A glittering array of curling stars marched confidently along the red carpet as Whitecraigs Golf Club paid host to this year's Giffnock Curling Club Annual Dinner. Police held back hundreds of cheering fans and Craig Thomson, as unassuming as ever, cheerfully signed autographs and paused for selfies. As the undoubted 'best curler in Giffnock', Craig's star is very much in the ascendancy...
OK. None of that happened. I'm just trying to build it up a bit. But, we did have a nice meal, a bit of a laugh (thank you to me) and free whisky from those nice people at Whyte & Mackay. What's not to like?
Swan Medal winner Fergus Corbett was ill, unfortunately, and also missed out in picking up his "Pairs" trophy which co-winner Steve Malloy cheerfully snaffled. Alex Marshall, at last, got his hands on the Terregles Trophy.
Whyte & Mackay's Derek Forsyth teased us all by unveiling a bottle of Dalmore's 45 year old whisky - beautifully encased within its own mirrored wooden cabinet. We could look upon it, but not touch! At £6,000 a bottle, we could see his point. Kindly, he did provide everyone at the dinner with a fine taster "tube" of a very acceptable 15 yr old Dalmore to help us cope with the grief!
Alex Marshall and his team of Bobby Corbett, Alan Smith and Graham Steele captured the Terregles Cup last night. For Alex, the win was additionally sweet having missed out in at least two previous finals.
In a dogged battle which went 2-0, 3-2, 4-3, 4-4, 6-4, 7-4 it's fair to say there wasn't too much entertainment on offer. The crowd (John Finlay and President Sandy) were silenced by the sheer slog of the game.
With a devastating Alan Smith at number two finding his weight early doors and maintaining it throughout the game, Team Marshall maintained a lead and the opposition were left mostly chasing the game. Team Malloy was invariably left seeking to recover each end from difficult positions.
But, the game wasn't decided till the final end when 2 shots down, and despite having last stone, skip Malloy was faced with two options neither of which was that appealing. The resulting loss of another single shot served to finalise the score at 7-4 for Marshall.
The form team throughout the tournament ended as worthy winners.
Congratulations to winning skip Fergus Corbett and his team - Alastair Kerr, Ken Fish and George Russell - who are this year's Swan Medal winners.
Runner up, and only 2.5 points behind, was the rink of Ian MacDonald supported by Stuart Pollok, Ron Griffiths and Alan Smith.
Honourable mention (because I edit the website and I'm in that team and I know we don't get any prizes but just the same, the boy did good) for Graham Barnes' team with a third place finish. Messrs Malloy, Steele and Pollitt take a small bow.
In the eerily quiet of a near empty Braehead Ice Arena, all that could be heard was the tiny patter of eight little feet, the roar of the occasional stone and the frantic sound of a brush sweeping urgently across the ice.
It was now 10.30 pm and four hours had passed since they had started their first tie.
This was the final of the Giffnock Pairs competition, watched avidly by the Braehead Ice Man who's encouraging words "OK, one more end, then yer teas oot lads!" echoed around the arena.
And so it was that after Malloy and Corbett (F) had each thrown 48 stones (and swept them all); and their opponents 36... for those slackers Nicholl and Halliday had a bye in the first round; a conclusion was reached.
The pairs champs were Fergus Corbett (skip) and Steve Malloy. And as they turned to acknowledge the massed cheers of the crowd man, at least he was kind enough to take a photo.
Led by Organiser-in-Chief, Secretary Alan Smith, our trusty reporters Stewart Daye and President Sandy Halliday attended the Glynhill Ladies International at Braehead to meet up with the team we sponsor - Team Wang of China.
This report just in...
"Alan, Sandy and I met with the Chinese Team (skipped by ‘Betty’ Wang who is on the extreme left of the photos) at Braehead earlier this evening.
The “Meet and Greet’ went very well and we presented each team member with a Chinese Tartan scarf, a tin of shortbread and a Giffnock badge.
Safe to say, Team Wang loved their scarves and a big thank you must go to Giffnock's Alistair Brown who generously donated them.
The above photo was taken on my iPhone. Sandy should have much better ones taken on his fancy camera. (Where are they? - Ed)
Last week Team Wang won a prestigious competition in Bern, Switzerland and will soon be appearing in the Olympics in South Korea.
The team to support - after Eve Muirhead’s rink of course!"
In a three way final shoot out between Fergus Corbett, Gordon Nicholl and Alastair Kerr... the winner, by playing the best draw to the pot lid was Alastair Kerr.
Over 20 members turned out at Greenacres on Wednesday night for the annual Points Competition which was followed by a fine Christmas Dinner.
The joyous ambience of the evening was much enhanced by President Sandy organising a bus in order that players could enjoy a wee drink as well. Some argued this improved their performance, others just thought that!
Special thanks to President Sandy for organising and to Messrs Macaulay, Brown and Hunter who carried out the scoring. And, following a cunning plan from Bobby Corbett where players doubled up at each discipline, we even managed 9 challenges across the evening.
Teams skipped by Fergus Corbett and David Sillito successfully wrested back the coveted rosebowl from Cathcart Castle after losing sight of it for the last couple of years.
Things looked a bit worrying after the first 3 ends with Sillito's team lying 5 down while Corbett's side were drawing 2-2.
However, a 3 followed by a second 3 saw Corbett and his team accelerate into the lead and take the presssure off Sillito. At which point he responded adding a 3, then a 2 and a 1 to turn their game.
When the points were totalled at the finale, Sillito's 7-6 win combined with Corbett's 9-3 win meant a great overall victory for Giffnock.
Commiserations must go to Wendy Highet and Niall Murray-Lyon who fought a good fight and Wendy's speech was both congratulatory and humorous. A fine meal rounded off an excellent evening at Greenacres.
Teams were Sillito, Finlay, Halliday and Hunter; Corbett, Malloy, Pollock and McMorris.
Let me start by saying it was Lynn & Clarkston's home ice (East Kilbride) and we struggled to get used to it while they were straight into their rhythm. When their lead put 2 on the pot lid at the first end and we couldn’t find the house, the omens were there. It looked like being a difficult night.
Both Giffnock teams went behind - Marshall by 4 to 0 after 3 ends and Malloy by 6 to 0 after only 2 ends. But worse was to follow.
Malloy pulled one back in the 3rd to arrest the slide and with a packed house in the 3rd was relying on a single buried Giffnock stone to keep the score down. Sadly, not buried enough and against the ‘play safe’ advice of his own 3, L&K’s Graham Leiper played a brilliant last stone.
It sailed serenely through a narrow gap to catch the edge of the Giffnock stone and chip it out... and lie. An 8 ender for L&K and disaster for Giffnock! Coming back from 14-1 is a bit tricky.
I’d always looked forward to an 8 ender but not to being on the receiving end of one!
Meanwhile, Marshall’s side were lying 5-1 down going into their final end but, remarkably, took a 5 in the last game to win that one and let us retain a modicum of pride.
I’ll let the rest of our team announce their involvement in this historic match (or maybe not).
There were the odd mutterings that maybe we shouldn’t submit a report at all from some quarters! I mean, who would find out if we just kept quiet. Who indeed?
So, a loss of the cup for the 3rd year in a row I believe.
Apologies all... but there was a silver lining... Mr Leiper and his team very kindly paid for the drinks afterwards. So, it wasn’t ALL bad, just most of it.
Least said about this the better eh? (Good luck with that! - Ed.)