16 teams played in two four-round schenkel leagues, the top four from each league progressing to the knock-out stages on Sunday morning. The leagues produced some exciting play and some tight games. There were a couple of early casualties that might have, if you had asked them in a private moment, expected to progress further in the competition. The most notable early casualties were probably the recently-crowned Scottish senior mixed champion skip, Gary MacFarlane, reigning Scottish senior champions team Brown from Stranraer and the strong-looking American team skipped by former US champion, Russ Armstrong.
Two of the quarter-finals were tight affairs, but eventually Robin Aitken’s team prevailed over the Jim Stirling’s Greenacres rink and former Scottish schools, Scottish Junior under-25s, Scottish and Scottish Senior champion Graeme Adam got the better of former Irish, Irish Senior and World Senior champion JohnJo Kenny. There’s just no shortcuts with these two! In the other two games, Alan Durno scored a four and a two in the first two ends, followed by a five at the fourth; that was enough for local opponent John Dignan and his merry men. Keith Prentice also got off to a big early start against Hamilton’s Alastair Smith and safely manoeuvred his way through to the semi-finals.
Both of the semi-finals were tight, tight games and both went to extra ends. In the Aitken v Adam game, Brian Fleming (throwing last stones for team Aitken) threw a last stone hit that just over-curled leaving Graeme lying shot and not needing his last stone to win the game. Alan Durno, flying off to Norway the next day on Royal Club duty at the European Championships, took Keith Prentice all the way to the extra end before losing out. It was an Adam v Prentice final.
Keith Prentice, Lockhart Steele, Robert Anderson and Tommy Fleming are a formidable outfit at this level as their record in the Scottish Senior Championship demonstrates. To beat them, you have to play well. They started off the game with a one, then a stolen two and they never let Graeme, Drew Howie, Stuart Naismith and Jean Lesperance back into the game. A stolen two in end six effectively sealed the win and though the seventh end was played out, Keith, Lockhart, Robert and Tommy were worthy winners of the Championship.