|Scottish Senior Ladies Champions 2019|
(from left) Fran Stretton (third), Morna Aitken (lead), RCCC Ladies President Margaret Nicol,
Susan Kesley (skip) and Vicky Gumley (second)
Team Kesley found themselves three down after two ends and in all kinds of bother in the third. A saving nose hit against three counters by skip Susan, with a guard in a very threatening position indeed, was the first of a few brave shots she played in the final - any one of which had she missed, and that would have been that.
Then there was a Lockhart attempted raised take out towards the bar which, if it had come off, would have been a score of at least four and maybe five; instead, it was a steal of one for Susan, Fran Stretton, Vicky Gumley and Morna Aitken.
Two other skips shots that Susan played will live long in the memory. Her first stone in end seven was a corker. The team was in all kinds of trouble. Lots of guards out front and Jackie sitting with three shots in the house - one just at the back of the one foot with, on the face of it, no way in for Susan. She stepped onto the hack and played a sumptuous out-turn draw to the face of the shot. Twice, Jackie tried a fine wick off a front stone and the second time, she actually made contact, but failed to move Susan's stone far enough. Astonishingly, it seemed, it was peels coming home!
Finally, there was another out-turn draw with her last stone in the eighth end. Jackie was lying about four inches outside the four foot. By the time Susan's furiously swept stone came to rest - it was about four inches outside the four foot! Drama. No-one knew who was lying shot and Jackie's attempted raise was heavy, so out came an umpire to measure the stones. Whoever the umpire was, he'd obviously been trained by Laurel and Hardy. He stepped onto the rink, threatening to hit one of the two stones as he entered the house, then some of the players with the casually-held measure. He measured first against Jackie's stone, then moved the measure round towards the Kesley stone, against which it kind of stopped. Casual though the measuring technique was, it seemed pretty clear that Team Kesley's stone was the counter. I might have gone back to measure against the Lockhart stone to be sure - this was to identify the Scottish Senior Ladies team after all - but there we are. Susan's stone was called the winner and that was that. Cue celebrations and sporting handshakes all round.
This is a fantastic achievement by Susan and her team of Fran Stretton, Vicky Gumley and Morna Aitken, together with team coach David Aitken. To win a Scottish national championship once is a major achievement; to win the same title twice in a row - I doff my cap. Many congratulations.
The timing was pretty good too for Ladies President of the Royal Caledonian Curling Club, C & B's own Margaret Nicol, who got to present the trophy to three clubmates!
There follows a picture of the team with coach David Aitken. You'll be thinking David's aged a bit; it's always worse for the fellow behind the glass - all I'm saying!
|Scottish Curling Champions Team Kesley with|
Team Coach David Aitken