The above event on 24 October was a notable success, as noted in the report below:
Also photographs of the event can be found via the Area 6 website: http://network.royalcaledoniancurlingclub.org/area6/
Report on the Indoor Grand Match at The Peak on 24th October 2015
The Royal Caledonian Curling Club’s (RCCC) Indoor Grand Match, sponsored by award winning independent financial advisers, Alan Steel Asset Management (ASAM) took place on Saturday 24th October 2015 at venues across Scotland. Billed as the battle of North of Scotland versus South of Scotland this year’s event featured 2,376 curlers from 388 clubs competing in 594 teams at 17 ice rinks across Scotland making it one of the biggest mass participation events in sport. To commemorate the event ASAM reproduced the Charles Lees painting of the Grand Match at Linlithgow Loch 1849 for each participating curler.
The Indoor Grand Match is a spin off event based on the traditional Grand Matches which are held on a frozen loch when temperatures and ice conditions permit. The indoor version was initiated in the year 2000 to celebrate the millennium and due to its success has continued every five years since. An imaginary line is drawn between the River Forth and River Clyde to decide the two sides and games held simultaneously over three sessions throughout the day. Scores were compiled at the conclusion of all the games with the winner being the side with the most shots scored.
The office bearers, the council and volunteers in Area 6 of the RCCC were responsible for the organisation of the event at The Peak Stirling where 144 curlers from 36 clubs competed over three sessions of curling.
The day started early for the volunteers with tartan to be draped, tables to be decorated, reception desk to be manned, shortbread to be produced and the 101 jobs which require attention before the first of the curlers arrived at 9.00am. The clubs were registered, team members changed for action and then upstairs to Zacs for coffee and shortbread.
Area 6 representative, Joe Barry welcomed the curlers to the Indoor Grand Match at The Peak and gave them the information for what was hoped would be a successful days curling in good company. The curlers proceeded down stairs to the curling arena where they were piped on to the ice to their rink by Alan Prentice, who received the customary drink from the Quaich. Alan was playing in the first session so there was no time to change into his curling gear so he played in his kilt.
Talented photographers were on hand to take photographs of the session and rink photographs with their opponents.
After four ends the curlers were invited to stack the brooms and come off the ice for a refreshment of water, juice or Rusty Nails, with tablet available to help the sugar rush for the return to the ice. Orders were taken for the post match drinks to allow Zacs staff to have the drinks on the table at the completion of the matches.
As the first session games drew to a close, the second session curlers were arriving at registration and on to Zacs to start the process all over again.
The first session curlers completed their games and went upstairs to be seated at their tables and await the first course of Scotch Broth. The second course of either Stovies, Lasagne or Green Thai Curry soon disappeared and it was on to the coffee and cakes or even another alcoholic drink for the non drivers. The presentation of prizes followed, which as the match was between the North and the South, the miniature whiskies were awarded to all the curlers in the winning area. So even although you won your own club battle against the opposing rink, you might not get a miniature! A lucky dip meant that four curlers received a bottle of wine, not for their curling skills but because they were lucky in being on the right sheet, playing in the right position and playing for the right area.
After three sessions of curling the ice hall became quiet, and after three meal sessions at Zacs and no one on the ice to watch, the curlers began to drift away which allowed Zacs staff and the volunteers to tidy up and make their own way home after a tiring but satisfying days curling.
Good days of curling fellowship do not just happen and a number of people deserve our thanks and appreciation for the time and effort they put in to make the day a success.
The Area 6 Office Bearers of Joe Barry, Area Representative, Alan Wilson, Area Secretary and Ritchie Stewart, Area Treasurer started off the organising process and were supported by the Office Bearers in the four Area Provinces of Scottish Central, Stirlingshire, Forth & Endrick and West Lothian as well as ladies from the Ladies Centre, Stirling.
Active Stirling, through Suzanne Burns, Programme and Events Manager, fully supported the event by subsidising the ice costs, meeting our requests regarding changing facilities, advising on advertising for sponsors and generally meeting our needs on the day. The Ice Technicians made good ice and Dougie Fergus, was his usual supportive and helpful self, both before and during the event.
Zacs, through Greg and Darren, listened to our plans for the day and menu suggestions and went away and came back with better ones. Again, we had lots of requests, on a limited budget, regarding the provision of coffee / tea almost all day, the provision of shortbread by the ladies at the coffee / tea station and the layout of the dining and bar area on a very busy day. They managed the situation very well and provided first class catering arrangements on the day.
Deanston Distillery was very supportive by providing seven dozen miniatures at a heavily discounted cost as well as a substantial prize. Thanks to Margo Bain for all her work regarding this success.
The two photographers, Graham Russell and Val Saville, worked tirelessly throughout the day taking pictures of anything and everything from curling teams to stacked brushes and from score cards to prize winners. Val also found time to play and man the reception desk.
Rhona Johnson, President of the Ladies Centre Stirling, proved to be an invaluable resource to the committee with her contacts, her eye for detail and enthusiasm. She made contact with the local papers for publicity and photo-shoots as well as liaising with the ladies on the provision of tablet, shortbread and home baking. The floral presentations on the tables which she managed to acquire from Gleneagles Hotel together with the tartan napkins and table clothes, set off the dining area in splendid fashion.
Phyllis Beattie and Isabel Gillespie organised unseen volunteers in the making of tablet, shortbread and baking which was enjoyed by all the curlers with their coffee before and after their games. The ladies were present throughout the day manning the coffee station and repeatedly replenishing the sweets and the tablet in the ice hall.
Jacky McLaren, after working through the week at the International Wheelchair Curling event at the Peak, was back on Saturday looking after the reception desk and welcoming the curlers. In between times she managed to take the dogs for a walk as well as support skip Debbie and Wheelchair Stirling to a victory on the ice.
Other volunteers including Tom Lambie, President West Lothian Province and Bill Strang, Secretary Scottish Central Province, managed to play unsuccessfully for their clubs but still managed very successfully from early morning, to fill all the gaps as they appeared in the managing and volunteering programme.