Dumbarton won only their 2nd District Medal match in 12 years, when they defeated Millport Curling Club on Thursday 10th February at Greeanacres.
The match was originally scheduled to be played during the 2020/21 season, but due to the whole season being lost due to Covid restrictions the draw was carried over to this season, with the 2 clubs finally meeting over 18 months after the original draw was made.
As this was a daytime match, Dumbarton had a bit of difficulty raising a team that were able to play at that time. However a team consisting of Jim MacDonald (Skip), Keith Hart (Third), Bob Cameron (Second) and Douglas Third (Lead) was eventually formed only the day before.
Millport lost the toss, and electing to play with the yellow stones.got off to a solid start with a steal of one in the first end.
After Sandy Cunninghame (Millport's Skip) played an excellent double take-out in the 2nd end to leave Dumbarton facing 5 shots and no clear path to draw the 8 foot to take shot, or at least cut-down the shot count. Jim threw a heavy weight to catch the outside of a yellow stone at the front of the 12-foot, bounce across to catch a second yellow stone about a stones width from the target stone and bounce back into the house, in what can only be described as a hail Mary. The shot worked as planned as Jim salvaged a single to tie the scores, when it looked more likely that Millport would steal a 5. Although the shot was called, it did require a lot of luck, which was fortunately on Dumbarton's side.
This seemed to settle Dumbarton's nerves a bit as they recorded a steal of 2 in the 3rd end, before forcing Millport to take a one in the 4th for a 3-2 lead.
Millport looked to be in control of the 5th end. With 2 yellow stones biting the 4-foot, and plenty of granite at the front of the house preventing a take-out or draw to the button, the situation looked precarious as Millport guarded a red stone sitting just about a 6 inches wide of the left tramline outside the front of the house. The guard looked to have been well placed, but using a running weight, Jim got past the guard with only millimeters to spare to catch a quarter of the red stone promoting it onto the button to score one for a 4-2 lead.
The 6th was very tight with Millport having an early advantage with a stone in the 4-foot counting shot, and protected out front. Keith managed to remove one of the guards, which was immediately replaced by Millport. Keith then removed this stone. Again Millport replaced it, although this time it was sitting a fraction wider than the stone it replaced, it looked well placed until Jim managed to squeeze through the gap and remove the yellow stone to sit shot. Sandy then removed one of the guards, before Jim replaced it leaving no direct path to his shot stone. This left Sandy with a difficult draw to the button round the outside of a couple of guards, and was extremely unlucky to catch a red stone at the front of the house and tap it into scoring position giving Dumbarton a steal of 2 for a 6-2 lead.
Facing a 4-shot deficit going into the 7th end, which ultimately would be the final end, Millport started to crank up the pressure with their lead drawing just to the right of the button. They were soon sitting 3 shots when Bob was asked to freeze on a yellow stone t-high on the 4-foot, which he executed perfectly to sit shot. Millport tried to follow that in, but the stone overcurled slightly to slide past Bob's stone and join the group of 4 yellow stones to it's right. Bob's next stone pulled up short, before Millport attempted the freeze. This stone held it's line, but had a bit more weight and, after hitting the red shot stone, it caused a slight chain reaction that moved the group of 4 yellow stones around to create a small nest. Dumbarton immediately took full advantage as Keith played a perfect draw into the nest, making it extrememly difficult for Millport to score multiple shots.
Millport attempted to draw round a guard to the front of the house. Although the managed to get around the guard, and the line looked to be very good, the stone pulled up about 5 feet short of the button. Knowing that this would be the final end, and being 4 up on the score board, Dumbarton decided not to make a play on the shot stone, but to hold what they had. Keith played an excellent guard to block up the front, and the end petered out as Millport were content to take the one, and Dumbarton were more than happy to concede the single and win a highly entertaining and competitibe match 6-3.
The highlight of the day was undoubtedly being able to enjoy the company of the Millport rink after the game.
Millport Curling Club was founded in 1838, and has been a member of the Royal Caledonian Curling Club since it's inception. Although Millport is an island club, and many of it's members still reside on the isle of Cumbrae, the club meets on Thursday afternoons at Greenacres.
Millport competes in the competitions ran by Argyll Province.