Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Time to enter

This might be a good time to look at the status of the events that will make up the new Goldline Scottish Curling Tour. There are six of these, all open to any four curlers, and all are organised independently. There are two questions that have to be asked. Firstly, will each event be successful in its own right? And secondly, will the tie in to the Scottish Curling Tour bring a benefit, or will some teams be put off from entering because they conceive that competition will be too fierce. Let's hope not. These events are for everyone.

The first up will be the Ice Bowl Open at Dumfries, September 16-18. This is a new competition, and a first opportunity for many to compete at the country's newest six-sheeter. Organiser Graham Sloan has been in touch to say that he is looking for twenty-four teams. There are still places and you have until the end of the month to get your entry in. But of course it is first come, first served. The entry fee is a bargain at £100 which guarantees all teams five games, with £400 for the winning team, and all quarterfinalists will get their entry fee back.

There will be a buffet on the Saturday night for all the teams. The local ice hockey team, the Solway Sharks, have a home game scheduled which teams will be able to watch, and public skating on the Saturday is available for those who feel they have some extra energy to burn!

Consolation events (with the usual Dumfries twist) for the beaten quarterfinalists. Accommodation sponsors are Rivendell Guest House and Hamilton House.

The Braehead Open, sponsored by Cardwell Garden Centre, September 30 - October 2, is already oversubscribed. Organisers Gary Macfarlane and David Horne report that they have a full house of thirty-two teams, with further entries going on to a waiting list! This was a great event last year. Sarah Reid, runner-up last time, will be back and there is international representation from Markus Sipila from Finland, Shari Leibbrandt from the Netherlands, and Sergey Korelenko from Russia who has entered his senior team.

Forfar Indoor Sports will be busy October 14-16 when the rink plays host to both the Forfar Open and the Women's Tour. Organisers Mike Ferguson and Jill Macdonald suggest that, "The atmosphere will be terrific. Given the 'variety' of players we will be putting on entertainment and games. We are currently looking for just four rinks to make up the numbers. First come, first served of course."

Work is in progress to build a new lounge in the adjacent three-sheeter and to freshen up the whole rink so there will be plenty of space for spectators and players alike.

Forfar will also host the new National Super League finals in October - but more on this in a separate post!

The most established of the Tour events is the Inverness Skins, November 4-6. Always a great competition, this year will be no different I expect. Entries are good I understand, and I hear the organisers are "hoping to do something a little different this year!" More on this no doubt at a later stage.

The other new event in the calendar is the Stirling Invitational, the first major weekend event to be held at The Peak, the Summer Skins notwithstanding. Logan Gray tells me he is looking for just twenty teams in the first season. The entry fee is quite substantial at £400, but this includes meals on the Friday and Saturday. The high entry fee is to guarantee a large prize pot, including £3000 for the winners. Logan hopes the event will attract some of the best teams in Europe!

The final SCT competition is the Petrofac Aberdeen City Open, at Curl Aberdeen, February 3-5. This is an event for everyone, and last season was just so much fun! OK, so next February may seem a long way off, but now's the time to get your entry in for this one.

Contact details are here for all the competitions that make up the Goldline Scottish Curling Tour, presented by British Curling Supplies.