Curling club champions end 55-year wait for top province title

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Oban Curling Club has ended a 55-year wait to be named Argyll Province Champions.

The last time the 176-year-old club held the title was in 1963 and the club is now hoping its success and the buzz from this year’s Winter Olympics might give a boost to its current membership of just six .

David Howie was skip of the Oban team and the other players were
Fraser Inglis, Jack Tollan and Walter Speirs when they faced defending Argyll Province champions Millport in last month’s final at  Braehead Ice Rink in Renfrewshire.

The team will have to wait until a presentation night in March in Greenock to get their hands on the trophy but a few more weeks will make little difference to a famine of more than half a century, said Mr Inglis.

Oban no longer has a curling rink of its own so the dedicated team regularly travels a 200-mile round trip to ice rinks nearer Glasgow to practice and play in matches with Paisley-based Old Grammarians.

‘We’ve got to thank the Old Grammarians for  giving us more chance to play – it definitely helped us in the final and was another reason for us winning.

‘It’s a day out when we go to Glasgow, so that’s dedication, but we’d welcome new members. Unfortunately, we can’t just invite people to pop down into the town to try it out because we no longer have anywhere in the town to play.

‘We have to arrange a practice first and a place to do it – usually about 100 miles away. The Winter Olympics has done its bit to raise curling’s profile so that might stir up a bit of interest,’ said Mr Inglis.

Curling began in Scotland some time in the 16th century, and one of Oban’s earliest curling sites was the car park at McCaig’s tower. Another curling pond was at Pulpit Hill, where the land is still owned by the club.

Mr Inglis said Oban secured a winning margin of nine shots to five in what he described as ‘a keenly contested match’ leading his team to the  2018 province championship title.

Anyone interested in finding out more about Oban Curling Club should contact Mr Inglis by emailing him at fraserf1@btinternet.com.