George Heriot’s FP Curling Club
A group of members and friends at the 2017 Summer Barbecue
Honorary Secretary’s Report for Season 2019-20
In this, our 10th season since the Club was founded, we experienced one of our poorest seasons on the ice. Availability amongst our experienced skips was not as good as in earlier seasons whilst our difficulties in persuading some playing members to turn out in any of our matches continue.
Whilst the Club had a poor season on the ice, we were all delighted that Bruce Mouat’s rink was able to win the Scottish Men’s Championship for the third time. Sadly, Bruce’s attempt to win a World medal in Scotland was frustrated by the Coronavirus epidemic which necessitated the Championships being postponed
I gave notice that this would be my last season as Honorary Secretary and Treasurer, but regrettably, if not surprisingly, no-one has come forward to take on these roles.
The season ended prematurely as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic and with a high proportion of our playing members being comfortably in the ‘at risk’ age group, we hope that everyone comes through the current crisis safely.
At last year’s AGM it was decided to try to increase playing numbers by opening the membership to curlers who did not satisfy the previous requirement of being Former Pupils of George Heriot’s School, current or former members of staff, or parents of current or former pupils of the School.
This move was in response to increasing difficulties in raising rinks to represent the Club in matches. Sadly, no new membership proposals had been received in the season, so our Playing membership stood at 19 members, with one Playing member, Douglas Fairley, deciding to end his membership of the Club as he had been unable to find time to turn out for the Club since he joined in season 2017-18. Sadly, several other Playing Members did not turn out for the Club in season 2019-20.
Towards the end of the season, Mike Spooner, one of the founding members of the Club, gave notice that he would not be renewing his membership next season as he had had to give up driving on health grounds. Over the years Mike had represented the Club in Linlithgow Trophy, FP League and in KGIV cup ties. Next season we will also lose the services of Harry Chapman, hopefully only temporarily, as he continues his studies in Cork. Harry has been a valuable member of the Club, turning out when he was needed despite having to travel back home to Tranent after matches.
Our thanks go to George Edington (FP League), Tim Price (Half Century League) and myself (Other fixtures) for selecting and organising our rinks in the following matches:
Played Won Lost Peeled
FP League 8 2 5 1
Half Century 8 2 6 -
Other matches 4 1 3 -
All matches 20 5 14 1
The FP League season had started well with a win and tied match versus old rivals Watsonians, but thereafter we were unable to field representative rinks against Stewarts Melville and Edinburgh Accies, or in the return fixture with Watsonians, to end the season in last place. It was pleasing, however, to welcome Accies back into the FP League fold and see them do much better than in past years. Our congratulations go to Stewarts Melville who were in pole position to win the ‘Broom’ for the first time when the season came to a premature end and have subsequently been declared winners of the ‘Broom’ for season 2019-20
Half Century League
With the addition of Willie McLeish to our pool of players we had a slightly better season in the Half Century League. The role of skip alternated between Tim Price and Willie McLeish, with Ian Brockie and George Edington making up our rinks and Jack Aitken, Douglas Goddard and Bryan Chatham filling in when the ‘regulars’ were unavailable.
Watsonian Challenge Rose Bowl
The winner of the trophy is decided by the outcome of matches between the two clubs in the FP League. Watsonians retained the Rose Bowl by collecting 5 points to Heriot’s 3.
Wilson Heatlie Memorial Trophy
The winner of the Wilson Heatlie Memorial Trophy is determined by the outcome of matches between Heriot’s FP and Stewarts Melville in the FP League. With the second round of matches falling victim to the Coronavirus. Stewarts Melville regained the trophy by collecting 4 points to Heriot’s 0.
FP V School Challenge Quaich
Sadly, what used to be an annual match between the School and FP Curling Clubs did not take place for the third year in a row. The fixture was due to take place on 16 March but when the Honorary Secretary made contact at the end of February to finalise details, he was advised that the School curlers did not feel ready to play a match.
With School curling only just clinging on, the prospect of the FP Curling Club recruiting new curlers from the School looks bleak.
The Club was well beaten in the first round of the KGIV Cup and once more lost to Boswall Curling Club in the annual match for the Wilson Heatlie Trophy. We recorded a win in the Midlothian Province Bonspiel, before losing heavily to strong opponents in the British Heart Foundation Bonspiel. A new fixture versus the curlers from Murrayfield Golf Club was a victim of the Coronavirus shut-down. One internal match was arranged at the start of the season but, regrettably, we were only able to persuade 7 curlers to take part. This match was won by Willie McLeish’s rink.
The Club continues to have difficulties in persuading members to turn out in what might be described as ‘friendly’ matches and was indebted to a hard core of playing members who ensured that the Club was able to fulfil all its fixtures.
Summer Social Activity
This year’s summer social activity took the form of a guided tour of the New Town’s statues and architecture, hosted by Vice President Jack Aitken, followed by lunch at the Angel’s Share restaurant at the West End. 10 members and partners attended.
The Committee met formally once during the year and discussed a number of other issues by email. My thanks, on behalf of the membership, go to them all for their time and contributions
Thanks, once more, are due to Past President Eric Begbie for maintaining the Club’s website.
I make no apologies for suggesting that the Club has just about struggled through its first ten years. We are all 10 years older and we were not exactly young ‘ravers’ in 2010 when the Club was founded.
As is the case in all new enterprises, we were enthusiastic when we started, but as the years have gone on, much of this enthusiasm has dwindled to the stage where it has become quite hard work running the Club. As prospects of recruiting from the School look slim, our best chance of continuing is if all members each make a determined effort to recruit a curler. If this initiative does not pay dividends then it would not be surprising if, at next year’s AGM, we were discussing whether the FP Curling Club should continue to function.
Douglas J Goddard
3 April 2020
George Heriot's FP Curling Club, Edinburgh, Scotland