Penicuik Win King George IV Trophy

Penicuik contested the final of the King George knock-out competition (Midlothian Province) against RBS last night (1 Mar), and came away victors.  Congratulations and well done to our team of John Jacobs, Robert Beaton, Ronnie Hope, and Liz Anderson.

Final end

Penicuik beat RBS in an exciting final of the King George IV Trophy Competition on Friday 1 March. First competed for in 1965-66, originally for curlers who could not take part in “daytime competitions”, (when the majority of them were held), the definition has changed slightly over the years. It now excludes curlers who play in The RCCC organised Rink Championship and the Midlothian Province League Division 1.

This is the first time that Penicuik has won this knock-out competition, and followed wins against Stewart’s Melville FP, Holyrood, DAFS, and Sweepers in previous rounds. For the third consecutive game the Penicuik rink remained unchanged: John Jacobs (skip), Robert Beaton (third), Ronnie Hope (second), and Liz Anderson (lead). Ken Hunter played as skip in the first round, but was debarred from playing in later rounds after entering the Rink Championship as a substitute. Keith Morris stepped up to the plate as Skip in the second round and played a great last stone against Holyrood to secure victory, with Craig Brown playing in place of Liz Anderson. 

Whilst the 9-3 score in the final would indicate a comfortable victory, in reality this was a “Close Encounter of the Squeaky-Bum Kind”! 

Following a single to RBS in the first end, Penicuik responded well with a two at the second and a single against the head at the third. 3-1 up, and looking good, slight nerves crept into the Penicuik rink and RBS struck back with a single at the fourth and another, very fortunate, single at the fifth. 3-3, and for a moment Penicuik looked in trouble.

However, the game was won and lost in the penultimate, roller coaster, sixth end. Robert, faced with a single RBS stone lying shot at the back of the tee in a packed house, played a beautiful stone through a narrow port to chap and lie. RBS came back to tap back and lie one. John played his first stone through the same port to regain the lead and the RBS skip failed to do any damage with his last stone. John now had a dilemma; Penicuik’s stone was virtually jammed against a single RBS stone so there was no way to take a two by drawing through the port. However, the RBS stone was surrounded by a number of Penicuik stones in the eight foot. Taking a single shot lead into the last end did not appeal; if we lost by a shot and the game was peeled, we would forfeit the trophy on ends. After a lengthy discussion, John & Robert elected to take the high risk option and plant one of the

Penicuik guards on to the RBS stone. John played a perfectly weighted stone to push the RBS stone back without touching his own and take a four!

Penicuik held their nerves in a tense final end, and stole a two to end the game 9-3 up.

Every game in this competition has been played in the best of curling spirit, and RBS proved to be great fun to play with and generous in defeat. Following a friendly drink in the bar, the Midlothian Province president, Basil Baird, introduced Shadi Darvish, MD of the sponsors, Bridge Investments, who presented the trophy and prizes.

Ronnie Hope

Waldie Griffith Inter-Province Match

Midlothian met Dundee & District Province on Sunday afternoon (24 Feb) at Murrayfield in the Waldie Griffith.  The four rinks representing Midlothian were Carrington, Clydesdale Bank, Midcalder, and Penicuik.  Penicuik skipped by Andrew Lambie, with Dave Anderson, Jim Ramsay, and Ken Hunter, was drawn against Dundee University.

Penicuik took first blood with a four in the opening end.  A slightly heavy final draw in the second end from our opposition caught a front stone and deflected to just beat three Penicuik counters.  Penicuik took a single in the third end, and followed it up with another four in the fourth end.  Dundee came back in the latter stages of the game to reduce their deficit from 8 shots to 3 shots (final score 9-6).

Overall Midlothian ran out winners by 50 shots to 16 shots, an average of +8.5 shots up.  It remains to be seen if this will be sufficient for MIdlothian to retain the trophy won in 2017-18. 

King George IV Semi-final

Penicuik will play RBS in the final of the King George IV Trophy Competition on Friday 1 March, following a great semi-final win the week previous against Sweepers C.C. For the first time in the competition, the Penicuik rink remained unchanged and was the one that knocked out DAFS in the quarter-final: John Jacobs (skip), Robert Beaton (third), Ronnie Hope (second), and Liz Anderson (lead).

Penicuik got out of the blocks quickly, taking a two then a three, to be 5-0 up after two ends. As in all previous rounds, Liz at lead put the opposition lead under pressure from the start, playing with pinpoint accuracy to set up the head, and forcing her opponent into making tricky shots and slight, but significant errors. Ronnie and Robert built on this foundation with some steady shots into the front of the house which gave John the opportunity to raise or guard and rack up the points.

Sweepers clawed back with a two at the third end, but Penicuik played their best curling at the fourth, and following a full team effort notched up a five. 10-2 after five ends! The sixth could have been dangerous, with a single Penicuik stone lying shot but vulnerable to a tap-back, and with a clutch of Sweepers’ stones lying invitingly at the front of the house. However, John played a magnificent draw through a narrow port to cuddle up to the Penicuik stone and remove the tap-back danger. The Sweepers skip was short with his last stone raise and Penicuik stole another point. 11-2 after five ends and the Sweepers skip called a halt to proceedings.

The Sweepers rink were magnanimous in defeat and following a particularly friendly drink in the bar wished us well in the final. RBS have had solid wins over Bruntsfield, SIAE and Edinburgh Rotary to reach the final, but Penicuik’s record is equally impressive against Stewart’s Melville, Holyrood, DAFS and Sweepers. Should be a good game!     

Ronnie Hope   

Second Points 2018-19

The Second Points Competition was held on Tuesday evening (19 Feb).  Nine members  entered the contest for the medal and another opportunity to test their skills against the current ice.  In starting order of play, the participants were Iain Scott, Dave Anderson, Ronnie Hope, Ken Hunter, Craig Brown, Keith Morris, Jim Cowper, David Gillespie, and John Jacobs.

The ice was somewhat different in that we were on sheets 3 & 4, with Oxenfoord also playing Points alongside us on sheets 1 & 2.   At the close of play Keith Morris emerged as the winner on 36 points,  narrowly beating Ken Hunter in second place (35 pts), followed then by a chasing pack of Craig Brown, Ronnie Hope, and John Jacobs all on 32 pts.  It was a very enjoyable evening, and afterwards we adjourned to the bar to take refreshments and engage in a good old natter.

As to the details of the event, 6 members managed to score at all eight of the disciples played, these were Craig Brown, Jim Cowper, Ronnie Hope, Ken Hunter, John Jacobs, and Keith Morris.   The top scorers in each discipline were as follows;

Striking                           Dave Anderson, Craig Brown, & Ronnie Hope,  (8)

Inwicking                        Iain Scott (5)

Drawing                          Dave Anderson & Ken Hunter (5)

Guarding                       Keith Morris (6)

Chap & Lie                     Ronnie Hope & Ken Hunter (5)

Wick & Curl In                Jim Cowper (5)

Raising                            Ronnie Hope (6)

Chipping the Winner    Dave Anderson (7)

Points is a great way to learn and to gain more experience about how to play the ice we have.  The Intermediate Points Competition is on Wednesday 27 February.  

King George Quarter-Final

Penicuik played DAFS on Friday 1st February in the quarter final of the King George IV Trophy Competition, having beaten Stewart’s Melville FP and Holyrood in previous rounds. Our rink on this occasion comprised John Jacobs (skip), Robert Beaton (third), Ronnie Hope (second), and Liz Anderson (lead). DAFS put out a strong rink with Alistair Henry (skip), Michael Young (third), David Lindsay (second), and Neil Sinclair (lead). Once again, we were allocated sheet 7, which is proving to be less and less reliable as the season progresses, and both rinks found it very tricky to read.

DAFS took the first end with a single and Penicuik respond with a single at the second, when John’s draw avoided a big end for DAFS. The next three ends were also won in singles, but all of them for DAFS.  Liz up front played well, but the midfield of Ronnie and Robert found conditions frustratingly variable, so Penicuik went into the penultimate end 4-1 down and needing four to win the game, (a peel would give DAFS the win on ends). Lying one at the sixth end, John’s final draw was marginally long. A disappointing single, so Penicuik went into the final end 4-2 down, needing three to win and last-stone advantage to DAFS.  DAFS looking confident and odds-on to win; oh dear! 

A cluttered head in the seventh end, DAFS lying shot, just short of the button, with only three Penicuik stones left. Robert’s very difficult in-turn around the front guards on straight ice just misses – blast!  Only John’s two stones to go and Penicuik still needing three to win!  DAFS put in another guard.  John was forced to the swingy out-turn to try a difficult angled raise. Well played but slightly light, it pushed back the DAFS stone to second shot.  DAFS put in another guard but there was still a narrow route in to the head from the wing. John plays a cracking wide-angled raise with his final stone on to an outlying Penicuik stone, through the port, and pushes the DAFS stone back to lie three!!

However, one Penicuik stone lies open, if DAFS can take this out they win the game!  It’s guarded for the out-turn, so Alistair is forced to take an unplayed line down the centre on the in-turn. Penicuik players can hardly look! Will it pass the guard?
NO, it catches and we’ve won by a shot, 5-4!  Both teams in shock at the result!  A win is a win however, and although we genuinely commiserated with our friends in DAFS in the bar afterwards, we are delighted to enter the semi-final against Sweepers on Friday 22 February. The other semi is between Edinburgh Rotary and RBS.

Ronnie Hope

Outdoor Curling 2019

After a long interval of eight years, the Club at last had the opportunity to return to our spiritual home, the Low Pond.  The surprising cold snap at the end of January had resulted in a good ice cover on the pond.  Our Surveyor (J Cowper) journeyed to the pond on Friday 1 February to assess the likelihood of play, accompanied by his Trainee (R Hope).  Two inches of ice! The call to members went on Friday afternoon.  

A work party of Messrs. Anderson, Carr, Cowper, Hope, Hunter, Ramsay, and Scott (Snr) made their way to the pond on Saturday morning to begin preparations.  First an overnight fall of snow had to be cleared, then it was down to marking two rinks and sweeping them clear. 

Once members had gathered, Skips for the day were appointed (D Anderson, D Carr, J Cowper, and J Ramsay) and teams drawn.  Then after opening stones by Jim Cowper and President Christine Hope, play commenced.  The event started with the intention of playing three rounds of 4 end games.  However after the first games, the rising temperatur necessitated a decision to make the second two rounds only 2 ends.  As it turned out this was a little optimistic, part way through the final games play had to be abandoned for safety reasons when the ice was penetrated on one of the rinks. 

Team Carr had won both of their first two games and were well up in shots scored, so they won the Outdoor Medal.  Well done Dave, Keith Morris, Martin Hobbs, and David Gillespie.

A reminder from Jim Cowper that 40 years ago on 3 February we had 18 rinks playing on the Low Pond. We had 4 Penicuik rinks entered and won three of them. It was a great day, only to be outdone with the Grand Match that week on the 7 February 1979.

Midlothian Province Bonspiel 2018-19

The annual Province bonspiel was played across Monday 28 January.  As usually Penicuik fielded three teams.  Dave Anderson skipped the first game at 10.00 am against MIdcalder.  His team included Liz Anderson, Dave Carr, and Ronnie Hope.  They came away with a 9-5 win.

The second rink played at 2.00 pm against the Bank of Scotland.  Jim Ramsay skipped a team of Ken Hunter, Roger Scott, and John Glidden.  The outcome was an 11-3 win; it could easily have been 12-1 but for a very fortunate (and somewhat undeserved) result from the opposition Skip’s final stone.

Our final game was against Corstorphine at 6.00pm, when Addrew Lambie skipped a team including John Jacobs, Iain Scott, and Margaret Carr.  Corstorphine probably represented the toughest opposition in our draw this year, and Penicuik went down to a 2-7 loss.

We finished the tournament on an average of 2.33 points.  The competition was won by Currie & Balerno with an average score of 11.67.  The Colin Black trophy for the highest up rink on the day went to Royal Bank of Scotland with a score of +14.