Sports

The Scots are coming, with a cup

Scottish curlers pose in Winnipeg for an official photograph during their 1903 tour. - Howard H. Ward photo / Library and Archives Canada
Scottish curlers pose in Winnipeg for an official photograph during their 1903 tour.
— image credit: Howard H. Ward photo / Library and Archives Canada

A touring piece of curling history rolls through here next week, and fans of the roaring game will get a chance to be part of it.

From Qualicum and District Curling Club president Bruce Feltham comes word that on Monday, Jan. 14 the sound of bagpipes will fill the air at the old barn in QB as it plays host to five teams from Scotland as part of the long-running Strathcona Cup.

According to Feltham, the Strathcona Cup is a competition between Canada and Scotland which has been ongoing since 1909 and takes place every five years, alternating between the two countries.

The Strathcona Cup as the story goes was first presented in 1909 by Sir Donald Smith, Lord Strathcona, to recognize the winner of a curling tour between Canada and Scotland. The first tour was held in 1903 when Scotland sent a group of curlers to tour Canada and the northern United States. In 1909 the Canadians mounted a return tour to Scotland and this is when Lord Strathcona offered the trophy to commemorate the winning side. The Scots’ second tour to Canada was held in 1912. This event continues today on a five year alternate tour schedule.

The Scots last toured Canada in 2003 — the 100th anniversary of the first Scottish curling tour.

While play is scheduled every five years, the tours have occurred somewhat irregularly due to the two wars and other factors. Recently the Canadian touring team has consisted of 40 curlers split into two groups which compete in northern and southern Scotland during the month of January culminating in Edinburgh.

The Scottish touring team to Canada for 2013 will split their 60 curlers into separate Eastern, Central and Western Tour groups. They arrived in Canada Jan. 9 for a series of games across the country, and the tour wraps up with all the tour groups meeting in Toronto on Jan. 31 at the end of their weeks long curling tour.

The touring teams will compete generally twice daily and will be locally hosted at lunches, dinners and special events.

The winner of the Strathcona Cup is determined by total points accumulated over the tour head to head.

“We feel quite fortunate to be chosen to play host to these Scottish curlers in this historical event,” said Feltham.

This is the first time QDCC has hosted the event in its 49 years.

The Scots will bring five teams to town and four of them will face off against four Oceanside rinks. Each team plays one game and the scores go towards the tour’s total points tally.

QBDCC’s master men’s team will be in the mix with the other three local teams made up of players that signed on. The curlers range in age from 50 up

“They have to be retired because they’re in Canada for about a month,” Feltham explained, pointing out the Scotts will log a lot of miles during their tour of Canada and play 300-plus games.

“It’s a full schedule for them that’s for sure,” said Feltham, pointing out the Scots will have already been to play in Powell River that morning “so we’re hoping they’ll be good and tired by the time they face us,” he chuckled.

The Scots will play more than 300 games in total during their tour.

“We’re really looking forward to it,” he said, adding “this is a great opportunity for local players to compete against international players as some of the Scottish players have had international experience.”

From here the Scotts head to Victoria for games on Tuesday and Wednesday.

“We’ll have a quick opening ceremony and then get down to the playing,” said Feltham,

GAME ON All four games get underway at 3 p.m. with a reception and dinner at the club to follow starting at 5:30 p.m.

Admission is free, there is a concession on site, and there will 50/50 draws.

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