On Tuesday 5 March, Dumbarton competed in the Kirkwood Cup, a competition run under the auspices of Dunbartonshire 10th Povince.
Each club must enter 2 different rinks into the Kirkwood Cup. with Dumbarton 'A' being drawn against Alma 'B', and Dumbarton 'B' facing Cawder House 'A' in the other game.
A tough draw as Alma were the Province Champions only a couple of years ago, and Cawder House, who won the Denis Kyd Quaich earlier in the season, a competition played under a similar format to the Kirkwood Cup.
The two rinks representing Dumbarton were:
|Dumbarton 'A'||Dumbarton 'B'|
|Skip||David Armstrong||Sue Fordyce|
|Third||Robert Nixon||Clive Black|
|Second||Gail Graham||David Shanks|
|Lead||Andy Cooper||Ian Mulholland|
With the rules stating that any player who has played at skip in the Allan Cup or Allan Medal must play at either lead or second, this gave David Armstrong and Sue Fordyce a chance to skip for the first time in an external competition, with Sue Fordyce also making her debut for Dumbarton along with Andy Cooper.
Dumbarton 'B' were first in action and soon found themselves 5-0 down after 3 ends, before striking back with a 3 in the 4th end to start the comeback. Singles were then traded in the next 2 ends handing Cawder House a 2 shot advantage (6-4) going down the 7th and last end with the hammer.
The 7th end was looking precarious for Dumbarton with only one red stone in the 4 foot surrounded by 5 yellow Cawder House stones when Sue went to play her final stone. Sue executed a perfect tap-back on the yellow stone close to her own red to leave the shooter sitting on her own stone sitting 2. This left Cawder House with a shot to take out both stones and score at least a 5. The stone didn't curl as much as expected, and it narrowly missed both red stones giving Dumbarton a steal of 2 to peel the match 6-6.
The match between Dumbarton 'A' and Alma 'B' was another hard fought match. Unlike the other match, Dumbarton got off to a good start racing into a 4-0 lead after 3 ends. The 4th end saw David facing a tricky freeze to try and steal another single, or at least reduce the shot count to one, and was unlucky to see the target yellow stone bounce a few inches after contact. This left a very difficult take out with the danger of the red stone jamming on the yellow just behind it. However the shot was executed perfectly to remove the red stone without moving the other yellow stone and retaining his shooter to score a 3.
Dumbarton responded with another double 5th end before dropping 4 shots after a sloppy and costly 6th end giving Alma the lead for the first time in the match.
Dumbarton put that disappointment behind them, when after a well constructed end, David played 2 excellent draws to score a 2 to retake the lead 8-7 going into the final end.
Alma started the 8th end well and soon had several stones in scoring positions well defended by some carefully placed guards. David attempted to tap a yellow guard stone onto his own red to promote it to the 4 foot and was very unlucky to hit the yellow stone at the wrong angle, but with too much weight as the red stone drifted through the back of the house. This allowed Alma the opportunity to close any gaps and secure a score of 4 to win the match 11-8.
Due to the small number of playing members available to Dumbarton in recent years, this was the first time in over a decade that Dumbarton had entered the Kirkwood Cup. Also as David Armstrong, David Shanks and Robert Nixon were the only players in the Kirkwood that were involved in the defeat of Cardross in the Brownlie Shield (also over 2 rinks), the clubs participation and performance in these competitions are a testament to the growth and development of Dumbarton Curling Club over the past couple of seasons.
The full list of the results and final standings for this years Kirkwood Cup can be found at the following page: http://dumbartoncurling.club/competitions/external-competitions/kirkwood-cup