I have been impressed by the work that the committee of the Goldline Scottish Curling Tour has done these past couple of seasons. They have gathered together a series of competitions, worked out a set of rules and let the individual competition organisers get on with running their own competitions, organising sponsorship, getting teams to compete and all of the other palaver that comes with the territory. Basically, the organisers get to run their competitions in peace and all that the tour want is a list of winners, runners-up, losing semifinalists and losing quarterfinalists. The tour does the rest. Winners get 10 points; runners-up get 7; losing semifinalists take five and losing quarterfinalists are awarded 3 points. A league table is drawn up and it’s on to the next competition.
As a meerkat once opined, in a moment of insurable weakness – "simples".
These guys got things sorted out. The first thing they did was to sit round the table and ask themselves, "What does Scottish curling really need?" They looked at their answer and worked out a mission statement that clearly and transparently told everyone what they were getting into, they wrote it down and published it online for all the world to see. The meerkat is shaking with glee; if he’s not careful, he is going to fall over and – if you’re a meerkat (which thank the Lord, I’m not, sir) – that can have serious consequences, to wit a painful death.
Without their permission (but I don’t think they will mind), I publish the mission statement below.
• Provide structure to the existing circuit of competitive events
• Grow number and quality of competitive curling events around Scotland
• Provide high-quality competitions in Scotland for international teams looking to improve their game outside of the European tour
• Establish a 2nd tier competitive path for graduating juniors wishing to stay in the competitive game
• Improve participation by encouraging strong local teams to travel to different rinks.
Everything about the above is just 'right'. The quality of teams taking part in the various competitions has been excellent – there is nothing 2nd tier about the likes of Tom Brewster, David Edwards, Ewan MacDonald, Logan Gray and Warwick Smith. There have even been the odd foreign teams attracted over to compete in the old country.
The final round takes place at the Petrofac Aberdeen Open, February 1-3. Any one of four teams can lift the prize that Kyle Smith won last year on his way to the Scottish Junior Championship. David Edwards currently leads the pack on 23 points; Frazer Hare, winner of two of the earlier events is on 21; the consistent Murray Young is on 20 points and Hannah Fleming, who won the Braehead Open, is on 18 points.
The next time you see Neil Joss, Iain Stobo, Gavin Fleming, Colin Hamilton, David Edwards, Paul Stevenson, Graham Shedden, Jude McFarlane or Kay Adams in an ice rink – do me a favour and buy them pint, will you? They’re the committee and we should all doff our caps in their general direction.
Good work, chaps.
And a Good New Year to one and all while I’m at it.