Alan MacDougall and his team of Andrew Reed, Andrew Woolston and Tom Jaeggi won their 4th consecutive ECA Men's Championship at Fenton's Rink on Sunday afternoon beating Michael Opel, Jamie Malton, Henry Carter and Keith Wilson, the last team before the winners to take the Championship in 2009, by 7-6 in a pulsating final.
6-2 up after 7 ends, MacDougall seemed to be in control but all of a sudden a 3 for Opel followed by a stolen single meant that the teams were all-square going down the last. Quite a guddle developed but Alan kept the front fairly well open and did not need to play his last stone when an attempted take-out by Michael failed to clear the shot stone of Alan's from the house.
Alan and his team had had a fairly quiet Saturday when the draw gave them just one game - 6 ends against the Ivan Zadorozny team, missing Ivan as he had had to go to hospital to see his mother,and so they were probably glad of a tough ten-ender on Sunday morning to get back into the swing. Yours truly was the opposition and after taking a three at the first end, I was pegged back by Alan taking 3 singles to be all square after 4 ends.
And then one of those rare occurrences that few of us have ever witnessed - a blank end, even though the head was full of stones.Umpire Robin Shand was unable to separate the two nearest stones on the measure and so he declared a blank. The game went on being closely fought until Alan suffered his second defeat of the week by 5-6.
In another close game on Sunday morning John Sharp defeated John Summers 7-6 after an extra end. (Bryan Zachary and Ivan Zadorozny did not play their scheduled game as it had no bearing on the final positions).Neither of the games that were played had any impact on the teams who would play in the final but it did produce a situation with 4 teams tied on a 3-4 win record for 4th to 7th places. Looking at the win-loss record among those teams meant that the final order after the Round Robin was:
Michael Opel - 6 wins, 1 loss
Alan MacDougall - 5-2
Bryan Zachary - 4-2 (1 unplayed)
John Sharp - 3-4
Greg Dunn - 3-4
John Summers - 3-4
John Brown - 3-4
Ivan Zadorozny - 0-6 (1 unplayed)
So the DSC did not come into play to decide rankings but for interest the team's results were as follows:
Michael Opel - 12.0cm
John Sharp - 23.3
Greg Dunn - 25.3
Alan MacDougall - 37.3
John Summers - 60.5
Ivan Zadorozny - 64.1
John Brown - 64.7
Bryan Zachary - 68.4
Anna Fowler, just 22 years old, and her team of juniors - Hetty Garnier, Noami Robinson and Lauren Pearce won their first National title as a team (Anna had won in 2011 with Fiona Hawker) when they defeated Fiona by 8-5 to complete a remarkable turnaround after losing the first two games of this best of 5 Championship series. Anna was always in control it seemed in this game going into a 7-2 lead after 6 ends and holding on against a fightback from Fiona and her team of Lesley Gregory, Angharad Ward and Tracey Brown. Tracey had stepped in at the last moment at the start of the competition when Fiona's lead, Debbie Hutcheon was taken ill and was unable to travel down from the North-East. Tracey herself was then injured on Saturday morning and was only able to take part in half a game out of the two played that day, but she was back on the ice for the final game
It was Hetty Garnier's second Championship in a month, having won the Mixed Doubles title with Ben Fowler back in January, but she has had to pull out of going to the World Mixed Doubles owing to exams and her place will be taken by Anna Fowler.