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.