INTRODUCTION: Curling, one of the world's oldest winter sports......and with the Silver Broom World Curling?
INTRODUCTION: Curling, one of the world's oldest winter sports......and with the Silver Broom World Curling Championships in Sweden due to start at the end of the month, there was particular interest in the outcome of the Johnnie Walker Curling Championships at Aviemore in Scotland on Friday (11 March).
SYNOPSIS: Canadian Gary Hanson, in the middle, enters the Aviemore Centre with the three other members of his side. Hanson, who won the Johnnie Walker Competition three years ago, was one of the favourites. Canadians have won each of the last three years and sure enough, this year's final was between Lee Taplin of Vancouver, here throwing the stone, and Gary Hanson. Each delivery is watched by two sweep members of the team and extra distance can be achieved by briskly sweeping the ice ahead of the stone.
Hanson throws. Unlike the European rinks who play a complicated tactical game which often results in number of stones ending in the scoring circle, the Canadians play a distinctive aggressive game, frequently concentrating on knocking the opponent's stone out of the circle. Once more it seemed to pay off, for Dutch, French, German and Scandinavian teams had all been knocked out by these two sides. Taplin's team took the lead in the final with a single scoring stone in the second end. This efforts by Hanson's side again finished outside the circle.
Taplin's team went further into the lead when one of their throwers achieved a rare moment in curling -- getting the ball to finish in the dead centre of the circle.
But Taplin's dead centre stone was soon knocked out. Hanson's team came into their won in the middle games -- this stone was their third in the circle. Their sweepers were using an unusual combination of a brush and a broom -- most teams choose either brushes or brooms. But Taplin refused to concede and after one of his team had shown him the side of Hanson's stone to aid for he hit it exactly right to knock it from the circle.
With Hanson leading by six points to one in the tenth game, Taplin finally accepted defeat. Just as in 1974 Hanson's team included Scotsman Charlie Wighton, but this time the Scotsman was an officials member and once again Hanson won the gold salver to give Canada their seventh win in eleven years.