27 Oct 15
Report by Andrew Kerr
2,376 curlers from all over the country playing for 388 different clubs in 17 ice rinks on the same day and at the same times.
What's this ?
THE 2015 INDOOR GRAND MATCH pitching the North of the country against the South to replicate, as far as possible in these health and safety conscious modern times, the outdoor Grand Matches of the past - most recently (!) in 1979 at the Lake of Menteith.
The 2015 version very nearly didn't take place. After the last Indoor Grand Match in 2010, future fixtures had been quietly dropped from the calendar and it was only at a Royal Club AGM when this was realised that the members present insisted on the decision being sent back to the Areas Standing Committee to be reconsidered. Fortunately good sense prevailed and arrangements put in hand for last Saturday's match.
Ayr ice rink, as we have done with the previous three indoor Grand Matches, fully embraced the 2015 event and, under President Tom's stewardship, we hosted a total of 18 games over 3 sessions welcoming clubs from as far as Inverness in the north and Aberdeen and Lammermuir in the east as well as local Ayr clubs.
The games were all played in the good curling traditions of competition and fellowship. Hazel and her girls (including Theresa) provided three sittings after each session of curling and we were delighted to welcome back, Simon Lamb who, you may remember did a "special" version of Tam o' Shanter at last year's Burns Supper. Well, he surpassed himself ! Another Tam o' Shanter "special" for the first two sittings and a further updated version for the third sitting when news came through that President Tom had become a Grandpa. Thank you, Simon.
All our guests were treated to the usual Ayr hospitality throughout the day including the mandatory Clyde Steamer and the shutters were eventually pulled down on the bar at 9.30 with the Loch Ness and General Accident curlers moving on to local hostelries whilst those of us who had been there since 8 in the morning decided it was time to go home !
Oh, and the scores ? At Ayr, the North pipped the South by 5 shots - 125 against 120 but overall, the South triumphed 2,154 shots to 1,928 shots by the North. Full details on all the games can be found on the Royal Club website.
A big thank you to all the volunteers who made this such a special day, to Hazel and the catering staff, to Anne Marie and the bar staff, to Ian Mathieson who piped the curlers on to the ice and particularly, to Simon Lamb and to Alan Steel Asset Management, the event sponsors. Special thanks also to Jim and the ice staff who worked hard to provide excellent ice for all the games.
Thanks also to Liz Boswell, whose photos are in the gallery - click here,