I've just watched the BBC Scotland broadcast of the Columba Cream Scottish Women's Curling Championship from 7-8 pm tonight. I really enjoyed it.
For a start it was great to be able to watch BBC coverage on the big screen at a time of the evening when I'm not falling asleep - usually this programme goes out in the wee hours. Despite actually having been at Perth, and knowing the result, it was still interesting to watch, for all sorts of reasons. My goodness though, these cameras are intrusive, they really get inside your nose! I wonder if the girls enjoyed seeing themselves on camera in such detail!
I thought the coverage was good. Curling on the box lends itself to the 'package' treatment, and not always to a whole game which can be uninteresting in parts to many. A whole end - the key one - was shown, and there should be no-one asking, "Is it only the skips that get to throw the stones?"
The commentary was good. Bob Kelly is experienced in that role nowadays, although Jackie came over as too laid back, and those of us that know her will realise that her 'commentator's voice' is not the real Jackie at all. It was a hard day for the two of them, commentating all the way through the live webcasts of two games. They did well, not dumbing down what they said for the non-curlers out there, but still explaining well what was going on.
Good ice too was on show with lots of swing, and some excellent shotplay. I found myself studying deliveries and releases too, even although I'm usually watching through a camera lens.
Would a non-curler have enjoyed the broadcast? Certainly, what was on the screen was a far cry from the 'old man's game' impression that some still hold of our sport. My opinion was that it was an hour of good advertisement for curling. It will be interesting to see if the package from the men's game is as good. That's tomorrow night (Wednesday) again at 7 pm. I dare say audience figures will be available in due course.
The fashion critic in me is just glad that Abi and Becca were able to keep on their red tops, or it would have been the team in black playing against the team in black, as both teams were wearing their National Academy tops. BBC once said, I believe, they would refuse to show curling unless teams dressed sensibly! DTD. But I digress, as usual.
Talking of the National Academy, I think a quiet 'well done' should go to Rhona Martin and her assistant Brad Askew who have looked after the Royal Club's National Academy programme in recent years. Both finalist teams have been supported through the National Academy, not the Scottish Institute. I hope they were proud to see their charges fighting it out in the finals, as I'm sure the two coaches, Isobel Hannen and Debbie Knox, were too.
Yes, well played!
Photo is © Skip Cottage. Anna is shouting, with Hannah and Becca behind.