Jan 17 2013 by Andrew McGilvray, Hamilton Advertiser
Six Lanarkshire curlers are part of the Scotland team taking part in this month’s Strathcona Cup Tour competition in Canada.
Sixty of the country’s top curlers headed across to Canada on Wednesday of last week to take part in one of the oldest international curling competitions in the world.
The tourists, as the curlers are known, will be led by President of the Royal Caledonian Curling Club and non-playing captain Bill Duncan.
They will travel the length and breadth of Canada in three tours known simply as East, West and Central, each of which comprises of 20 curlers playing in five rinks.
Lanarkshire has two players taking part in each section.
Richard Gray from Lanark and Avondale Heather player Alastair Smith compete in the East; Jimmy Raeburn and former World Senior champion Lockhart Steele from Lesmahagow in the Central section, and Lanark’s Wilson Heatlie and Avondale Heather player Archie Kerr in the West.
The West Tour will start in Vancouver and travel east through Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, whilst the Central section will open their tour in Ottawa, moving on to Quebec and Ontario.
The East will start in Halifax, Nova Scotia and move on to Newfoundland before returning to Nova Scotia and then on to Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick.
All three tours will then meet up in Burlington for the final matches and the closing bonspiel on January 31.
In total the 2013 competition will be played over 427 games.
The tours will be captained by well-known curlers. Greig Henderson (Haddo House CC) will skip the west; Willie Nicoll (Fife Bank of Scotland) the east, and Mike Ferguson of Edzell CC in central.
Scotland last won the Strathcona Cup in 2003, but it was reclaimed by the Canadian tourists in 2009.
Canada currently boasts 11 victories to nine of Scotland, but the Strathcona Cup is more than about winning and losing, as Royal Caledonian Curling Club spokesman Stuart McLean explains.
He said: “The very essence of the Strathcona Cup is to ensure that curlers from Scotland and Canada have the opportunity to meet every five years on one side of the Atlantic or the other to further the friendship between curlers of the two countries, and to uphold the traditions of ‘the roarin’ game.
“Having said that, the 2013 Tour are determined to regain the Strathcona Cup and are looking forward to the competition, friendship and hospitality for which Canadian curling is justifiably renowned.”
Tour captain Bill Duncan said: “This promises to be one of the busiest and challenging of all tours, with people from all walks of life coming together to compete in the true spirit of curling. We will be determined to bring the Strathcona Cup back home.”