|Long wait for National Bonspiel winners|
Alpine Curling Club are the proud holders of the Snuff Box trophy after winning their first National Bonspiel since the club was founded 115 years ago, at nearby St Bathans in 1895. They recorded a perfect 8 wins from their 8 games to finish clear winners.
Second were 9-time winners Blackstone Hill CC, celebrating their 125th year, with 6 wins and 170 points scored. Just behind them were 2001 winners Dunedin Country CC with 6 wins and 168 points.
Teams arrived at the Idaburn Dam on the second and final morning to be greeted by a temperature of -5°C, a skiff of overnight snow on the ice, and – in a welcome change from the previous day – clear skies.
All hands to the brooms soon had the sheets cleared of snow, and the morning round started on good keen ice. It became a little drug (slow) through the middle of the matches but tightened up again towards lunchtime.
A gloriously fine Central Otago afternoon warmed up both the curlers and the ice surface, and the sheets started to become a little wet and very drug through the last round of matches.
Many of the crampits needed to be moved part-way down the sheets so that stones could even reach the far house, and a fair amout of coggle (rocking the stones when thrown) needed to be applied. This meant that far more than normal ended up being flipped over onto their handles, and even some of the most experienced curlers suffered this indignity.
A traditional Beef and Greens dinner for all players was held in the evening, followed by a Curlers' Court in the Oturehua Hall where over 40 curlers (a maximum of two per club) were initiated into the fraternity.
Newcomers enthralled at Bonspiel
Thursday, 7 July 2010 – Oturehua – Good black ice and freezing fog greeted over 260 curlers and a small army of helpers, caterers and on-lookers who descended on Oturehua's Idaburn Dam for the first National Bonspiel in three years yesterday.
The highlight of the New Zealand curling calendar had been announced just over 48 hours earlier as favourable ice and weather conditions came together.
There was a who's who of NZ curling on the ice – from NZCA Life Member and Ice Master Stewart McKnight, who attended his first Bonspiel in 1953, to World Mixed Doubles silver medallist and 2006 Olympian Sean Becker, NZ Men's skip and winner of his 4th consecutive National Men's championship the previous Sunday.
There were newcomers too, including the first ever team from Auckland Curling Club to play at the Bonspiel. Most of the young team from the North Island had never curled outdoors or from the crampit before this week. It was mainly due to good timing, from being in nearby Naseby at the weekend's NZ championships, that they were able to attend.
"This is just a fantastic experience in all ways," said Kieran Ford, one of five teenagers in the Auckland side. "Everyone has been just so helpful and supportive and keen for us to participate – from loaning us outdoor stones, brooms and even clothing, to coaching us in playing from the crampit and teaching us the protocols of playing outdoors. We certainly couldn't have done this without them."
After the first day's play he added, "We'll certainly sleep well tonight. It's really tiring, but we've loved it and we're keen to go back tomorrow."
The second and final day will get under way early today (Thursday), and at the end the winner of the Snuff Box trophy will be determined – the club whose two teams have accumulated the most wins from the 4 games they will each play over the two days. This will be awarded at the traditional Beef and Greens dinner, to be followed by the Curlers' Court.
National Bonspiel called
Sunday, 4 July 2010 – Naseby – The NZ Curling Association's bonspiel committee has called a National Bonspiel for Wednesday and Thursday this week (7th and 8th July), to be held at Oturehua's Idaburn Dam.
This will be the first National Bonspiel since 2007, and only the third in the last 14 years says NZCA Life Member Stewart McKnight.
The announcement was made at the prizegiving of the New Zealand Curling Championships in Naseby on Sunday. All clubs affiliated to the NZ Curling Association may enter 2 teams each, with all teams playing two 21-end games each day.
"There's a good 12 cm of black ice on the Idaburn Dam," added NZCA President Robert Rutherford. "We've got a favourable forecast with clear weather, south to south-easterly winds giving us cold nights and cool days, and a high pressure system sitting over us for the next few days."
The requirement is for 12 cm of black ice or 15 cm of snow ice, so organisers are 95% certain that the current ideal conditions will allow this iconic event in the New Zealand sporting calendar to go ahead. The Dam is only 0.5 - 1.5 metres deep underneath the area used for the Bonspiel, so the safety of participants is assured.
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