Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Curlers Court

I need to be oh-so-careful here, for fear of giving secrets away!

Suffice it therefore to say that we had a happy evening up at the Currie rugby club and that seven "naebodies" now find themselves in the happy position of being "made" curlers, fully conversant with the strange mysteries of our wonderful game.  Robin Copland was the bemused "milord", but the court itself was run by friends from the Inverkeithing CC over the water in Fife - and a right good job they made of proceedings as well.

We had a number of visitors from neighbouring clubs, including Penicuik and Midcalder.  The banter was good, the food was excellent and the drink flowed like the Water of Leith in spate.

And that's all I'm saying.

Kettle Run In

Oh what a gloriously complicated web we have spun, our forecasts to pursue.  Nobody has actually ever said that, by the way, but it looks as if it could have been written by someone, don't you think?  Why do I write this?  Simply put, this is the tightest league in recent years, or at least since Moses wandered up the hill and invented tablet.  What a fine invention, by the way and I look forward to Mrs Munro's next batch.

Talking of Mrs Munro, let us first look at the chances of her near-neighbour, Sheriff Wood.  Strictly speaking, you would think that Mike was goosed, not to put too fine a point on it, but the recent draw, then win have moved him to three points.  Were he to win his last two games against Jenny and a Mr Copland of Balerno, he would move to seven points.  "Be still my beating heart" may very well be the thoughts of Mr Gunn of Craiglockhart (I think), for he is on eight points and therefore cannot be caught - by Mike at least.  Those on six points need to beware, however, because there is a strange set of circumstances and results that could catapault Mike from seventh place in the league to second.  Come with me, if you will, to explore.

First of all, Niall needs to beat Brian, then John and Brian need to peel their game.  Susan K has to come to the party and beat John Steven.  Mr tablet man needs to peel or (better for Mike) beat Robin and Jenny, in turn, has to beat him.  Stranger things have happened!  In that, admittedly far-fetched, set of circumstances, Niall moves to 10 or 12 points, Brian and John move to seven, Robin moves to seven or stays on six and Dave Munro moves to six or seven.  Along with Mike!  As far as ends are concerned, he is in a spot of bother, so he will be looking for a low-scoring game between John and Brian with lots of blank ends; he will be looking to win his two games handsomely, by at least seven ends to one in  both games and he will be hoping that Niall does him a favour on the ends count in his game versus Brian.  We're talking Roswell here, but...

Jenny Barr can win both her games against Mike and Dave Munro and she moves to eight points.  Again, Niall needs to beat Brian handsomely and Susan needs to beat John Steven.  It would be great if the John v Brian match was peeled and the Robin v Dave Munro match was also all-square.  She then comes second outright at the close of the league. 

Can she win it?  Brian needs to beat Niall and lose to John; if Susan beats John, then John, Niall and Brian are tied on eight points. Robin could peel with Dave M and lose to Mike W, which moves him to seven points.    As far as ends are concerned, Jenny is currently six ends behind Niall, so it would need the same unlikely course of events for her to overtake those above her on the table as far as ends are concerned, but again, you never know...

Dave Munro needs to beat both Robin and Jenny to move to nine points.  OK - so if Susan and Brian account for Niall and keep him on eight points, and if Mike Wood beats Robin, then he stays on six points.  Susan needs to beat John and if John and Brian peel, or better, if John beats Brian then Brian is on eight points and John moves to seven.  Result, Dave wins the league with Niall or Brian as runners-up.

Obviously, all of those on six points are in with a shout of first or second place.  There are a number of crucial games between now and the end of the season.  The Fleming v Steven and Fleming v Gunn games will be critical.  Robin plays Dave Munro and Mike Wood.  He personally will be away on double rink duty in his important game versus Dave Munro.  If Dave wins that one, he leapfrogs Robin onto seven points.  If Robin wins both his games, he moves to ten points and is then reliant on Niall losing at least one of his games against either Susan K or Brian.  Of the top four, he and John have already played Niall, so for John, it is the same dilemma as for Robin.  Expect money to change hands!

Susan, though out of the running herself, finds herself in the position of kingmaker as she plays both Niall and John.  In just about every scenario, these are important games as far as the destination of the title is concerned.

Niall needs three points from four to ensure success.  If he loses both his remaining games, then he could be leapfrogged by at least two teams to finish out of the reckoning altogether.

Helpmaboab, but it's cold here in Moscow.  This last half hour has fair heated the brain cells, mind you and no mistake!  All to play for - and it could come down to ends.

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Kettle Trophy Round Five (Part Two)

Team Team 1 Team 2 Team 3 Team 4 Team 5 Team 6 Team 7 Team 8
1 Wood M       3 9 2 3 13 3 3 7 2 7 7 3 9 4 3            
2 Munro 9 3 5       5 12 2 3 10 2 9 9 3 11 2 4            
3 Gunn 13 3 5 12 5 6       10 2 5             5 6 3 7 5 3
4 Steven 7 3 5 10 3 5 2 10 2                   12 3 5 4 5 4
5 Fleming 7 7 4 9 9 3                   7 5 3 3 9 2 9 5 4
6 Kesley 4 9 3 2 11 2             5 7 3       6 8 4 11 6 5
7 Copland             6 5 5 3 12 2 9 3 5 8 6 3       5 13 2
8 Barr J             5 7 3 5 4 3 5 9 3 6 11 2 13 5 5      

Position Team Played For Against Shots       U / (D) Ends Points
1 Gunn 5 47 21 26 22 8
2 Steven 5 35 24 11 21 6
3 Copland 5 31 39 -8 17 6
4 Fleming 5 35 35 0 16 6
5 Munro 5 37 36 1 16 5
6 Barr J 5 34 36 -2 16 4
7 Wood M 5 25 40 -15 13 3
8 Kesley 5 28 41 -13 17 2

Well - things become clearer, but...!

A good win this week for Andrew Cargill - promoted from second in Niall Gunn's team - and Francis Kennedy - normally lead, who had the better of Jenny Barr and her team in a tight game that finished 7-5 in Andrew's favour.  Jenny can still score eight points in the league if she manages to win her last two games, but that was an important two points for Niall, who is now on top of the league by two points with two rounds remaining.

John Steven had a massive win against Anne Anderson, Donald Kennedy, and substitutes Ian Copland and Karen Munro, winning five ends to two.  John played to his team's strengths: Gavin Barr set things up nicely, Fran Stretton never missed a hit all night and "Granny" Nook (not my granny, by the way - but Gavin's!) hits the four foot every time she is asked. This win moves John to six points and drops Robin down the table to third spot.  The five ends that John won brings him within one of Niall's total of 22 and he is on a run!

A full review of the possibilities will follow later in the week!

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Swan Trophy First Round

The first round of the Swan trophy took place last weekend and our "embedded" correspondent, Joe Barry has penned this scurrilous report on proceedings from the comfort of his own home and removed by at least three miles from a Mr Steven of this parish, who may have words to say once he has read what Joe has to say.  That's all I'm saying!

The format of this double rink competition has been extolled before by Robin in his blog ‘Behind the Glass’. Two teams from each club play against each other on adjoining sheets and the scores of the games are aggregated together to produce a winner. Even if you are losing in one game you can still succeed if your team mates on the next pitch are winning. Its potential for wild swings of fortune was dramatically demonstrated in the recent first round match between last year’s finalists C and B and Midcalder on 1st Nov 2012.

Brian Fleming’s team of Andrew Barr ( fresh from victory in the British Open) Andrew Cargill and Margaret Nicol were having a ding-dong battle with Midcalder’s Stewart Barr; as they approached the last end with last stone they were one shot up. By contrast Andrew Galloway’s team was getting a right doing from Alan Russell’s team. John Steven was playing last stones with Andrew playing at three and skipping due to an(other) injury. ( Don’t ask! We don’t want to alert the Agricultural Health and Safety Executive!).  Raymond Preston and Joe Barry formed the front-end union.

After seven ends they were 7-2 down which meant team C and B were 4 shots down on aggregate. As the eighth ends developed in the two games, things went from bad to worse.

The Fleming and Barr teams continued to trade good shots so that a big end for either side looked unlikely. Meanwhile half way through the last end in the other game, Midcalder were in an almost impregnable position with three shots counting and all guarded. Desperately difficult shots were attempted by first Andrew Galloway and then John Steven.  A series of spectacular C and B runbacks replaced Midcalder stones with C and B ones; by the time John came to play his last shot he had to thread a hack-weight take out through a narrow port to replace the last remaining, half hidden, Midcalder counter. Well, "Cometh the Hour Cometh the Balding Fatty"; He executed it perfectly to give his side a score of three and a match score of  7-5 down.

Brian on the next sheet then prepared for his last effort.  Midcalder were lying two but a difficult double was just about on. He replaced the Midcalder shot stone but couldn’t quite shift the second one far enough. Nevertheless, he scored one to take his side to a 5-3 win and the aggregate to 10-10. Quite a turnaround in the space of ten minutes and both teams had to play an extra end.

The other five sheets were cleared by this time and all the 5.30pm shift of players were hanging over the barrier to watch the denouement.  In two fairly similar ends the C and B front players got a good stone into the four foot and guarded while a visibly deflated Midcalder tried and failed to dislodge them. C and B scored a single at both ends to win 12-10. They now meet Dave Munro’s Haddington teams on the 4th Jan 2013. Could that be another nailbiter? With the Swan format you can’t rule it out.

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Kettle Trophy Round Five (Part One)

Team Team 1 Team 2 Team 3 Team 4 Team 5 Team 6 Team 7 Team 8
1 Wood M       3 9 2 3 13 3 3 7 2 7 7 3 9 4 3            
2 Munro 9 3 5       5 12 2 3 10 2 9 9 3 11 2 4            
3 Gunn 13 3 5 12 5 6       10 2 5             5 6 3      
4 Steven 7 3 5 10 3 5 2 10 2                         4 5 4
5 Fleming 7 7 4 9 9 3                   7 5 3 3 9 2 9 5 4
6 Kesley 4 9 3 2 11 2             5 7 3       6 8 4 11 6 5
7 Copland             6 5 5       9 3 5 8 6 3       5 13 2
8 Barr J                   5 4 3 5 9 3 6 11 2 13 5 5      

Position Team Played For Against Shots       U / (D) Ends Points
1 Gunn 4 40 16 24 19 6
2 Fleming 5 35 35 0 16 6
3 Copland 4 28 27 1 15 6
4 Munro 5 37 36 1 16 5
5 Steven 4 23 21 2 16 4
6 Barr J 4 29 29 0 13 4
7 Wood M 5 25 40 -15 13 3
8 Kesley 5 28 41 -13 17 2

Last week's 3 in the last end to squeeze a draw seems to have galvanised Mike Wood, Andrew Galloway, Simon Kesley and and Morna Aitken.  After losing a 1 in the first end, they managed scores of 4, 3 and 2 in the next three ends to take an unassailable 9-1 lead against Susan, Catriona, Margaret and Sheena.  Susan managed to score in the last two ends to take her ends total to 17 in the league, but could not prevent Mike from overtaking her in the league table.  The Kesley team now languish in eighth spot.

An amazing game (judging by the scorecard!) between Dave Munro and Brian Fleming ended in a draw.  Brian scored 6 and 2 in ends three and four to take a 9-3 lead.  Dave replied with a 5 and a stolen 1 in the last end to snatch an unlikely draw and point from the game.

Looking at the league table, Brian moves into second spot in the league on six points, just pipping Robin on sixteen ends to fifteen.  Dave is in fourth spot on five points and still in the running for silverware in December.