Continued from Part 2…..
In 1892/93 season, with the club only 5 years old, Blantyre Curling Club took part in its first ‘Grand Match’ at Carsebreck with 4 rinks and finished with a whopping 48 shots majority winning the prestigious R.C.C.C trophy at its first attempt. The other clubs were left in awe that such a new club had lifted the trophy, which was surely a reflection on the skill of the Blantyre players. The win against Armadale was the first time Armadale had been beaten in 5 years.
Highest up rink was Matthew Campbell (snr), Arthur Blackley, J Brown, John Craig (skip) were presented with Gold badges at the Club’s presentation night. The club brought the cup back to Blantyre where it was held for a time at Bellsfield Farm, the property of the skip.
A remarkable photograph was taken by early Blantyre photographer, David Ritchie as attached showing the team in 1893, photographed at former Bellsfield Farm, High Blantyre. The names of the team are all known.
Back Row, Left to right: Arthur Brown (Nurseryman), Charles Allan (Plumber), Paton Aitkenhead (Builder), John Aitkenhead (Builder), Tom McLean (Miner)
Middle Row: Left to right: Matthew Campbell Jnr (Nurseryman), Alex Aitkenhead (Builder), Thomas Scott (Farmer Back Priestfield), John Craig (President, Farmer of Bellsfield), Arthur Blackley (Spirt Salesman), David Hastie (Farmer Stonefield) and Alex McWilliam (Farmer Greenhall)
Bottom Row: Left to right: Robert Stewart (plasterer), William Adam (Sawmill owner), Matthew Campbell Snr (Nurseryman) and James Brown (Post Office master)
The club celebrated by making further improvements to the Curling pond by providing an access track from the Main Street through woodland towards a new wooden bridge, which cost £6 to construct. A small bridge, it was easily removable in summer at the farmer’s request. The tiny crossing is visible on the 1910 map, crossing the Rotten Calder River not far from the railway viaduct.
In 1893/94 season, the club was admitted to Glasgow Province. Decision was taken at the AGM that any R.C.C.C medals won should be played for in Points Competition and the person making the highest number of points would retain the medal.
In 1894/95 season, a severe winter was experienced with frost lasting right into March. Consequently, the club widened its competitive horizons. Five rinks were competed in the Grand Match (North Versus south of the Forth) at Carsebreck, three of which won an overall majority of just 1 shot. The Club played its first District Medal with 3 rinks at Glasgow Hillhead at Hamilton and won by 28 shots. Contrary to the 1893 decision, due to the performance of John Craig in that match, it was unanimously decided that he should retain the medal.
By this year, a few players were good enough for the National Team. Blantyre fielded One rink (J Craig), J. Brown and M. Campbell and A Blackley in the Scotland team! They played against England at Tak-in-Tarn, England and beat them by 23 shots.
Continued on Part 4…..