Drimsynie closure marks end of an era for Bute curlers

BUTE Curling Club will reach the end of an era as the 2011 curling season draws to a close after learning that the Drimsynie rink in Lochgoilhead is to close for good at the end of this month.

The decision to shut the rink for the last time has been taken on cost grounds, and a decision on the way ahead for the Argyll Province, many of whose competitions took place on the Drimsynie ice, will be taken at the organisation’s AGM later this month.

A letter from the complex’s owners, the Campbell family, informed the area’s curling clubs that the decision had not been an easy one, and had been the result of a combination of factors, including the need to hire in an ice plant for the whole of this season and the continuing decline in the number of curlers from across the area.

The news cast something of a gloomy pall over the Bute, Lochgoilhead, Dunoon and Tighnabruaich rinks who travelled to Drimsynie on March 9 for the last Province game of the season, the Last Bite trophy.

Bute, comprising Ron Forrester (skip), Douglas Macdonald, Margaret MacLeod and Colin Sharp, were up against a Tighnabruaich rink skipped by Donnie Cruickshank in their first game, and began well, winning the first two ends and taking three more ends as the game progressed.

Tighnabruaich, however, had scored four shots at the third end, leaving the game finely balanced going into the final end – and unfortunately it was the mainland team who won that last end by a single shot to win the game by six shots to five.

Bute got off to a slow start in their second game against Dunoon Ladies, skipped by Morag Smith, who began the game with gusto, winning the first three ends and keen to make up for losing their opening match against Lochgoilhead.

The next four ends were shared, but a final flourish at the last end was not enough to save Bute from an 8-5 defeat.

Ten Bute players returned to Drimsynie on Sunday to compete for the Cowan Pairs, with Colin Sharp teaming up with June McKenzie, Donnie MacLeod joining Hugh Yeamans, Beck Reid lining up alongside Douglas Macdonald, Donald Kinnear joining Margaret MacLeod and Alex Robertson entering the fray with Ron Forrester.

The format for the day was a round robin, with each player throwing three stones in each game of four ends.

In the first two games Alex and Donnie made a strong start, while Donnie continued his good form in the second round, where Donald was the other winner.

Alex played well against Donnie in the third round, while Beck had a good win against Colin, and the fourth round saw Donnie win a very tight game against Donald, while Alex enjoyed a more decisive win over Beck.

The last round saw Beck defeat Donald, while Alex and Colin proved well matched, with Alex able to take only one point from his final game – but with three wins and a draw, and a very impressive final tally of plus 16 shots, Alex was delighted to lift his first trophy for three years.

Finally this week, Beck Reid took Jan Eccles, Donnie MacLeod and June McKenzie to Ayr for an additional game against a St Leonard’s rink skipped by M. Beattie, and in a good game for Bute, Beck and her rink played well to win by nine shots to five.