The Grand Match Debate

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Comment in The Guardian
Bob Cowan's own blog on the Grand Match
12th January 2010 "Willie King"
Hi Tommy
I know you won’t want to hear this but managed up to The Lake this afternoon.
The ice although thawing and covered with surface water
was managing to support a couple of curling rinks and a few skaters/ walkers.
Helen and I bumped into Fiona and Margo Steel, who also had just gone on speck,
needless to say we formed a rink and threw down a challenge to an all male Forfar gathering.
They didn’t take much persuasion on seeing our rink
and the chance of a snog at the end of play
(although I think my lipstick threw them).
After the customary dram we had a two end game with Forfar
before taking on a rink from North Berwick
skipped by Cameron Martin again over two ends.
I think we won both but after the whiskey/sloe gin and rusty nails
I am not sure and it is irrelevant as the afternoon was tremendous.
I must say we owe the Forfar guys a big thank you
as they gave us the chance to use their equipment,
drink their drink and enjoy their company.
Glad we made the effort it was well worth it.
Hope to have some pictures to follow …….once I figure out
how to retrieve them from Helens phone!

Willie and Helen King
12th January 2010 "Geoff Miles"
Hi Colin
Please find to follow the release which has been issued to the media this evening.
Any queries, please call.
Kind regards
Warning over ice safety
The rising temperatures across Scotland have led to concerns about people enjoying
the Lake of Menteith ahead of the Winter Festival planned for Tuesday 12 January.

Fiona Logan, Chief Executive, Loch Lomond & The Trossachs said:
"We've spoken to representatives from 12 local curling clubs today (Monday 11 January)
who have assessed the condition of the ice on the Lake of Menteith.
The rising temperature and melted snow has created significant surface water making it impossible to play.
Conditions are so poor now that professional players and local residents have stopped venturing on to the Lake.
Although the bonspiel would have been an amazing event to see,
for people's safety we would strongly advise anyone visiting the Lake
not to make any unnecessary journeys."

Ian Fleming, Owner of the Lake of Menteith Hotel expressed serious concern:
"If conditions remain as poor tomorrow, I'm afraid it's game over.
It's far too wet for walking let alone playing."

Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park Authority
National Park Headquarters, Carrochan, Carrochan Road, Balloch. Alexandria. G83 8EG.
Tel: 01389 722600 Fax: 01389 722633
Loch Lomond& The Trossachs National Park Authority Web Site
11th January 2010 Tommy Campbell
Email comment by Tommy Campbell
For the immediate attention of Colin Grahamslaw
If the Majority of Clubs/Members instructed the Committee responsible
to Mark out for the grand match would you issue instructions to have it done.
Then we could turn up at our own discretion
At a time suitable to those who all wished to attend
And of course all at our own risk.

As Rabbie said
The man o'independent mind,
he looks and laughs at a' that.

What kind of people are we becoming
Tommy Campbell, and on behalf of a great many very annoyed curlers.

11th January 2010 Colin Grahamslaw
Hi Tommy, Thanks for the email,
the advice from the Police and other blue light services was absolutely clear
and if we were seen to do anything that could mean that this would be official
then we would be considered liable.
11th January 2010 Tommy Campbell
Appreciate your problem,
and am sure you have done your best to get the game to go ahead,
It is high time that these type of people as public servants,
were told or shown that they are there and PAID to be there to do their job
and carry out what is expected of them,
by a not insubstantial number of mature law abiding and responsible members of the general public.
Not to worry about their own budgets, self seeking interests,
politics, how much paperwork is needed, etc etc etc
The majority of curlers in Scotland have been eagerly looking forward to this for 30 years
and to see their aspirations dashed at the final hurdle, in this edict way, has upset them immensly
All the best Tommy.
11th January 2010 Gordon Lyon
Email comment by Gordon Lyon
Hi Tommy This is complete nonsense. The Politically Correct NEVER wanted this - we had no chance.

I have more chance of breaking my leg on the untreated pavement outside my house
than I do on the (thank God) made safe for me environment of the Lake.
Thank you RCCC, Police, St. Johns Ambulance - you have kept us safe and ruined our fun,
and made us the laughing stock of all our Brother Curlers
in Switzerland/Canada and everywhere else that has SNOW.

One year ago we curled outside in Switz
and travelled everywhere through snow without any trouble.
The Nanny State wins.
Farewell the Grand Match
- we will NEVER have a RCCC organised one because they bowed down to the Polis.
Suggest we go anyway and "cock a snook" at political correctness.
I am up for it -wherever and whenever.
Sunday Herald says it's already happened...???
Gordon Lyon

11th January 2010 Alister Asher
This email came in this afternoon 11th Jan 2010 from Alister Asher
You may find it of interest given the current outdoor curling position.
To follow on from TC’s points…
There is no point in getting annoyed,
lets try to work out how we can make it happen the next time we get a suitably cold spell of weather.
I asked my insurer about whether getting everyone to sign a ‘disclaimer’ would work & his ‘answer’ is below:

Tell me that you don’t expect a, “Yes or No” answer to that question!
It’s not a simple situation.
Even if all curlers signed a disclaimer waiving all rights to bring an action against the RCCC,
there is always a question of the validity of such disclaimers.
If 2000 curlers were to disappear through the ice to never be seen again,
a fair number of the representatives of those 2000 would begin an action against the RCCC
irrespective of the existence of any disclaimer or otherwise.
Even if, in every case, the disclaimer was found to be adequate,
the defence costs would be extortionate – way beyond the RCCC’s means.
Proved innocent but bust in the process of doing so.

I would imagine that the RCCC’s insurers have made it conditional
that all the Police and Local authority requirements and approvals
are in place before they will confirm cover.
Those approvals are not forthcoming for whatever reason,
and therefore the RCCC would be on there own in defending any claims,
and as I said, without the ability to just dump the stuff on your insurers desk,
the cost of making it go away are too much to withstand.

Against that,
I would have thought the age old defence of ”Volenti non fit inuria” would apply
(he who knows the risk - accepts the risk).
Best example is that one boxer cannot raise an action
against another boxer for knocking his teeth out
– it’s an obvious inherent danger – much like walking on a frozen loch.
What the boxer can do however is raise an action against the organisers
if they have failed to ensure that adequate emergency medical services
are available at the side of the ring.
This is probably what lies behind the Police and Local Authority granting permissions
– they are worried that it’ll come back and bite them if it all goes wrong.
Bottom line is
I can’t see it happening and I would be advising the RCCC not to go ahead if they were clients of mine.
For future the RCCC should really liaise with those involved and ascertain
what conditions/arrangements would need to be in place for them to grant their approval.
Once the RCCC have that they should check each year in the autumn
that those conditions would still be adequate for the approval to be granted.
Then all you would need is the required amount of ice, and off you go.

A final thought, - if there is no organiser, and 2000 curlers just turn up and curl,
then there is nobody to raise an action against if some, (or all) of them disappear below the ice,
but then it wouldn’t be a grand match would it???...

I’m sure that in no way helps!

As you’ll see, it doesn’t really give us a solution but explains where the difficulty lies for the RCCC.
So if they can’t arrange it how can we?
I think it has to be done through a website not affiliated to anyone.
I’ve just bought , someone already has the & .com versions.
I don’t have the expertise to set up a website with a chat facility
but it can’t be beyond some web-clever curler with time on their hands…
Then ‘we’ establish a suitable date & venue and go for it.

But it wouldn’t be a ‘Grand Match’ without official backing and organisation would it?
All that needs to happen is for the RCCC to define any meeting of [say] more than 1,000 as a Grand Match
no matter who organises it. We could be having 2 or 3 a year!
I appreciate this is all a bit simplistic but we have to look at ways of making it happen
rather than let ‘Health & Safety’ ruin our enjoyment of the great roaring game outdoors.
Feedback appreciated!
Yours in curling,
Ali Asher
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Last Update To This Page 11th January' 2010 Copyright © East Kilbride and Haremyres Curling Club 2010