Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Ladies' Tour to the USA

Brenda Macintyre, the Ladies’ Branch President, is captain of the Scottish Ladies' Tour to the USA. The twenty-strong group leaves Scotland tomorrow (January 6). The women's first games are in Boston and they travel across America to Seattle where the tour winds up on January 31.

The full itinerary, and a photo of all the party, can be found on the Royal Club website here. That will be the place to find scores and, hopefully, updates of their experiences along the way. With two experienced 'bloggers' in the party - Kay Gibb and Captain Brenda - I am sure that we will be kept in touch!

You may be unaware that the existence of the Ladies Branch owes much to goodwill tours. In 1958, Scottish ladies toured Canada and the USA, the first official tour overseas by Scottish women curlers. That followed a visit from Canadian women in 1955. At the AGM of the RCCC in July 1958, Irene Cleland (Edinburgh Ladies Curling Club) asked the Royal Club if it would consider the formation of a Ladies’ Committee which would be responsible for arranging tours and attending to matters which concerned ladies’ curling.

The 1958 tour had been a great success. Sixty-four games were played in Canada and forty-two in the USA by the four Scottish teams. Despite a slow start as the Scots got used to ice that was slower than they were used to, the visitors finished best in both countries.

One quote which appeared in the March 1958 Scottish Curler from 'Uncle' Rene Clarke, writing in a newsheet called Stack Brooms, reads, "The Scottish women play a beautiful draw game with deadly precision. After watching them for five hours it was easy to analyze where their obvious superiority is obtained. Discipline. They have very little backswing and no pushing, completely simplified and standardized delivery with almost perfect weight. Their sweeping with the Scottish brushes seems to be controlled by the sweepers rather than the skip, at least until the stone approaches the house. Most of the Scots appeared older and more experienced than the Americans yet they were fresh faced and relaxed as they came near the end of their arduous month-long tour of Canada and the States."

I wish for 'deadly precision' from our 2011 tourists, lots of 'discipline', and I trust that they will also be 'fresh faced and relaxed' in a month's time. I am sure they will have a great time!