The Royal Caledonian Curling Club’s third Indoor Grand Match will take place tomorrow, Saturday, October 23, with some 2000 curlers participating at fifteen different ice rinks in a battle between the North of Scotland and the South of Scotland. The curling rinks involved are Aberdeen, Ayr, Braehead, Border, Elgin, Forfar, Greenacres, Hamilton, Inverness, Kinross, Kirkcaldy, Lockerbie, Murrayfield, Perth and Stirling.
The official headquarters for the event will be at the Murrayfield rink in Edinburgh, where play will get underway at 10.00. During the day, all the scores from the rinks across Scotland will be collated at Murrayfield, counted and ratified before either the North or the South of Scotland will receive the Grand Match Trophy in the evening following the conclusion of all the games. There is also a special VIP session at Murrayfield on Saturday morning, where the President and Vice President of the Royal Caledonian Curling Club will battle each other.
The official press release for the event has a quote from Robbie Scott, President of the Royal Caledonian Curling Club, who said, “It is exciting that this event is taking place once again with as many curlers from across Scotland travelling to other rinks to support and take part. The Indoor Grand Match is a great day out for both veteran curlers and new curlers alike, where many of the traditions of Scottish curling are upheld and where old friendships are brought together and new friendships are created.” And this last will be the success of the event.
The first Indoor Grand Match was held ten years ago to mark the millennium. It is no secret that there have been difficulties in organising the third such competition, the event failing to capture the imagination of many club curlers, in the way an outdoor event would have done. The 'near-miss' at the Lake of Menteith in January still rankles in many minds. Tomorrow's event was originally scheduled too for earlier this year, then a new date found. Organising it so early in the season has also been criticised. I have even had it suggested to me that perhaps the event is too soon after the 2005 competition, and that there might be more enthusiasm if it was every ten years.
But I have no doubt that those who have made the effort to participate tomorrow will have a great time and, as Robbie suggests, the traditions of curling will be upheld and friendships created and cemented.
You can follow 'the count' on the Royal Club website here.