The Balyarrow Trophy took place at Greenacres Curling Rink on the 19th October 2014. This was the second time it had played outside of Perth and it saw Bridge of Weir hosting the other four surviving clubs founded in 1846. Namely Strathendrick, St Andrews, Falkland and Haddington.
The History of the Balyarrow
Balyarrow pond sits on the ridge of high ground in North East Fife between Newburgh and the Gauldry on the South bank of the Tay. Nestling at the foot of the ridge lies the village of Luthrie and here, in Mrs Taylor’s Inn on January 1840, the curlers of Balyarrow Myre Curling Club met for the first time to formalise their ancient existance. They resolved to join the Grand Caledonian Curling Club and adopt their rules. The oldest club member is referred to as Dr Greenlaw who had been a member 60 years previously and taught the game playing with stones, which had holes for grip with fingers and thumb. Balyarrow received a RCCC Jubilee Medal in 1883, it’s own Centenary Medal in 1941, and a huge number of District Medals for which it played regularly. The Club ceased to curl during World War II and unfortunately never resumed.
When Strathendrick Club, on applying for a 150th Medal, discovered that four other clubs were doing the same, they organised a fun Bonspiel between the five clubs. So a good chance arose to create a trophy from the old Balyarrow Medals, as both St Andrews and Falkland had been victims of Balyarrow’s skills.
Haddington and Bridge of Weir were happy to co-operate. It was agreed that the Bonspiel should be run on a three year cycle with the winners organising their defence. Dewars Rink in Perth was a very successful venue and has been used four times since.
Haddington won the first challenge in 1996 followed by Falkland in 1999, Bridge of Weir in 2003 and St Andrews in 2006. By rights, the instigators, Strathendrick were due the win at the fifth running, but were just pipped at the post by Haddington’s second win. The 2011 running went down to the final stone of the final game with Bridge of Weir coming from behind against St Andrew’s to take a 2 for a ‘peel’ and the overall victory. Haddington, despite being up in ends and massively up in shots over their four games took second place.
The 2014 event took place at Greenacres, Haddington took a commanding lead being the only club to win both their morning games (by large margins). The afternoon followed the same course with another huge win and one loss but this was enough for Haddington to tie with the holders, Bridge of Weir, but this time Haddington’s superiority in terms of ends and shots was enough to take the victory with Morgan Nicoll taking the ‘best rink award’. Haddington also secured the second best rink in the competition.