Friday, October 19, 2018

The Curling Image Project (Week 7)

CIP-43. In the early 1980s, White Horse Distillers was just one of many companies which sought to promote their brand by sponsoring curling competitions. Here is a photo of the winners of the White Horse Scotch Whisky bonspiel at Ayr Ice Rink in October, 1982. L-R: Annie Kennedy, Willie Anderson, Stan Crawford (representing the sponsor), Sadie Anderson, Matt Brown (President, Ayr Curling Club) and Jack Kennedy. As White Horse sponsored bonspiels at Lockerbie, Gogar Park, Kirkcaldy and Stranraer, as well as Ayr, in the 1982-83 season, the horse in the picture would have been well travelled! Read about the company here. (8x6in print, by Ron Vavasour, Photographer, Ayr)

CIP-44. The 'Scottish Pride Coit' was a junior competition at the Greenacres rink in the 1980s. David Aitken (front) and Douglas Dryburgh are in this pic which was published in the November 1985 issue of Curling. (8.5x6.5in print, by John Elder.)

CIP-45. I consider this to be the most beautiful curling trophy of them all! It was presented for play in 1958 by R B Dick for the 'Ladies Worlds' at the Scottish Ice Rink, Crossmyloof, Glasgow. This is the winning team in 1972. I find it interesting that the photo is captioned as follows, L-R: Mrs M Dickson (3rd), Mrs B Lindsay (skip), Mrs H Hamilton and Mrs M Bankier. There is no mention of first names with the photo or in the accompanying article in the April 1972 Scottish Curler magazine! I know that it was Margaret Dickson and Beth Lindsay, but can anyone supply first names for Mrs Hamilton and Mrs Bankier? (ADDED LATER: Thanks to Ali Taylor we now know that it was Helen Hamilton, and Margaret Bankier, both of whom were members of Lesmahagow Ladies CC.)

Two other things to note about this competition in 1972. The final rounds were played through power cuts (during the miners' strike of 1972), with the Crossmyloof rink improvising lighting with its own generator. And the losing finalists were a team from the Glasgow Young Curlers Club skipped by Maureen Horton. This competition pre-dated by twenty years the first 'official' women's world championship in 1979. (10x8in print, by Elmer Fromberg, Cameracraft, Clarkston Road, Glasgow.)

CIP-46. The caption written on the back of this photo says, "Robert Mirtle, Jim Asher and Eric Brown puzzling last shot of the tournament." So, which competition is it, where, and when? (6x8in print, by Blair Urquart.)

ADDED LATER: Thanks to Ali Asher and Harold Forrester for the information that the pic dates to 1976, and was from the first 'Inverness Invitation' competition, sponsored by Grouse Whisky. There is a short report in the January 1977 Scottish Curler magazine. Twenty invited teams from all over Scotland took part, but the final was between two 'Highland' rinks. Eric Brown, with Robert Mirtle, Jim Asher and Graeme Kerr, beat Billy MacLeod's Aviemore side. The magazine has a 'presention pic' of the winners. Back then 'action pics' of curling in Scotland in print were really quite rare.
CIP-47. I have absolutely no idea what's going on in this pic. Suggestions please! (7x5in print, photographer unknown.)

CIP-48. This is a scene from the final of the Clydesdale Bank Scottish Ladies' Championship at Perth in 1989. Christine Allison, on the right, has been directing her front end of Kimmie Brown and Carol Dawson (on 3rd player Margaret Scott's stone). Opposition skip Lorna Bain looks ready to sweep. Was it an attempted freeze that has curled too much? The Allison team won the championship that year. Lorna, with Julie Hepburn, Vicky Ross and Liz Moffat were runners-up. (7x5in colour print, by Louis Flood, Perth.)
CIP-49. The presentation after the East of Scotland Men's Open Championship at Gogar Park in the 1984-85 season. This pic appeared in the January 1985 issue of the Scottish Curler magazine. L-R: Eddie Cobb (President, Gogar Park Club), Bill Shrive (representing the sponsor Queen Anne whisky), Willie Jamieson (skip), Martin Smyth (Queen Anne Sales Manager), Lindsay Scotland (3rd), Brian Clark (2nd), and Mike Wood (lead). (8.5x6.5in print, photographer unknown.)

(Note to self - must keep a note of all the different 'alcohol sponsors' that come up in these twentieth century pix!)

Photos are as credited where the photographer is known. Check the archive (on the right) for previous Curling Image Project posts. Thanks to Alison Taylor for supplying missing names for the Ladies Worlds pic.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

The 'fung in the mouth' and other stories

Curling is generally associated with good behaviour, on and off the ice. There are few incidences recorded when this was not the case. John Orr, playing for Lochwinnoch in the year 1798, is an early example of a bad loser!

In that year, two rinks travelled from Dalry to play against two from Lochwinnoch. The winner would be the first side to reach 51 shots scored. It was the tightest of matches, the score across the two rinks was 50-50. Dalry was the first to make the extra shot needed for the win.

Such matches attracted a considerable number of spectators. One of these, described in John Cairnie's 1833 book 'Essay in Curling, and Artificial Pond Making' as 'a son of old Gomery Skeoch', had travelled from nearby Kilbirnie to watch the match. When the Dalry curlers were declared the victors by the one shot, 'he took off his bonnet and huzzaed in favour of Dalry'.

At that, John Orr came up to him and gave him a 'fung in the mouth', which knocked him down. The Dictionary of the Scots Language describes a 'fung' as 'a blow from the hand or the foot' (see here), as we can tell from the context!

Cairnie describes what happened next. Skeoch got up much surprised, saying, "What's that for?" Orr said, "Just hurra again, an' if tu dis, I'll let thee ken what it's for, if I sud hunt thee to Kilbirnie!"

I wonder if there are any present day examples of curlers at major championships becoming violent with the fans in the stands?

Writing in 1911 about the history of the Morton Curling Club, Dr RB Thomson of Thornhill records that the parish bonspiels between Morton and Sanquhar were 'in the olden days' noted for the extreme rivalry between the parishes. Thomson writes, "It is recorded on one occasion, when Morton was successful at Sanquhar, the carriage windows of the Thornhill conveyances were smashed in, and the curlers just managed to get out of the town without serious injury."

Who would have believed it!

The Sanquhar home support made its presence felt during games. Thomson writes, "The old wives who used to attend the matches threw snowballs in front of the Morton stones." Not surprisingly, one of the Morton players was somewhat annoyed with this, and approached the women. But perhaps he did not chose his words very carefully when he said to them that 'they might be better employed at home darning socks'. Apparently this Morton player 'received a rather rough handling'!

Reading through old curling club minute books it seems that occasionally an individual club member could cause trouble. The records of the Coupar Angus and Kettins Curling Club (or the 'Society of Curlers in the United Parishes of Coupar and Kettins' when it was formed in 1749) had problems with one of their members, as described in a minute dated December 30, 1783. It was one of the rules of the club that swearing was not countenanced on the ice. Some of the members reported that John Crockatt, a new member of the club, had been guilty of swearing several times. He had also apparently 'lost one sixpence at play' (whatever this means, presumably a wager). He was asked several times to appear before the Society to pay the fine for his misdemeanours, and when he failed to do so, four members of the club were sent to his house. He pointed a gun at them and threatened to shoot the first person that attempted to lay hands on him. He then struck one of the party, Charles Ducatt, on the chest!

It is not surprising to read that Crockatt was dismissed from the club and the other members were debarred from curling on the ice with him 'until he shall in a full meeting hereafter acknowledge his faults and make such compensation to the Society as they shall think the nature of the crimes above requires'.

Two years later Crockatt must have provided satisfaction, as he was readmitted to the Society. However, he was immediately fined two shillings for not having his curling stones ready on the ice, as required to do so by one of the other Society regulations.

No-one ever swears on the ice these days, do they!

John Crockatt's story is told in an article in the September 1963 Scottish Curler, and the details confirmed in a copy of the Coupar Angus and Kettins CC minute book, in David Smith's research collection of papers now in the care of the Scottish Curling Trust. The RB Thomson's 'History of the Morton Curling Club' appeared in the Dumfries and Galloway Standard in 1911. 

Friday, October 12, 2018

The Curling Image Project (Week 6)

CIP-36. Outdoor curling on Lindores Loch. Don't know the date, but likely 1960s. (5x3in print, photographer unknown)

CIP-37. Here's a photo which reminds me of one of the most interesting and unusual curling events I've ever attended. It's of round robin play in the World Junior Championships in 1994 in Sofia, Bulgaria. The Scottish men's squad was Craig Wilson, Neil Murdoch, Ricky Burnett, Craig Strawhorn, and Euan Byers. The women were Gillian Howard, Kirsty Hynd, Alison Kinghorn, Sandra Hynd, and Fiona Brown. That's Craig and Ricky in the foreground. Gillian can be seen on the sheet behind. (6x4in colour print, Bob Cowan)

CIP-38. Robin Brechin watches nervously as Glasgow's Lord Provost, Robert Gray, prepares to throw the ceremonial 'opening stone' at the Summit Centre, Glasgow, on February 13, 1986. (8x6in print, by Dick Brothers of Clarkston)

CIP-39. The Attinger team from Switzerland, in action in 1984. But where? Kurt, Werner, Bernhard and Peter Attinger were Swiss Champions in 1984 and were runners-up to Eigil Ramsfjell's Norwegian team at the Silver Broom in Duluth. (6x4in print, by Erwin Sautter)

CIP-40. I think this is a wonderful photo. It shows the Ernie Richardson team in action, but where? Great to have all four of the Richardson team in the one shot. I suspected this must be a Brier Championship and think it is 1962 at Kitchener-Waterloo. Wes Richardson is on the far left, encouraging Arnie Richardson who is sweeping the stone in the house. Ernie (third left) has turned away to walk back to the other end. Sam Richardson is on the right. But who are the other two players in the picture, with the big 'As' on their jumpers? I am convinced they are two members of Hec Gervais' Alberta team - Ron Anton in the centre, and 2nd player, Ray Werner, second left. Can anyone confirm all this? Wally Ursuliak was the Alberta lead. The film of the 1962 Brier can be watched here. (8x6in print, Michael Burns Photography)

CIP-41. The crowning of the 'Queen of Curlers' (Miss Estelle Cote) at Quebec City in 1955. The occasion was the Quebec Winter Carnival, which had an international bonspiel at its centre. Here's part of an article in the February 1955 Scottish Curler. "The crowning of the Queen of Curlers took place at the Quebec Winter Club. Led by a Scottish piper, Mr J Innes, the procession entered in this order: two pages, the ladies in waiting, the Queen, Mr Weyman, Mr G MacWilliam (the Chamberlain) and Mr C Scribner (the Prime Minister). The escorts consisted of the presidents of five curling clubs. A TV camera, ten photographers and several hundred spectators watched page MacWilliam present the crown to Mr Weyman, know as Canada's Mr Curler, who crowned the Queen and gave her a sceptre in the shape of a curling broom. Page Chaput presented the Queen with a bouquet, then Mr A F Sissons, President of the Quebec International Bonspiel, pinned the international jewel on the Queen's dress. He also presented her with a pearl necklace and ear-rings - a gift from the curling fraternity." Estelle Cote was a curler, a member of the Ladies Section of the Club de Curling Jacques-Cartier of Quebec City. (8x10in print, photography by Canadian Pacific Railway)

CIP-42. I have lots of photos of this team, one of the most successful rinks of women curlers in Scotland. (Or THE most successful over the years!) Here is Judy Mackenzie, Anne McDougall, Kirsty Letton (skip) and Pat Orr, with Gayle Lyburn after winning the Low Road of the Lyburn Trophy competition at Stranraer. But what year? (10x8in print, by F H McCarlie, Stranraer)

Image credits are as indicated, where the photographer is known. Check the archive (on the right) for previous Curling Image Project posts.

Friday, October 05, 2018

The Curling Image Project (Week 5)

CIP-29. Graeme Adam is in the hack with Bob Cowan and Robin Copland ready to sweep. Brian Alderman would have been holding the broom at the far end. No, don't ask about the trousers. Just be grateful the pic is in black and white. That's Liz Smith behind, on the right. Probably 1978. (7x5in black and white print, photographer unknown, but likely to have been Sandy Smith.)

CIP-30. In 1983, the community of Creelman, Saskatchewan, was the host of Scottish visitors and the team for the Air Canada Silver Broom in Regina. A lot of friendships were made over the week. This is the Creelman float for a parade, in association with the curling event. All ten competing countries were 'adopted' by local communities. (6x4in colour print, photographer unknown.)

CIP-31. Scottish Junior Champions in 2001. L-R: Graham Sloan (lead), Kenny Edwards (2nd), Callum Allison (3rd), David Edwards (skip), Kelly Wood (skip), Lorna Vevers (3rd), Jacqui Reid (2nd), Lyndsay Wood (lead). (7x5 in colour print, photographer unknown, probably Louis Flood, Perth)

CIP-32. This is a photo of the first Japanese team to compete in a World Curling Championship - at Vasteras in Sweden, in 1990. According to the WCF historical results (here) the team members were Midori Kudoh, Kaori Tatezaki, Etsuko Ito, Mayumi Abe, and Mayumi Seguchi. Can anyone confirm who is on the ice? (6x4in colour print, by Erwin Sautter).

CIP-33. The caption on the back of this photo just says 'Edinburgh University v Glasgow University'. I believe it was taken at the Aviemore Rink, but when? And who can you identify? Hint - David Smith (without his beard) and Hazel Smith are in the pic. (8.5x6.5in print, Strathspey Photography.)

CIP-34. Here is a pic of the winners of the World Junior Championships at Portage La Prairie in 1990. (Switzerland) L-R: Roland Müggler, Markus Widmer, Andreas Östreich, Stefan Traub (skip); (Scotland) L-R: Kirsty Addison (skip), Karen Addison, Joanna Pegg, and Laura Scott. Kirsty's team were the first winners from Scotland of the women's event, in the third time that there had been a world junior women's title on offer. But this was the last year that the World Juniors were sponsored by Uniroyal and Goodrich. (8x5in print, photographer not stated, but probably Michael Burns.)

CIP-35. We haven't had an eight-ender photo yet, so here's one which was scored at the Moray Leisure Centre Ice Rink, Elgin, in the 1998-99 season. It was the first ever eight-ender to be recorded at the Elgin Rink, which had opened in 1993. (L-R) Morag Cumming, Marlyn McKenzie, Douglas Howie (skip) and Helen Downie. It was scored in the last end of the Elgin Curling Club League. Down 4-12, Howie made a double takeout with his last stone, and lay for the eight, to tie the game! The story is recorded in the February 1999 Scottish Curler magazine. (10x7in print, Hester Photography, Forres.)

Photos are as credited where the photographer is known. Check the archive (on the right) for previous Curling Image Project posts.

Wednesday, October 03, 2018

Curling in Africa

Did you notice that the World Curling Federation, at its recent Annual General Assembly, voted to accept Nigeria as a provisional member? The country was described as 'the first African Member Association'. Nigeria became the sixty-first member of the World Curling family.

However, I think it is necessary to point out that, when the International Curling Federation (as the World Curling Federation used to be called) was just a youngster in the 1970s, curling was already firmly established in Africa, at Abidjan in the Ivory Coast.

First, the geography lesson. Cote d'Ivoire (the 'Ivory Coast' in English) is in green on this map of Africa. Abidjan is on the coast of the country. Cote d'Ivoire obtained independence from France in 1960, and for a good number of years thereafter enjoyed economic and political stability. You can read all about the country here.

The Hotel Ivoire was built in 1963. According to this article, it was the first President of Cote d'Ivoire, Felix Houphouet-Boigny, who had the idea for an ice rink, for skating, in 1970.

Curling was played at the hotel ice rink from its early days. In 1973 the Abidjan curling club was accepted into the Royal Caledonian Curling Club.

Abidjan curlers travelled abroad to compete. Here is a photo showing the rink which played in a bonspiel in Paris in May, 1973. (L-R) A Emery, Samuel Kouame, M Duchastel (Canadian Ambassador), Dominique Mascolo, Guy Chiasson (Air Canada), Sodogodo Tidiani, and JP Voutat.

The 'First Bonspiel in Africa' was held in the rink in Abidjan in the 1972-73 season. The January 1973 issue of the Scottish Curler magazine has the following report, "An International Curling Tournament was held for the first time on the new indoor rink of the 'Ivoire Inter-Continental Hotel', Abidjan, on the Ivory Coast. Two teams from St Moritz, one from Paris, and two from Abidjan (which included several Canadians) took part in this first tournament on African soil. There were a great number of spectators, who, as a result of good publicity, were astonishingly well versed.

The interest shown in curling is so considerable that through the success of this tournament, the foundation stone for curling has been laid in Abidjan. The chief initiators were Edwin Kilcher, a member of the Curling Club Engiadina, St Moritz, an exporter who has owned a plantation on the Ivory Coast for more than thirty-five years; D Pasquier, Director of Swissair, Abidjan; Mr and Mrs Moshe Meier, and Mr Carpentier, the General Manager of the Hotel Ivoire.

This very attractive sports event was perfected by the official appearance of members of the Ministry of Culture, the Minister for Tourism, and by representatives from television and radio. The following were present at the prizegiving: the Minister for Tourism and his wife, the Swiss Ambassador
and the big new Curling Family of Abidjan."

The event was won by this St Moritz team (L-R) Roby Kohler, Rita Kilcher, Bobby zen Ruffinen (skip), and Erwin Degiacomi.

Although the first international tournament only involved five teams (mostly ex-pats and visitors), the second bonspiel in November 1973 was well supported with sixteen teams involved. Edinburgh travel agent Robert Sibbald had tried to get a Scottish team to travel to Africa, but without success. We can learn a lot about the event from an article written by Robert O Young, and American curler living in Monrovia, Liberia, at the time, as he sent the following to Robin Welsh, the Editor of the Scottish Curler. "I have never seen anything carried off so well and smoothly. There are only 26 members of the Abidjan Curling Club and they have been organised less than two years. It seems that when their large Ice Rink was installed, curling stones and brooms were also supplied. A banana planter, Ed Kilcher, a Swiss, got people interested and now they curl every Thursday evening and Saturday morning.

They have some excellent teams and have sent curlers to Canada and Europe. They will be at the big men's week-long tournament at Quebec next winter and will have some members at the 'Silver Broom' in Berne in March. Who ever goes to Quebec should look up the Abidjan team, especially Dominique Moscolo, a Canadian located here, who was Chairman of the Tournament.

Last year, they had their first bonspiel and had five entries, from Switzerland and Abidjan. This year there were 16 - ten rinks from Switzerland, one from France, four from Abidjan, and one from the USA (us). A Swiss jeweller gave the Piaget Trophy, the second prize was a large ivory tusk, and carved art was given to other prize winners. Over 60 people came from Switzerland on an 8-day excursion.

Abidjan is a beautiful city with a wonderful hotel with swimming pools. It was interesting to see curlers leaving the ice, eating bananas, and diving into a pool or lagoon.

We made many friends. I am full of enthusiasm but it is warranted. The Club is off to a good start. It seems strange to think that you are facing cold weather while we are having to stand a very hot sun!"

The winners were a team from Thun, Switzerland: Frannz Marti (skip), with Waldemar Kilcheer, Fritz Buttner and Hansrudolph Immer. Abidjan CC teams took second and fourth places in the competition.

By 1974 Curling Club Abidjan had 40 members according to the entry in the 1974-75 Annual. Unfortunately, the members are not named in this Annual, nor in any thereafter. It would be interesting to know how many of the members were ex-pats, and how many were Ivorians. The last entry for the Abidjan CC was in the 1984-85 Annual. Roger Pasquier was the club's secretary for the twelve years that the club was affiliated to the RCCC.

As well as travelling to the competitions mentioned in Robert Young's article (above), teams from Abidjan competed in the Johnnie Walker Highland Week of International Curling, at Aviemore, in 1974 and again in 1976. The Scotsman reported that, "Skip Jean Gobeil agreed that the steamy heat of equatorial Africa was a far cry from the snow and wind of the Highlands."

I have looked everywhere for a photo of curling at the Abidjan rink. The only one I've found so far is this from c1982. You can find the story behind it in this article.

The only Scot that I know of who curled in Abidjan was Bob Martin, from Edinburgh. There may be others! Hopefully this blog post will reach Bob and he might be able to tell us more of the Abidjan story.

ADDED LATER. John Brown has sent this image of an Abidjan CC pin badge! Thanks John.

So does that cover curling in Africa? It does not. The Annual for 1982-83 has a record of a curling club in Johannesburg, South Africa, above, and this club was included in the RCCC Annual every year thereafter, until the 1995-96 issue. So, there's more African research to be done!

And in case anyone thinks I've forgotten, there is of course the 'Sub-Zero Sweepers', a spoof African curling team sponsored by Nando's. Possibly the most unusual ad campaign ever! YouTube still has this introduction, and also the clip of the cheerleaders, here. Unforgettable.

The pic of the Abidjan team in Paris was taken by Roger de Backer and appeared in the September 1973 Scottish Curler. The photo of the winners of the first African Bonspiel is from the January 1973 Scottish Curler. The photo of a player on the Abidjan rink is from here.