Thursday, 7 February 2019

Three-in-a-Row Swan Trophy Success!

When the headline reads, "three-in-a-row", the temptation is to think that somehow winning the Swan is easy.  It is anything but - just ask any one of the various C&B members who have been involved in that winning run over the past three seasons.  This year's competition was no different.

Two club rinks play against their opponents with the results of each of the two games contributing to the overall result.  It's an old-fashioned "shots-up" competition, so the scores are combined to give the result.  One team could lose their game by twenty shots, but as long as the other team wins by twenty-one shots, they're OK. 

It is rare that two teams both "get away" from their opposition and more often than not, the two teams have almost to combine if they are going to win.  This can lead to interesting tactical dilemmas.  For example if one team is well up in their game and the other team is down by a couple of shots, the team that is down might be tempted to "go for it", throw caution to the wind and play really aggressively in a last end, for example, to try to secure a win for themselves.  The more intelligent teams realise though that by limiting the damage - losing only by the odd shot, for example - they actually maximise their overall team's chance of success.

As you might have gathered, I am a bit of a fan of the whole concept and we should have more competitions using the "double rink" format than we do.  Add to that the fact that the Swan is the oldest trophy played for in Murrayfield and you begin to sense its importance in the great scheme of things.  In any case, let John Steven take up the story.

Back in November, we had our first round/ quarter-final tie against Penicuik.  The team I skipped actually lost by 7-6, but Brian Fleming's team won by exactly the same score.  The truth was that we were under the cosh for most of the game.  It went to a draw shot challenge, which Brian duly won - and it was onto the semi-final! 

The semi-final was against Haddington CC.  The teams were Brian Fleming, Andrew Galloway, Jenny Barr and Lois Copland and in the other team, John Steven, Dave Munro, Rowena Steven and Betty Gibb.  Jenny replaced Joe Barry, who had played in the first round but was hors de combat with a sore foot.  Brian had a big win in his game and I had a narrow defeat - the final beckoned.

The final was against Oxenfoord CC with the same teams, except that Susan Kesley replaced Jenny Barr in Brian's team.  All looked to be going according to plan.  I was 7 shots up in my game and Brian was ahead in a tighter game - 3 shots up after four ends.  Then it all got a bit closer!  Brian lost a big five in the fifth end and I lost a two - seven shots gone in ten minutes and ten shots had become three!  Fast forward to the eighth end and we found ourselves three shots in total to the good and both C&B teams with the hammer.  When Brian and I came to play our last stones though, we were lying peels!  Fortunately, both of us came up trumps with our stones.  I won 9-4 and Brian lost 8-6.  Three shots net to the good, but I can assure you that it felt a lot closer than that at the time!

Thank you, John for the report.  Here is a picture of the two winning teams taken in the club rooms immediately after the win.

C&B CC, Winners of the Swan Trophy 2018-2019
Back row (from left) Lois Copland, Andrew Galloway, skips Brian Fleming and John Steven and Dave Munro
Front row (from left) Rowena Steven, Betty Gibb and Susan Kesley
Thanks to Bill Gray for the picture


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