For many years now, the Edinburgh International Senior Championship has been run in parallel with the main event. The event has been a popular on the seniors circuit and many teams have returned year after year to compete, to renew old rivalries and to socialise.
The competition is open to all over the age of 50 as defined by the RCCC, so can be used by teams preparing for their Scottish Senior Championships. It is open to men, ladies and mixed teams and is run in an interesting format, necessitated it has to be said, by the new demands on ice preparation time of the main competition. The Seniors event is now run on the Wednesday and Thursday before the main competition. This year that's November 25-26, 2009.
Four sections of four teams fight it out in leagues, guaranteeing each team three games of curling. The top team from each of the leagues progresses to a high road semifinal, while the runners-up in each section progress to the low road semis. The semifinals and finals of the High and Low roads are played at the same time as the semifinals and finals of the main competition, enabling the older hands to share in some of the limelight and razzmatazz on finals day.
England’s Michael Sutherland returns to defend his trophy; Hugh Meikle from Wales has entered a strong-looking team of Chris Wells, Mike Yuille and Stewart Cairns. There are a number of strong Scottish teams standing between them and ultimate success. Stalwart and long-standing supporters of the competition like Iain Hamilton, Walter Brown, Ritchie Stewart and Jimmy Green will fancy their chances in their local ice rink. Alan Durno brings Peter Fraser, Willie Young and Mike Watt with him and, if nothing else, they will challenge the bar staff to keep up! Sandy Nelson from Kinross is always someone to look out for. David Clydesdale, also from Kinross and runner-up in last season’s Scottish Senior Championships is bringing a team. Ken Watson and Iain Gillespie make up the 'all-male' teams. Ian has the irrepressible 'Lawyer fae Lenzie', Charles Jackson, playing third stones for him. There will never be a dull moment in any game involving Charles!
Former Scottish Senior Champions Ronnie Peat, Jim Jamieson and Mike Burton, all members of Reform Curling Club, have drafted in Jean Lesperance at third in a strong looking team who could well go all the way.
The ladies are represented by former World Ladies Champion, Kirsty Letton with her usual team of Judy Mackenzie, Pat Orr and Anne MacDougall. Janice Manson, Fiona Turnbull and Jean Robertson will also compete.
Tips for the top? Well, Alan Durno might be just the man to take on all-comers, but there again, I suppose it might depend on how things stack up on the Wednesday night! Sandy Nelson is another who will feature strongly and would be a good tip for the semi finals. Kirsty Letton is a doughty campaigner and Ronnie Peat could also challenge.
Oh, but what about David Clydesdale’s chances? Never write him off!
The draw will appear on the official website www.edinburghinternationalcurling.com in the next fortnight and competition results will be posted on the website at the conclusion of each session.
Compiled by Robin Copland
Top photo: Last year's winners L-R Alan Collett, Frank Forrest, Jim Wood and Michael Sutherland (skip). Photo by Bob Cowan.