcalder team up in the gallery, watching and I could sense their tension and anxiety.  I knew that we had to take at least a 3 at the last end, but at the same time hope that Barbarians did not take a two. All of this was crystalised when Kerry Barr came up to me and told me exactly what we needed to do.

We went for it in the last end. The target was to score a four, so that we could win outright.  We threw up three guards and attempted to control the 4-foot. When I came to play my last stone we were lying first and third shots; the four we were shooting for was not on, so I  had a shot to hit and stick for a three.  It's a great help when you have two great sweepers!  The shot was made after some great sweeping.  The opposition stone missed our back counter by inches.  We scored a three and tied Midcalder CC on shots.

Meanwhile, the Barbarians won by +7 giving them +9 1/2; 'hard lines chaps", but by this time, we were 'buzzing' not knowing if we had won or lost.  We felt that we had done our best; it went down to total ends - Brian 6, Andrew 4 and us 5.  We had tied on shots, but on the ends countback, we had fifteen to their fourteen.

Up the stairs I commiserated with Stuart Barr and Alan Russell; but I can't deny that winning was sweet, sweet, sweet!

It was hard to get to sleep that night as I was elated for the club and the other 11 players on the day. We have been close - oh so close - several times in the last few years, especially in my two years as club president.  I can well remember being at the ice rink, only to see the competition be taken from us.  Monday, though, was a great day for C & B and for teamwork.  What a day!  What a moment for the club!  22 years is a long time!

John Steven

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