National Masters Championship Finals 2017 – Thursday 2 and Sunday 5 February 2017
Keith Prentice remarked at the prize giving that 10 years ago in his first visit to the Seniors Championships he had stood in the same spot as he was now standing and been able to enjoy his first of several victories. Now, 10 years on…. and history repeated itself as Prentice and his team of Lockhart Steele, Jim Cullen and George Delgaty grabbed the National Masters Championship title for the first time and for him the first opportunity since he became age eligible to play.
The Women’s event was captured by Elaine Semple and her local Greenacres team Maggie Rutherford, Alison MacLennan and Sheila Cowan who were pushed all the way in the final by the holders from 2016, the team skipped by Margaret Scott from Kirkcaldy. The Greenacres team got off to a flying start in the final taking a single point in the first end before stealing a pair in the second and another one in the third to lead 4-0 at this early stage. It looked like there might be a run-away win for the locals but the experienced and battle-hardened Scott was having none of it! The Kirkcaldy team engineered a two in the fourth end before giving away single points in the next two ends to trail 6-2 with two ends remaining. The team from the east grabbed their second two-pointer in the seventh end to trail 4-6 with one end remaining. In the final end the Scott team established cover in front of the house which Semple and her players simply could not break down and after some accurate play from the Kirkcaldy team they lay tied game with last stone from Elaine Semple to come. It looked like an extra end as Semple faced tough controlled weight take-out through a narrow port to remove one of the opposition counters. She played the shot to perfection removing one shot of her opponents, leaving another, but importantly winning the game 6-5 to great applause from the appreciative crowd in the Greenacres lounge.
Earlier in the semi-final Semple had defeated Ayr’s Aileen McCorkell from 7-1 and Margaret Scott got through to the final with a big 4 count in the extra end after tying 6-6 in regulation play against Border Ice Rink’s Margaret Robertson.
In the men’s semi-finals Ayr’s Gavin Hamilton foursome nudged past Robin Aitken and his Murrayfield team 6-5, Aitken hoping he might face his former team-mate at seniors level, Keith Prentice in the final. It was not to be. Prentice meantime was taking care of Aberdeen’s best, Billy Henderson, Barton Henderson, Ronald Whyte, and Will Davidson-Gall. Two three-enders in the third and fifth ends sealed the fate of the Henderson squad. They went down 8-4 eventually.
The men’s final saw Prentice take on Gavin Hamilton with Euan Lawrence, Robert Wilson and George McNaughton. After five ends of fine play by both teams the score was tied at 2-2, before Prentice got ahead with a deuce in the sixth and a well-crafted steal of a point in the seventh end to finally get away from the Hamilton team and leading 5-2 going into the final end. The Ayr squad tried to get the three-pointer in the last end but instead lost three points to lose 8-2. The score-line may suggest a one-sided game but it was not till the last that the Prentice team sealed their win….. they knew they had been in a game.
This was the 17th edition of the National Masters at Greenacres and seemed to be it’s usual success both on and off the ice with many good close games and camaraderie in the bar and viewing lounge throughout the four days.