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Oh Canada! Boreland take back the Whisky
For the second year in a row, the annual friendly against Boreland saw the Fife Club secure the honours. Sweepers started off in good form taking a single against the head in the first end and continued this in the second and were lying a fairly secure 3. Boreland skip; David Linton had a narrow port to get through to lie up against the opposition stone just behind the "pot lid". His first stone was just too heavy running past the shot stone to the back ring. Unfortunately the attempt to plug the gap did not come off leaving David with a second chance which he executed to perfection. Sweepers were unable to capitalise on last stone advantage and shook hands after 6 ends with the score of 2 - 9. Boreland were the victors with a shots total of 16 to Sweepers' 5.

This was Sweepers member Emily's final game of curling before heading home to Canada after a five year stay living and working in Edinburgh. We wish Emily and her husband all the best for their future in the "Dominion".

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Sweepers Brush Aside the Opposition in King George IV Knockout
Semi and Finals of the KG IV competition this year sponsored by Bridge Investments Ltd. took place on Friday 26th February 2016. Once again, Team Douglas + 1 were out on the ice at Murrayfield to take on Merchiston Curling Club. Sweepers took an early lead and despite valiant efforts to regain ground, Merchiston didn't manage to get the hang of the end sheet conditions. To their credit they held Sweepers to one shot "against the head" in all but 2 ends but were unable to get off the ground resulting in an 9 - 0 win for Sweepers.

In the other semi-final between RBS and Dominies, the Bank scored a 6 in the third end to go 7-1 up. It should have been all over but Dominies came back to narrow the score to just a 2 shot lead for RBS in the final end. The Royal Bank team, skipped by Roddy Watson, held off the charge to advance to the final.

Sweepers' lead, Angus Douglas consistently laid down well played stones allowing mum Mae to build the end. The ice was unforgiving with any shot played heavy or light or not on the brush would be punished. RBS played some great shots and in the fourth end a great in-wick off a Sweepers stone to lie on the button well guarded looked to have the end secured. However Stuart made the perfect raise on a guard stone at 11 o'clock to push back and replace the RBS stone.

Commenting on their 7-1 victory, skip Ewan said, "The team played brilliantly having to make some pressure shots. Playing a semi and final back to back is never easy; I made a couple of mistakes that could have given the end away but luckily for us the opposition didn't manage to take advantage".

                                                      King George IV Competition Winners

King George IV Competition Sponsor
 
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Testy Ice to Survey and Sweep in the King George IV Quarter Finals
The Quarter Final in the KG IV too place on Friday 5th February. Team Douglas, comprising Angus, Mae and Stuart along with the "Guest Support Douglas" in the shape of Ewan, took on the Chartered Surveyors in a back and forth match. Sweepers took an unexpected 3 shot lead in the first end but the after re-calibrating their theodolite, Surveyors closed down the gap in the next two ends. Sweepers were one shot behind going into the last but had the advantage of last stone where, in the closing stages had two stones in the 8ft about 12 and 2 o'clock nicely guarded. This left a port into into the four foot but not enough to get a draw in behind cover. The opposing skip played a great stone into the house lying shot leaving a relatively straightforward hit for the win.

However, as any skip will tell you, playing the last stone to win the game is never straightforward. A firm barrier was played and immediately pounced upon by Mae and Angus, fearing it was slightly tight. The stone eased past the outer guards for a nose hit securing an 8-6 win and a semi-final place against Merchiston on Friday 26th February. 

Congratulations to all. 
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Ups and Downs in the Midlothian Province Fixtures
The Club were involved in two of the biggest Province competitions during January. We were again invited to put forward a team to play in the Pate Trophy and also took part in the Bonspiel competition. The annual Pate Trophy match against Border Province was played at Murrayfield with seven rinks representing each province.  The total shots are added together to determine the result with Midlothian securing the win by 55 shots to 43. Sweepers' team of Ewan, Ian, Natalie and Karen Charlwood were drawn against Swinton Curling Club and secured a 9-3 win to add 6 points to the overall total.

The Midlothian Province Bonspiel was contested by 80 rinks representing 37 different clubs.  On this occasion we didn't fair quite as well against Clydesdale Bank who, with a standing order that Sweepers seemed unable to cancel, managed regular deposits totaling 13 shots to our one. Afterwards Emily remarked, "I did get a free glass of juice out of it though!"

After a full day of curling, Carrington was declared the overall Bonspiel winner, having an average winning margin of 14.33 shots.  Barbarians won the Colin Black Trophy for the rink (outside of the overall winners) with the largest winning margin, in this case a 16-1 score. 

Worth noting that 7 members expressed an interest in playing this year, with one more we could enter two teams. Most of the other Clubs enter at least two or even three teams so to have any chance of winning, rather than just making up the numbers the Club should look to entering two teams next year if at all possible.
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Sweepers Bring Home The Silver!
The Annual fixture between Dalry CC and Sweepers took place on Sunday 8th November 2015 at Hamilton Ice Rink. Playing for Sweepers this year were Ian Blair (skip), Angus and Stuart Douglas, Gordon Moodie, Ewan Ramage (skip), Brian Carr, Francis Grant and Don Mockett. Ian's team played against Drew Gemmell and took an early lead of five shots after three ends. Ewan's game against Willie Smith was a lot closer with the each taking a single shot with last stone up to end 5 where Willie took a 3 shot lead. Ian made further gains over the next two ends before losing a four, closing the gap. Meanwhile, Ewan's rink managed to recover to take a 2 and then a single, peeling the game going into the eighth end. With a clear house, Ewan's last drew just too far into the twelve foot leaving Willie a nose hit to bite the outer edge of the house.

It all hinged on the game between Ian and Drew's rinks. Sweepers were three shots to the good putting the pressure on Dalry to level the score to won. They were unable to do bridge the gap with Ian's rink the victors with a 2 shot lead.

And so after many years, the Challenge trophy finally returns east! 

Everyone agreed both games were well played in the true spirit of Curling. A spokesperson for Sweepers Curling Club refused to confirm if the open top bus had been booked.!

 
The Winning Squad
The Dalry and Sweepers Teams
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Indoor Grand Match
Sweepers took part in the quinquennial competition at Hamilton Ice Rink on Saturday 24th October 2015. Hamilton were one of 17 rinks participating in the bonspiel where the "North" takes on the "South". Sweepers Curling Club were drawn against Fochabers Curling Club and in an extremely close, friendly and well played game, Sweepers, playing yellow stones came out the winners 5-4. With the score peels going into the last end, all players seemed to up their game and it came down to a matter of inches around the button to determine the winner.

Grand Match 2015 Final End

A full report on the Grand Match can be found on the Royal Caledonian Curling Club website here.

More photos in the Gallery.

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Points Competition Results
Six players took part in the Points competition held at Murrayfield on Sunday 11th October.  Results were:

Winner:

Ian Blair  32 points

Runner up:

Stuart Douglas  28 points

Third place:

Emily Caulfield 23 points

Fourth equal

Gordon and Angus on 20 points

A very credible last place for Natalie Shearer on 9 points.

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A plea from the "Head"
Speed of play remains a primary aspect of the game. With slightly shorter session times on weekday evenings 1h 45mins, keeping the game flowing paramount if teams want to get 8 ends played. It also makes the game flow better. So this plea goes out to all club players. Here are tips to keeping the game moving:
  • When the bell goes at the start of the session, get the game under way as soon as possible.
  • Be ready to play your shot as soon as the opposition have played their stone - that means being in the hack, clean stone, ready to deliver.
  • After finishing sweeping move to the side of the sheet quickly - don't impede the view of the opposition. Be aware of what's going on around you.
  • When the end is finished, and there are lots of stones in the head don't bother about sorting the stones in numerical order - yes its nice to have but it wastes time. It you are the lead player wearing a slip on slider, leave stone gathering to the others and get yourself ready to play.
  • Skips - be decisive. Call the shots quickly. Too many lengthy discussions with the Vice when not critical to the score uses up valuable playing time. Time you might loose when the bell goes before you can play the all important game winner!  
If these tips are used you will find it is possible to play 8 ends in 1hr 45 without too much difficulty.

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Incident at the Club AGM - 15 May 2015

The Annual General Meeting and Dinner was held again at the Murrayfield Hotel attended by 18 members. The Club President, Don Mockett welcomed all to the meeting leading the formal part of the proceedings with reports from the Secretary, and Treasurer.  Ewan provided a report and update on the website statistics which will be available in the document store soon.

Don MockettFollowing dinner, the trophies and prizes were awarded and a fund raising raffle took place. 

This went well until towards the end of the draw it was noticed that none of the green tickets had been drawn. In fact, none of the green tickets had been put in the bag! Newsdesk sources report that despite being exempt from licencing requirements, the Gambling Commission is launching an investigation into the conduct of the draw and will publish its findings in due course. A Club spokesperson said, "I don't know how that could have happened".

Presentation photos in the Gallery.
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Club Competition Results 2015
The 2014-15 season was a closely fought contest between all the rinks. Well mostly all! Ewan's Rink 1 consisting of Brian, Emily, Bob Alastair and Stuart Ferrier claimed the League and Knockout Competitions. A three way tie for honours in the Progressive required a tally of shots with Rink 1 securing the victory. So, Another "Clean Sweep". Secretary Liz Sim apologised for not being able to fly back to the USA to collect more badges, due to illness but assured the winners they would receive their awards in due course!

The Points Competition was well attended again for the second year since its reintroduction. Mae Douglas and Ian Blair tied for the top spot and with no time left to play the draw to the button, a collective decision was made to award the new points trophy to the outgoing holder.

Points Trophy                          Congratulations to all the winners
          The new Points Competition Trophy
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AGM 2014 - Minutes of Meeting
The minutes of the meeting can be found in the Document Store 
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Club Competition Results 2014
The Judges scores are in! Yes, another season is over folks. Congratulations to Ian Blair's rink 4 for winning the League trophy 2 years in a row. Well done to Mike Spooner's rink 3  for winning the Knockout competition this year, saving Liz a visit to the States to pick up more "Clean Sweep" badges!
There was a tie for the Progressive between Rink 2 (Ewan) and Ian. A count of shots scored revealed Rink 4 to be the winners on 19 shots with Rink 2 on 17. For completeness, Rink 1 came third on 14 and Rink 3 with 12 shots.
 
And finally.... not forgetting the Points competition played earlier this year, won by Mae Douglas!!
 
Congratulations to all the winners
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Boreland CC Match 2014
The annual competition was played out over two games at Kinross and Murrayfield in March. Boreland took a convincing lead after round one, assisted by a six shot penalty that the team of Marjorie, Mike and Ewan tried their best to recover from.  No excuses could be used by John W, Emily, Ian and Ewan to explain the similarly large score line run up by Boreland on the "away leg". But as it is customary... it was the Skip's fault!
 
And so it was that for the first time in many years, Andy Stevenson managed to keep the bottle of whisky in his bag having quipped, "I made sure I bought one I liked!"
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Club members to pitch up at Murrayfield's "Try Curling" Days
Murrayfield Curling were originally hosting three "Try Curling" days.  Having been booked up, and additional 3 sessions covering all 7 sheets were made available and were snapped up within three days! Interest in curling has never been this intense, coming on the back of success in Sochi. "The phone has been ringing off the hook and email has crashed, its unbelievable", said Debbie, Murrayfield's Admin Manager.

Some Sweepers members will be heading along to lend a hand.

#lovecurling
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Ian Turns The Tables At Reverse Curling Night
Another successful reverse curling game took place on Sunday 26 January at Murrayfield. Ian and Ewan once again took up skipping duties with Ian out to avenge last seasons loss. We also welcomed along Emily a prospective member who hails from Canada but has been in Scotland for 3 years. Emily has played extensively back home and unbelievably this was her first game in Scotland! Mike and Kirsty made up the rest of Ian's team while Ewan had Gordon, Peter and Mae on side.
 
It was a close and keenly fought match with some great shots played, which in conventional play would have placed both teams in a strong position. However, a combination of nose hits when angles were required and fresh air shots meant more stones belonging to Ewan's team ended up in the house, tactically placed by Ian and Emily. Ian's team won with 5 shots to Ewan's 6.   
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Sweepers host a "Share the Commonwealth 2014" Challenge
As previously reported, Ewen Logie, a work colleague of Ewan Ramage, set himself an ambitious fitness challenge following the Olympic Games in 2012. Forming part of his "try something new in January" initiative, Ewen (pictured centre) played his "Share the Commonwealth 2014 Challenge" Teamsfirst ever curling game, for Rink 2 against Ian Blair's rink. He quickly proved to be a natural curler and the team quickly built up a 7 point leading 8 - 1 after 3 ends, ably skipped by Mae. Ian's team dug in and their dogged persistence paid off as they crept back winning the next 3 ends to raise the score to a respectable 8 - 7 going into the last end. Ian's team regained the advantage and by skips stones were lying 2 and a win seemed a formality (given the opposition's performance!)
 
However with the last stone, Mae raised the team's only playable stone at the front of the house into second shot position, peeling the game. Although a cruicial league game for both sides it was a fitting result in the circumstances. The blisters on Ewen's hand were testament to his 100% sweeping effort that was evident throughout the game!
 
For the purposes of the evening, Ian's rink were declared the "winner" on ends won and he was presented with Ewen's "Share the Commonwealth 2014" Challenge Cup.
 
The incentive for his self imposed fitness regime was to raise funds for SportAid Scotland (previously known as Scottish Sports Aid), who provide funding to help aspiring young sports people compete at regional and national level, and hopefully becoming the next generation of Scottish and British Commonwealth and Olympic champions. A cheque for £80, raised by Sweepers' members, was handed over to Ewen by Ewan (confused?). Thanks to all the members who generously contributed and a special note of thanks to the Club Committee who agreed to donate a further £25 from Club funds, bring the total to £105. This took Ewen to within £99 of his £2014 target. With around 200 days to go he is sure to reach and exceed that.
 
See the Gallery for more photos of the evening's play.
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Dalry Sweep aside Sweepers.... Again!
Although it was a lot closer this year!    Gordon's team of Mike, Hamish and Francis 
had by far the closer game than 
the 11-10 defeat suffered by Ewan, Mae, John and Liz Watson. With the change of venue last year proving asuccess, both Clubs assembled again on Sunday 3rd November to do battle for the Challenge Trophy. After 3 end, Ewan's rink were an unbelievable 8 shots down, however in the fourth end with Sweepers lying 1, 3,4 and 5, Dalry attempted an amitious shot that would have guaranteed them the end, however it played out in Sweepers favour, as they raised their own stone out leaving Sweepers with 6 and an open draw for 7! Despite the loss Dalry held their nerve all the way to the finish.
 
Gordon's team were only one behind going into the last end and with last stone there were high hopes for 
a victory. Dalry left the best for last and built up a strong head that despite the team's best efforts resulted in a 4-8 loss.
As usual, friendly banter ensued on and off the ice and it was great to see some new faces on the Sweepers Touring Team. Watch out Dalry - we're getting closer!
 
More photos in the Gallery...
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Sweepers Resurect Points Competition 
After many years, the Points Competition was once again played for on Sunday 13th October 2013 at Murrayfield.  Back by
popular demand at the AGM, just eight members turned up to pit their individual skills to the test against the ice. For those unfamiliar with the format, there are 9 set shots played by each player such as striking, drawing, guarding, inwicking. Each player has four attempts at each shot with 2 points awarded if completed succesfully and 1 point if partially completed. The observant will notice only seven amigos in the photo; unfortunately Kirsty had to leave early.

Seven of the nine shots were completed within the session time with only one point seperating Runner-up Stuart finishing on 19 from third place man Gordon. Mae was the eventual winner on 22 points - Congratulations to her!

More photos can be found in the Gallery.

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Supporting a Remarkable Challenge
A work colleague of a Sweepers member, inspired by the 2012 Olympics, has set himself a sporting challenge to raise funds for Scottish Sports Aid. 33 year old Ewen Logie decided to participate in some form of exercise or sporting activity every day from the end of the Olympics to the start of the Commonweath Games. That's approximately 700 days of physical activity, every day!
 
Ewen has accepted an offer to play in a Sweepers club game as part of his training regime.  In return Sweepers Curling Club will sponsor Ewen £1 for every contribution pledged by the Club members.
 
More details of Ewen's challenge can be found on his Just Giving page and at Scottish Sports Aid.www.justgiving.com/ewenlogie 
 
www.scottishsportsaid.org.uk/ 
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Pate Trophy Success
Sweepers play in the annual competition between Midlothian and Border Provinces. A team consisting of Ewan Ramage, Mae, Stuart and Hamish Douglas played in the fixture on Saturday 5th October representing Midlothian in the Pate Trophy competition. Up against a very consistent team from Duns Curling Club they managed to hold them to just one shot in all but one end. Ewan's rink did manage to pull back 3 shots to Duns' tally of 6.
 
Last year saw Borders win the trophy for the first time in 8 years with a +17 shot victory. This year, the Midlothian teams reclaimed the trophy winning 5 of the 7 games. by coincidence the shot difference was also +17 shots - clearly the margin of home advantage
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2013 Season Gets Under Way
New member Louise Galbraith threw the first stone getting the new season underway. More by accident than design it just so happened that she was playing the first game of the season for Rink 2 and lost the toss!
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Sweepers Curling Club AGM
Around twenty members turned out for the Club AGM, annual dinner and presentation of prizes.  In a change of venue from what has become the Club's customary annual home at the fully booked Novotel, Hermiston Gait , Club President Donald Mockett welcomed everyone to the meeting held on Friday 26th April 2013 at the Murrayfield Hotel. He provided a summary of the Club's activities over the year and focused on the Club's participation in the Midlothian Province competitions and the regular inter-club friendlies.
 
The draft minutes are available on the Document Store page.
 
Ian Blair's formidable rink consisting this year of Marjorie Douglas, John Watson, Stuart Ferrier, Kim Dalland and Hamish Douglas won all the Club competitions and following an executive decision, a special "Clean Sweep" pin badge was awarded to each player. This is only the second time in recent years this has happened; the first being Stuart Douglas's rink in season 2010/11.
 
See the Gallery page for presentation photos.
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CLUB COMPETITION RESULTS - Progressive Competition Winner Announced
 
With a three way tie the competition was decided on shots up, and ends won. Making it a Grand Slam "clean sweep" this year - Ian Blair's Rink 3, winning the Progressive, Knock out and League. Congratulations!  
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Boreland CC Match Round 2
 
The return fixture against Boreland CC was played at Murrayfield on Monday 25 March.  After the first game Sweepers were 9 shots to the good so from Boreland's perspective it may have seemed a challenge too far, However, they were not about to let Sweepers have another runaway result.
 
After 4 ends each team scoring one shot with the "hammer", and both skips earning their keep with tricky last stones to save the end, it was going to be a case of who blinked first. Sweepers took a single in the fifth end then in the sixth with Sweepers lying 2 and Boreland needing a draw to within 5ft of the button, they overjudged the weight giving Sweepers a 3 point lead.
 
Boreland took a single in the last end with the final score: 5 - 3.
 
Presenting the bottle of Highland Park to the team consisting of Brian Carr, Marjorie Douglas, Ian Blair and Ewan Ramage (skip),Andy Stevenson from Boreland remarked that this was the 23rd occasion this fixture has been held.
 
A fitting end to another years Curling and our thanks to Boreland for another entertaining game played in the true spirit of curling. The whisky will reappear at the AGM where it will be up for grabs in the raffle! 
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CLUB COMPETITION RESULTS
 
With a three way tie for the progressive trophy a countback will be required to see who emerges as the outright winner. Watch this space.....
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OPEN NIGHT
The Sweepers' open night was attended by a record 22 people, thanks entirely to the efforts of Stuart Ferrier and Alex Morrison. 
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KING GEORGE IV
Sweepers' progress in the knock-out competition came to an end 8-2 on Tuesday 15th February when they came up against Dalkeith CC. Commiserations to the team but well done for getting to the quarter final. On the up side Jim McLennan was in the winning side and will meet Stewart Melville in the semi-final. Good Luck Jim!
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PATE TROPHY
Sweepers were one of the eight teams representing Midlothian for the competition held on Saturday 9th February 2013 at Kelso Ice Rink. Drawn against Kelso CC, the team of Ewan (Skip), Ian, Gordon and Don played a steady consistent game on tricky ice. Their opponents from Kelso Curling Club kept the score tight in the early ends but gave away a couple of big ends towards the end, conceding defeat. The final tally was 4 wins for each side with Borders winning on a shots up score of +17 having had two very large wins. Congrats to them as they brought home the trophy having been in Midlothian's safe keeping for the last 8 years.

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