Blogs and News - St George's School For Girls, Edinburgh

09 Jun 2017
The International Junior Curling Club Bonspiel - Holly

On Friday 31 March till Sunday 2 April 2017 I had the delight of being selected to play and represent Edinburgh in the  ‘A’ league of the International Junior Curling Club Bonspiel. This is a competition that takes place every year and is held in a different location around the world each year. I was put in a team along with three experienced players, so to even get to play with them was an honour. As we were the local team and were hosting the competition we had to make up the numbers for any gaps in the leagues. It turned out that one team was required in the ‘A’ league and another team was required in the ‘B’ league which Becky Culverwell had the delight of being selected for. The competition began as a round robin, giving each team a chance to collect as many points as they could as the totals were based on points, ends and shots. This meant that each stone we could get to count and each end we managed to take or steal was a big step in the right direction. We got off to a rocky start and as we were there to simply make the numbers up no one expected us to do very well; if we managed to win a couple of games then our home club would have been surprised. The opposite was thought of the ‘B’ league team as they were expected to do pretty well because they had been placed in the lower of the two leagues.

In the ‘A’ league, along with the team I was part of there were thirteen other teams and so for us to have a chance of coming within the top six we were going to have to do something pretty special. After a bumpy start in our first game on the Friday night at 19:00 we managed to sneak a win by taking a three in the final end. However, we realised that in future games we may need to reassess our tactics as in the other games we may not be so lucky and that we as a team would have to take a considerable step up if we were going to be able to compete with the other teams in our league. On the Saturday we started early at 9:30 for our second game; as a result of winning our first game we ended up playing another team that had won too. We came and put up a strong fight but because we lost a three in the 4th end we tried to keep winning points but lost overall with a score of 7-4 against us.

This resulted in our first loss of the competition giving us a bit of a wakeup call and showing us that we were going to have to pick ourselves up and dust ourselves off and be ready for our next match. During our break in-between the two games we had that day we got a stadium tour of Murrayfield which was simply fantastic. It showed us all how vital it was to work and gel well as a team to ensure that we performed to our highest level not only for us as an individual but to ensure we tried for the other members of our team. Although rugby and curling are totally different sports we were all able to see the similarities and how the mind-set of each individual needs to be positive and it is vital to enable success as a team. After being allowed to walk out of the tunnel of the stadium with the National anthem of Scotland playing as we went we headed back to the ice rink for our second game of the day. Our second game did go our way in the end but came right down to the final stone. This game ended up with a score of 6-5 in our favour, putting us in a good position in terms of the points, shots and ends that we had to our name. Our final game in the round robin was on Sunday morning at 9:00 and it started off with us blanking the first two ends which seemed to work in our favour as we went on to take a three and for the rest of the game we kept increasing our lead to end the score finally after seven ends at 8-1 to Gogar Park Young Curlers.

As a result of us winning three out of our four games and having accumulated 6 points, 16 ends and 24 shots we had managed to squeeze our way into the one two playoff. That in itself for us was a huge achievement and so we were all thrilled but now that the title was within touching distance we had our hearts set on winning it. The only thing we had to do to claim first place was for us to beat the CRB Boys who we had lost to in our second match. So far they had been unbeaten and so they too were determined as ever to claim the top spot; neither of the two teams were up for giving up now and so we knew it was going to be a hard match to win as they had the advantage of beating us once already. Adam, my skip sat down with our coach before the match to find our key tactic and shots that he had noticed they had struggled to play in our previous encounter. When we walked on the ice I was unwell and was concerned that I may have to leave the ice but was so determined that I didn’t want to give up after getting so far with my team. The opposition had the advantage of having the hammer and so we knew that from our previous encounter they would use this to their advantage and try to take a big end off of us. They managed to take a two off of us which wasn’t the end of the world as we managed to take a two back and then go on to steal a one, the boys fought back with taking a one and proceeding to steal a one from us making the score 3-4 after five ends with us trailing by one point. We knew that if we were to claim the title we had to win on points but score on three more ends than the boys that we were playing because they were ahead of us in terms of ends. In the sixth end we took a one, in the seventh we stole a one and we were all on a big high about how our dream may become a reality, but there was still one end to go and we knew how strong this team was that we were up against. We were lying shot just behind the button and were half guarded just in front of the house and so it came down to the opposition's skip to draw the button for them to win the match. All eyes in the viewing area were on him and he slid out and let go of the stone, all of the noise in the arena stopped apart from that one stone rumbling down the ice towards the house to decide the fate of who would win the title of International Junior Curling Club Champions of 2017. His stone was getting closer and closer to ours and as it came into the house it was slightly too heavy as it clipped the edge of our stone and Adam swept as hard as he could to get that stone back further than ours. He managed to get it back far enough so that ours was lying shot. We had done it, we had become the International Junior Curling Club Champions of 2017. The final score of the match was 6-4 to us and we beat them by the crucial 3 ends that we needed or otherwise we would have been 6th in the A league. Even now reflecting on this moment I am astounded that we managed to win such a prestigious competition, I am delighted that I was given that chance to play for my club and help to represent Scotland within this international competition. I would say to anyone that is given that chance in any sport take it, take that chance and who knows you might even do the unexpected and win! It means that you are able to go back to that moment and reflect upon it and just smile to know that you as a member of the team helped to make that happen. I hope that next year I will be able to travel to Pinerolo, Italy and defend my title with my amazing team by my side.


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