It was great to be back on the road again yesterday, albeit a bit tentatively. Dumfries Ice Bowl was not too far to travel though. What better boost to my recovery than to see lots of young curlers enjoying themselves playing our sport. The occasion was the second Skills Award Challenge.
I hope you are all aware of the Royal Club's Skills Awards programme. If not see here. Simply put, these are six progressive awards, each of which has a practical and a theoretical element designed to improve individual skills. Last year Judith McFarlane, the Royal Club's Development Manager for Clubs and Juniors, started up a competition for those juniors who had gained the first of these skill awards. Giving a bronze award a score of four, and the blue, white and red awards points of three, two and one, teams would be made up of four players to a maximum of ten points.
The second Skills Award Challenge competition was played out at the Ice Bowl yesterday (Saturday), with teams from Braehead, Lockerbie, Borders, East Kilbride, Waterfront, Lanarkshire (three of them) joining two from the local Dumfries Club. The young curlers played a series of three-end games in a Schenkel format, the top two after four rounds contesting a final.
Here are a few photos from the day. Who knows if there are stars of the future among them. That doesn't really matter. Having fun is what it should be about, and that aim was certainly accomplished at Dumfries yesterday.
Above: Ryan McCormack from Lockerbie.
Borders Neil Sutherland.
East Kilbride skip Emma Hair follows her front end James Hair and Kyle Turner. Hannah Lindsay is in the head.
Lockerbie's Daniel Robson and Dumfries's Heather Laurie.
Braehead skip Angus Shearer with third Catriona Fergus."OK Number 3. What's the plan?"
Catriona has an 'Oh Dear' moment!
Lockerbie's Daniel Robson.
Ellie Hamilton who was playing for Dumfries 1.
Dumfries 1 in action. Ellie, Fraser Kingan, and Natasha Kerr are on Shaun Milligan's stone.
Connor Ballantyne, Hamilton.
My favourite pic from yesterday. Gillian Allan and Emma Hair share a joke as they skip their Hamilton and East Kilbride teams respectively.
Braehead reached the final. L-R: Angus Shearer (skip), Gavin Cruikshanks (lead), Catriona Fergus (third) and Kathryn Mackin (second).
The other finalists, Hamilton 3. L-R: Kathryn Johnson (second), Luke Carson (skip), Alastair Torrance (lead) and Ian Waddell (third). (Those in my age group might note evidence that curling is a genetic condition passed from generation to generation!)
Anyway, these two teams had met in the last Schenkel round. Then Braehead had won. But the final had a different script!
Alistair and Ian on Kathryn's stone in the final.
Luke Carson. The Lanarkshire team scored a big first end, and were on their way to the win.
Gavin and Kathryn are ready on Angus's stone.
While the final was going on, the other teams were taking part in a series of timed, fun challenges.
It's not something you see everyday at the Ice Bowl!
And so to the prizegiving ...
Dumfries ACDO Graham Sloan presents a prize for 'Shot of the Day' to Fraser Kingan. Apparently an angled raise double takeout!
Judith with Kathryn, Luke, Alistair and Ian, winners of the Skills Award Challenge.
Fraser Kingan, Natasha Kerr, Shaun Milligan and Ellie Hamilton won the fun challenge event.
And while the young curlers were competing, Judith held a workshop for Skills Assessors. Busy day for her. Well done!
Photos © Skip Cottage. Please let me know if I have any names wrong.