Michael Sutherland, Tommy Campbell and John Summers, plus new recruit, Charles Jackson retained their ECA Seniors title for a third year in a row with a 3 games to 1 win over John Sharp, John Brown, Alastair Fyfe and Mike Robinson at Greenacres at the weekend.
The weekend started badly for John Sharp's team when their 5th player, Doug Andrews, was involved in a car accident in Kent and was unable to travel.
The games for the Championship began with two on Friday evening, the first was a close affair which Michael won by 6-4 having had an early 4-1 lead pegged back to 4-3, before easing clear over the last three ends.The second game began with a 3 for John at the first end though it was all square at 4-4 after 4 ends before a run of 2, 1, 1 gave John an 8-4 lead which Michael was unable to do anything about at the last end.
As the games were being played at the same time as the Under - 17 Baljaffray event, the next game for the Seniors was not until the Saturday evening. A visit to Stirling to see the country's top players in action on Saturday should have inspired the John Sharp team but instead a 4 at the first end for Michael signalled the start of a very quick win by 11-2 in just 5 ends!
And so to Sunday morning and at 6-1 up and lying 4 in the house halfway through the 6th end, Michael and his team were probably thinking that they had it in the bag. Then unfortunately John Brown hurt his back and was unable to continue in the game and all of a sudden the tables turned and with a run of 2, 1 and 2 for John S the scores were level at 6-6 after 8 ends and an extra end was required. While John B watched from the sidelines wondering if he should maybe have hurt his back earlier if that was the effect on the teams, Michael and his team saw out a well played end without needing to use Michael's last stone to win 7-6 and take the title and also win the trip to Fredericton for the World Seniors in April.
This will be Michael's 10th trip to the World Seniors having played every year since it began in 2002 except for the long-haul trips to New Zealand and Chelyabinsk. It also means that every year that we have had to play a Championship to select a team to go to the World Championships, Michael has been in the winning team.
For the record the teams that have previously represented England in the World Seniors have been as follows:
2002 Michael Sutherland, Tommy Campbell, John MacDougall, Ron Thwaites
2003 Michael Sutherland, Eric Laidler, John MacDougall, Ron Thwaites, Alistair Davison
2004 Michael Sutherland, Eric Laidler, John MacDougall, Ron Thwaites, Alistair Davison
2005 Michael Sutherland, John Brown, John MacDougall, Robin Gemmell
2006 Michael Sutherland, John Brown, John MacDougall, Robin Gemmell, Phil Barton
2007 John Brown, Michael Sutherland (skip), John MacDougall, Robin Gemmell
2008 John Brown, Michael Sutherland (skip), John MacDougall, Robin Gemmell
2009 John Brown, Phil Barton, John MacDougall, Robin Gemmell
2010 John Brown, Alastair MacNish, John MacDougall, Robin Gemmell, John Sharp
(Alastair MacNish and John MacDougall unable to play because of ash cloud)
2011 Michael Sutherland, Tommy Campbell, John Summers, Phil Barton, John Brown
2012 Michael Sutherland, Tommy Campbell, John Summers, Phil Barton, John Brown