This was the first year of the new format for the Junior Challenge, the inter-club competition run by the Royal Club. I remember when the whole thing was begun by David Hay and Richard Harding (way back then!) in the days before there were many competitions for juniors. It was four teams aside then, one of them an all girls rink.
But things change and the sport has evolved. Now many of the country's young players are involved with U-17 events and all the other competitions open to our juniors, and more than a few no longer play just with curlers from their own ice rink. The Junior Challenge brings back the pride of representing your own junior club.
The top two divisions in the new league are made up of six clubs each of two teams, playing a round robin over the weekend. Every game matters with promotion - and relegation - at stake.
My photos in this post are from Division 2 at Ayr yesterday. Above shows Gogar skips Gina Aitken and Bruce Mouat who finished a successful weekend with their junior club promoted to Division 1. Ayr's Aileen Rennie is also in the photo.
All the results from the event can be found here.
Here's Gina again.
Here's Gina's team. That's Naomi Brown delivering (her dad Norman was on the blog on Saurday) with Mairi Girvan and Mhairi Anderson.
Bruce Mouat's team was Colin Mouat, Rowena Kerr and Elspeth Lean.
David Aitken, 'responsible adult' with the Gogar YCC, was making the point to me that the event allows curlers who do not play 'the circuit' an opportunity to participate. One such was Sarah Morris (above), playing away from Murrayfield for the first time, in Rebecca Steven's team in a second Gogar squad. I am sure she enjoyed the experience.
Sarah's teammates included Karen Munro and Gavin Barr, Karen getting the 'most colourful curler of the day' award!
That's skip Rebecca Steven in the middle. Needs a caption this one. 'Fish wives, anyone?'
Actually Gogar 22 needs some explanation. Rebecca's team was the second team in the second Gogar squad of two. Hence they were Gogar 2/2. Simples!
Gogar 2/2 were against Greenacres. Stuart Marshall skipped, with Claire Dagen (that's them in the photo above) behind Karen, with Rachael Halliday and Ross McIsaac as the front end.
As you can see in the league tables here, Greenacres and Gogar 2 finished mid-table and remain in Division 2. Ayr and Kinross were relegated.
But who else was promoted?
Yes, you can probably recognise the Dumfries uniform, here sported by Ross Whyte!
Naomi Whyte and Heather Morton practise their relaxation techniques yesterday!
With Zack Stewart and Finlay Kingam, Naomi and Heather came from behind to draw their last game and ensured the club's promotion.
Here's the other Dumfries side in action - Ruaraidh Whyte, Ross Whyte, Fraser Kingam and Christopher Howat. Division 1 beckons!
More from Division 1 later.
Photos © Skip Cottage