Tuesday, September 20, 2011

And here we go again...

As I sit here in an almost deserted office life is about to change – in just ten days time I shall get my last salary from the Government and, a few years early, I will join the ranks of the unemployed / retired – a great opportunity you might think to go and play curling for seven days a week. Just a little snag – the lack of a regular income until I get my pension in three years time.

But I will be frequenting my usual haunts in the coming months – at least until the compensation runs out – Greenacres and Stranraer are on my schedule for October and November and I am also adding a trip to Braehead for the Mixed Doubles because I am aiming to regain my English MD title in the New Year – have always fancied a trip to Turkey ever since I saw Midnight Express. Well, maybe not…

What it does mean is that I will not be playing any Seniors curling this year but will be spending more time helping to build up our Junior squad and set in place the next generation of Juniors following close behind? Tuesday night and it must be Fenton’s Curling Club will be my motto for the next few months. Not being constrained by the ties of an office desk (and enough from those who cannot believe I ever was!), I will be able to take a leisurely drive to Kent and spend a couple of hours with the youngsters before relaxing on the ice with a game in the Fenton’s Leagues.

Ernest Fenton and his son Forbes have run a Junior academy at the club for the past few seasons and it is hoped that some of the graduates from there will be the succession to the current junior teams who added to their experience with a trip to the Sweetlake Curling Camp in Holland over the summer. You can read an article about the camp in the ECA newsletter here.

This season we have timetabled a Junior Championship at the end of October when it is hoped that teams will come forward to challenge the current champions for a place in the EJCC at Taarnby in January.

One of the girls in the Junior team, Angharad Ward, was chosen recently to attend the trial day for the selection of Team GB for the Winter Youth Olympic Games – full details of WYOG can be found here while the details about the curling competition can be found on the WCF website here. The event is only open to players born in 1994 or 1995.

There were six boys and six girls at the selection day and two of each will be required for the trip to Innsbruck. The selection panel is due to meet in late September and so it will be a nervous time for Angharad as she waits to see if she has cracked the Scottish domination of all things Team GB Curling. Also a nervous time for me as the WYOG overlaps with the ECA Mixed Doubles and Angharad is my partner in that event!

With a trip to Moscow to the Europeans on her schedule as part of Fiona Hawker’s team and an EJCC in Taarnby to play in if they win the ECA Junior Championships it is potentially going to be a very busy year for Angharad – on top of which she has her GCSEs to sit!

I am sure the resilience of the youth will keep her going.

As a warm up for the season there was a bonspiel held at iceSheffield last Saturday. Four sheets were laid out but unfortunately there were only 16 curlers in attendance – and quite a mixture too – two absolute beginners (from Australia – though not just for the day!), three who have been playing regularly at Sheffield on Saturday evenings on their half length sheets, a couple of the ice rink staff, an experienced curler who lives in Sheffield together with eight stalwarts of the ECA who had travelled from as far afield as Whitley Bay and Maidenhead.

The ice was available for five hours and after a session of coaching for the new and inexperienced ones and a general limbering up of the limbs for those who already knew roughly what to do, and after a short lunch break, a mini round robin was played at the end of which the ice rink presented a little trophy and some medals to the first three teams, and a wooden spoon to the 4th! Hopefully I will have some pictures soon and full details of the results to accompany them.

So an early start to the season here in England and it all kicks off at Fenton’s on October 3. Good stones and a successful season to you all.

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