IT WENT all the way to a grandstand finish - and for a group of young Stranraer curlers, who can now call themselves Scottish champions, it might never have happened at all.
At the turn of the year Stranraer’s junior curling team thought they would be playing off in division two of the Scottish Junior Club Challenge, and attempting to gain promotion.
However, the Galleon side withdrew from the top division and Stranraer were promoted to take their place before the competition got underway at the Murrayfield rink. And in the end they came out on top!
Ian Kirkpatrick skipped one team with Bobby Lammie, Jodie Milroy and Euan Kyle and Vicky Wright skipped the other with Gregor Cannon, Callum Lammie and Alison Fyfe.
The latter stages of the competition could not have been more exciting. Going into the final round three clubs were still in contention, Hamilton 1, Stranraer and Gogar 1.
Stranraer against Gogar was a crunch match. Had Gogar won both games, they might well have been champions.
If Stranraer won both, they were certainly the champs. But the result was split. Stranraer won one game, Gogar the other. That took the Stranraer side to 12 points.
While this was going on, the two Hamilton teams were both winning against Stirling with the Hamilton club finishing on the same points as Stranraer. It went to ends to decide, and Stranraer were crowned the champions by just two ends.
Team manager Gail Munro said: “I’m thrilled for the teams who showed great determination and commitment over the weekend to come out on top. I am also delighted for the Stranraer Young Curlers Club to have won this prestigious trophy as it reflects the depth of talent at the moment.”
As winners, the Stranraer curlers will now travel to Sweden to compete in a competition in Stockholm later in the year.
Stranraer Ice Rink Curling Club President, Hew Chalmers, sponsored a Junior Bonspiel at the North West Castle Hotel’s Ice Rink in Stranraer last Sunday.
The skips of the eight teams competing were Jenni Cannon, Kara Compton, Campbell Dooley, Frazer Shaw, Rhory Hendry, Brendan Todd, Neil Topping and Christopher Henry.
The three games played by each team were scored on a revised Shenkell system wherein the winners of the first game played losers of the first game in the second game.
In the third and final game of the day the top teams by their scores of points, ends, shots up and total shots played off to decide the winners.
By the third game only three teams, Jenni Cannon, Frazer Shaw and Brendan Todd had unbeaten records. Brendan played off against Frazer and Jenni played Christopher Henry who had won his first game and peeled (drawn) his second. Brendan Todd’s rink defeated Frazer Shaw’s team in an excellent game to win the tournament with six points from three straight wins, the only undefeated team on the day.
Jenni Cannon lost out to Christopher Henry’s rink thus ensuring the latter’s runner up place with two wins and a peel scoring five points ahead of three teams with two wins and a loss on four points.
The presentation was given by John Munro who congratulated the young curlers on playing so well and remarked how noticeable it was that the youngsters were showing greater and greater skills on the ice with every succeeding contest.
John also remarked on how gratifying it was to see such quality play from many of the youngest curlers on the rink and noted that Brendan Todd’s winning team was made up of very young players.
He then presented the winning rink of Brendan Todd and Christopher Henry’s runners up team with monetary prizes courtesy of sponsor Hew Chalmers.
For the winners, Brendan Todd, thanked his team for playing so well in all the games, praised his opponents for their excellent sportsmanship and thanked Hew Chalmers for his sponsorship as well as the Ice Rink management and Hotel staff for looking after everyone.
Winners: Brendan Todd (skip); Megan Arthurs (third); Cameron Jess (second); Maura Wilson (lead).
Runners up: Christopher Henry (skip); Rachael Baillie (third); John Walker (second); Sophie Hannah (lead).
Scottish Junior Club Challenge results
Stranraer 1 - 4 Gogar 1 - 2; Stranraer 2 - 8 Gogar 2 - 2; Stranraer 1 - 6 Hamilton 1 - 4; Stranraer 2 - 7 Hamilton 2 - 4; Stranraer 1 - 7 Dumfries 1 - 3 Stranraer 2 - 4 Dumfries 2 -9; Stranraer 1 - 9 Forfar 1 - 3; Stranraer 2 - 4 Forfar 2 - 5; Stranraer 1 - 1 Stirling 1 -10; Stranraer 2 -14 Stirling 2 - 1.