George Heriot’s FP Curling Club
Bruce Mouat and Mike Dick with the Trophy after our game against Watsonians in 2013
Honorary Secretary’s Report for Season 2015-16
After several years during which the fixture list had grown, the 2015-16 season proved something of a watershed with the Club struggling to win many of its matches and having to work hard to honour all of its fixtures. As a result the Committee has decided to cut back on our commitments for next season by withdrawing from the Linlithgow Trophy league.
The decline in the Club’s fortunes has been more than compensated for by the achievements of one of our members, Bruce Mouat, who not only won the Scottish Mixed Doubles Championship for the 3rd time together with his partner Gina Aitken, skipped his own rink to the Scottish Junior Championships and then went on to improve on the bronze medal that he had won last year by winning the gold medal at this year’s World Junior Championships in Denmark.
Two new playing members were recruited during the year, last season’s School skip, Rachel Dakers and Harry Chapman who had left school some 12 or so years earlier. This not only vastly improved the membership’s demographics, but brought the number of playing members up to 20. However, only 13 of these could be said to be available on a regular basis, with the remaining 7 only playing very occasionally, if at all. This meant that the team selectors had to work harder than was ideal to get complete rinks on to the ice. We have good links with the School Curling Club which should ensure a small but steady flow of recruits from that source in future years, but we need to see if we can also recruit from the ranks of parents of present and former pupils of the School.
Earlier in the season I represented the Club, along with representatives from the FP Rugby, Cricket and Golf clubs, at a meeting at the School aimed at encouraging School leavers to join the respective FP sporting clubs. We were fortunate to be able to persuade World Junior Curling medallists, Rowena Kerr (silver) and Bruce Mouat (bronze) to attend, complete with medals.
Our thanks go to George Edington (FP League), Wilson Heatlie (Linlithgow Trophy), Tim Price (Half Century) , Ian Brockie (Province) and myself (Other fixtures) for selecting and organising our rinks in these matches.
Played Won Lost Peeled
FP League 12 8 4 0
Linlithgow Trophy 9 0 8 1
Half Century 9 2 7 0
Province Div 3 7 2 5 0
All Matches 42 16 25 1
It would be fair to say that, in playing terms, winning the FP League is the Club’s first priority and all members who took part are to be congratulated on successfully defending ‘The Broom’. We were particularly fortunate that Mike Dick and Dave Munro committed themselves to skipping our rinks on a regular basis. Indeed ‘availability’ for the FP League was good throughout the season, a testament surely to the old sporting rivalries that continue to exist between the schools.
Going into the final round of matches, three of the four clubs could have won the Broom. We had a two point and an 11 shot advantage over Stewarts Melville but as they were playing Accies in the last round of matches it looked likely that we would need to win both matches against Watsonians to be sure of holding on to the Broom.
The outcome could not have been closer with Mike Dick’s rink winning 5-4 and Dave Munro’s rink losing a count of 4 at the last end due to an unfortunate ‘pick-up’ to lose 7-6. This result meant that Watsonians had won back the Ian Brown Rosebowl, but when the calculations were complete, Heriot’s had retained the Broom, beating Stewarts Melville by a single shot.
The FP League Dinner and Prize giving took place after the final round of matches with guest of honour Lauchlan Maclean treating everyone to one of his curling graces and ‘reluctantly’ handing over the Broom to President Eric Begbie . Having now won the FP League in each of the first four years of its existence, it will be interesting to see whether the other three clubs are now intimidated by Heriot’s, or will come out next season even more determined to put an end to our successful run.
Linlithgow Trophy League
With Bruce Mouat now playing at the highest level of the game, the Club could not interest any of our quality skips to turn out on a regular basis and we found ourselves rooted firmly to the bottom of the league table, with only one drawn match to show for our efforts.
It might all have been different had we taken advantage of Aegon turning up a player short in the first match of the season, but despite a 4 shot penalty in our favour we somehow contrived to lose the game from what looked like an invincible position.
As Bruce’s appearances for the Club next season are likely to continue to be rare and with a shortage of available quality players in the final two places in the rink, it has been decided to withdraw from the Linlithgow Trophy League next season.
Regulars this season included Mike Spooner, Douglas Goddard, Bob Mouat, Bryan Chatham and Wilson Heatlie , with valued ‘guest appearances’ from Dave Munro , George Edington and Harry Chapman.
Half Century League
As with last season, the Club played with a settled rink from the five members that had indicated that they wished to turn out on a regular basis. Our rink of Tim Price (skip), George Edington, Ian Brockie and alternating leads Jack Aitken and Bryan Chatham enjoyed a difficult season, winning just two from the nine matches played.
With our withdrawal from the Linlithgow Trophy league next season it is anticipated that the pool of players from which the Half Century rinks are selected will be larger. Only time will tell if this leads to improved results.
Province Division 3
A mid-week 9.30pm start is not everyone’s idea of an ideal time to curl and it would be fair to say that we struggled to field strong rinks this season. At one stage results were so poor that we had thought that we should withdraw from the Province league next season but a late run of good results convinced us that Province matches offered playing opportunities to members who were ineligible for the Half Century League and might not always get the opportunity to play in the FP League.
Once more, our rinks were selected from those who had indicated that they were available for selection for each match. Regulars included Ian Brockie, Harry Chapman, Bryan Chatham , Jamieson Walker and Wilson Heatlie whilst Jack Aitken, Scott Dakers, Bob Mouat and Douglas Goddard were valued reserves.
Watsonian Challenge Rosebowl
The winner of the Ian Brown Rosebowl is determined by the outcome of matches between the two clubs in the FP League. Watsonians held a 3 shot advantage after the first round of matches and when the second round of matches were shared, Watsonians were able to win back the trophy.
FPs V School Challenge Quaich
This season, as the School had been forced to withdraw curling as an option for younger pupils, it was agreed that the Quaich would be decided by the winner of the match between one rink from the School and one from the FP Curling Club
Initially, first refusal to play in the FP rink had been offered to the five members who had volunteered to help the School curlers whilst the regular staff were away on maternity leave, namely Eric Begbie, Rachel Dakers, Jack Aitken, Wilson Heatlie and Douglas Goddard. Regrettably, in the end, only Douglas was able to play and was joined by Mike Spooner, Ian Brockie and skip Tim Price.
The FP rink made a good start, leading 6-1 at one time but the School rink came back well, picking up a 2 at the final end to square the match at 6 all when Tim Price’s last stone was swept through the house. It was decided that the trophy would be decided by the skips playing one stone each and when the School skip came up short of the house, Tim Price atoned for his earlier misjudgement with a fine draw to the button.
Following the match, the FP Club provided afternoon tea for all players and spectators before Vice President Mike Dick congratulated the School curlers on qualifying for the Scottish Schools Championships and accepted the Quaich on behalf of the FP Curling Club.
The club won two matches in the KGIV Whisky cup competition before being comprehensively beaten by eventual finalists the Royal Bank of Scotland . In the only other ‘friendly’ match The Club was able to make home advantage count with a comfortable win over Old Fellows, Stirling.
Individual Members’ Successes
As mentioned earlier in this report, Bruce Mouat has had a busy and outstanding season in his final year as a Junior. Whilst unable to match Bruce’s outstanding season, Rowena Kerr has been a regular on the Womens’ Curling Champions Tour, playing in Gine Aitken’s rink.
The Committee met twice during the year and discussed a number of other issues by email. My thanks on behalf of the members go to them all for their time and contributions.
Thanks are due to Eric Begbie who acts as webmaster for the Club’s website and who has been meticulous in recording the outcome of match results.
No further sweater orders were placed during the season which means that less than half of the playing membership is able to wear Club sweaters when representing the Club in matches. It is hoped that more members will take the opportunity to purchase Club sweaters before the start of next season. These are light blue woollen v-neck sweaters bearing the Heriot crest and members can opt to have their name embroidered on the Club sweater.
Finally, my thanks go to those members who have demonstrated their commitment to the Club by turning out whenever they have been free to do so, coupled with a plea to the remainder to try to turn out more regularly next season.
Douglas J Goddard
4 April 2016
George Heriot's FP Curling Club, Edinburgh, Scotland