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A sweeping return

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By Donald Turvill and Euan Maxwell
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A sweeping return
BATTLE . . . DNG reporters Donald Turvill, left, and Euan Maxwell, right, went head to head for an eight-stone curling match

CURLING is finally back in business – and to mark the return of the season, DNG Media reporters Euan Maxwell and Donald Turvill headed along to the recently-reopened Dumfries Ice Bowl to have a slide and a sweep.

The two novices met with the Ice Bowl’s curling manager, Graham Sloan, who’s preparing for a busy few months as curlers make their way back onto the rink following 18 months of restrictions which have prevented them from practicing and competing.

And despite membership being “20 to 30 per cent down” compared to pre-pandemic times, Graham is hoping that the lifting of coronavirus curbs and next year’s Winter Olympics will encourage more people living in the region to give the sport a try.

SWEEP CAROLINE . . . Graham takes Euan and Donald through the basics of sweeping

Before our eager reporters went head-to-head earlier this week, Graham – who describes curling as “like chess on ice” – showed our reporters through the basics; assuming the correct position, pushing off, mastering the slide and giving the stone a gentle spin to guide direction.

After some practice, the pair took their places on the sheet and the game commenced. Both were just about making it over the centre line in their opening shots before the confident Turvill sailed his fourth stone into the centre of the circle, securing what he thought would be a certain victory over the more experienced Maxwell.

But the celebrations came too soon for the newcomer, and on his next shot, Turvill’s stone collided with his opponent’s, knocking it into winning position. After some final stone mindgames the match was Maxwell’s – but only by a hair’s breadth.

The competitive colleagues shook hands and sat down with Graham to look ahead to the new season and reflect on a challenging year-and-a-half for the curling community.

CURLING CHIEF . . . Dumfries Ice Bowl’s Graham Sloan

He said: “We’re delighted to get back up and running. It has been such a tough time for everybody involved. Members haven’t been able to play for such a long time, bar a couple of weeks in December. It’s going to be great to see our rink get used again.

“We have 24 clubs play here and it’s not just about the curling, it’s the social aspect that people will have missed for so long.”

Anyone who wants to give curling a try is invited to Dumfries Ice Bowl this Saturday (September 11) from 10 am to 3 pm. Graham will be leading free taster sessions for those interested in finding out more about the sport and getting a feel for the ice.

*To book a place, email: [email protected]

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