The picture was taken on Opening Day at the Dunbar Club in Vancouver, a really friendly and welcoming club where despite the rule for whites on Sundays the atmosphere is very relaxed – so much so that the club doesn’t play in any leagues, and has just one friendly each year. (As you will see, in common with most other clubs in Vancouver they use fabric mats to protect the green, whatever the weather.)
Quite how our own members would manage without the extra edge from league and cup fixtures, and with such a high degree of internal competition, is a matter for some conjecture. However, at the start of the week we were maybe not so keen on league activity ourselves, as early results were disappointing. In fact, the Nines came very close to a win in their opening fixture, against Ponteland. The pairs had an excellent win (27-4 shots), while the fours went down by 6-24. However, in the Nines league shots don’t count, so although the triples came within two shots of a win (19-21), thus ensuring a 52-49 lead on overall shots, the fact that we had lost two rinks meant that we took only two points from the night. This was still a very good performance with a couple of regulars missing.
Despite having a second consecutive home game, against Whitley & Monkseaton, the ladies ended up with a rather similar scores profile, losing two rinks to one. The trouble was that in the Collins & Shipley league six of the 12 points are decided by aggregate shots, and whereas our one winning rink led by seven (19-12) one of the others went down by 11-28; although the third rink came very, very close (14-15) even a narrow win wouldn’t have been enough to earn the bonus points.
After those two setbacks it was important not to slip up in the West Tyne league against Allen Valley, especially as league leaders Haltwhistle are making such a strong start to the season. In the event, the match was close enough: none of our three winning rinks was hugely ahead and we lost one rink by three shots, finishing with an aggregate win by 76-56. At the same time Haltwhistle were racking up another 40+ margin, with maximum points, so we need to do all we can to stay within touching distance at the top of the table. After all, we want to be a competitive club…