AIRTHREY CASTLE CURLING CLUB
Secretary’s Report to AGM for Year 2014-15
My second year in office was dominated by two unusual events.
Two of our trophies, the Rose Bowl and Royal Cup, were mislaid (lost) for nearly 3 months whilst they were being hand-engraved by Stirling Trophy Centre. I was mortified at having been responsible for losing two of our most valuable trophies at my first involvement! With little interest being shown by the shop, I needed to threaten police action to get them to wake up to the seriousness of the situation. They were eventually found with a consignment sent to an angling club and were returned via the RCCC office where they had remained unclaimed for two weeks. Needless to say, I have used a different engraver this year!
Secondly, I had to deal with the disruption caused by the ice rink being closed for 6 weeks in October/November 2104 due to minor structural repairs to the building. This proved inconvenient for everyone. We were forced to curtail our Autumn League fixtures in order to get a result and managed to reschedule the other cancelled matches into the Spring session, thereby causing greater congestion of matches than we would have liked.
Despite these difficulties, the Club’s curling programme was completed in the usual friendly but competitive spirit. Fewer players were available at times because of extended holidays and for medical reasons and this caused some of our bonspiels to comprise teams of 3 players rather than 4. The incidence of “no-shows” was less than last year but disappointing nonetheless when it did occur.
On the membership front, Mirren Begbie resigned last year and George Baillie hung up his kipper and became an Honorary Non-Playing Member. However, we were pleased to welcome back Richard Phelps after his year away from the Club. We would also note the sad death of George Barclay who passed away in June 2014. Many members attended his funeral.
Recruitment remains the single biggest challenge the Club faces. The TryCurling initiative generated by the Sochi Winter Olympics has not produced any new members and all our efforts to advertise ourselves have not borne fruit. Initiatives included running a stall at the Friends of Bridge of Allan coffee morning last May, taking part in the Virtual Club Bonspiel and placing an entry in the Bridge of Allan StreetLife social network. The problem is an issue for all curling clubs and we must fight hard to attract potential players, and those completing their time with the Virtual Club, if Airthrey Castle is to have a long-term future.
During our Committee meetings through the year, we have discussed ways to improve participation of our members and to secure the future viability of the Club which is threatened by a reducing membership, by low recruitment levels and by an ageing demographic. There are no easy answers but concentrating our curling activities onto specific evenings of the week and the possibility of merging with other clubs seem to be the eventual way forward. We’ll examine the former issue a little later in the agenda.
Away from The Peak ice rink, we held our Annual Golf Outing at Dunblane (New) Golf Club where the winner was Mike Queen. Thanks are due to John Rankin for organising it. We held our Summer Barbecue at the home of Graeme and Clare Giles and once again we must express our sincere thanks to them for being such warm and generous hosts. We arranged a very enjoyable curling weekend at Kinross in March and were able to field two rinks against some rather good opposition. The curling might not have been up to the standard we are capable of, but the social aspects of the weekend were a blast.
We joined in two events as Stirling Central Province celebrated its 150th Anniversary in October 2014. We entered two rinks into the Anniversary Bonspiel and took a table at the Anniversary Dinner held two weeks later.
Finally, we continue to enter various RCCC, Area 6 and Province and SCG competitions, the most notable success of the year being placed second on the Province Points Competition. Our team comprised Ian Riley, John Rankin Eric Begbie and Bill Strang, with Bill Strang scoring fourth highest individual total.
The winners of our various curling competitions in 2014/15 were as follows:-
Autumn League (Hamish Tullis Quaich):
Bill Strang, Ian Riley, Eric Begbie, Mike Queen & Bill Aikman.
Spring League (Finlay Anderson Salver):
Alex Campbell, Gordon Murphy, Eric Begbie, Jack Robertson & Dougie Neilson.
Pairs Trophy: Bill Strang & Eric Begbie.
Points Trophy: Ian Riley.
Opening Bonspiel (Millenium Quaich):
John Rankin, Alex Campbell & Carol Drewery.
Christmas Bonspiel (Wilson Quaich):
Alex Campbell, Mike Queen & John Mills.
Closing Bonspiel (University Cup):
Lars Christiansen, Ron McQuaid, Richard Phelps & Bill Aikman.
Ron McQuaid, Marcus Wood, Lars Christiansen & Alex Campbell.
Eric Begbie, Ron McQuaid & Isabel Foster.
Graham Cup (Perth):
Mike Queen, John Rankin, Lottie McKie & John Mills.
Lee Cup (vs Bridge of Allan): Bridge of Allan
Morton Trophy (vs Borestone & Stirling): Borestone & Stirling
Graham Trophy (vs 3 clubs): Keir
Airthrey Ladle (vs Keir): Keir
Wilkie Salver (vs Torbrex): Airthrey Castle
Friendly (vs Kippen): Airthrey Castle