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        The Gentlemen's Ale Sampling Society

        1982-2017  35 YEARS OF BEERS

                                                                                                                                                                                            

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FEBRUARY

 

ICE CURLING

at FENTONS ICE RINK

Dundale Farm, Dundale Road, Tunbrdige Wells TN3 9AQ

www.curlinginkent.co.uk

 

 

WEDNESDAY 4th FEBRUARY

Yes, it was a Wednesday.

That means it is NOT a Tuesday......  Got it?    Wednesday (day after Tuesday)

Despite this, and three months notice, it was still too much for Nick and Graham. 

"Wednesday? - it can't be - GASS is a Tuesday!"

Tracey at Fenton's Ice Rink explained they could not give us Tuesday as it is their regular team practise night and would you believe it....

" If they changed to another night, half their members would fail to realise and still turn up on Tuesday"

So GASS members - you are not alone!  Not alone in being a bit simple I mean.

 

Apologies for absence from Jenkins, Bridgewater, Riches, Smith L and someone else, I forget.

Welcome to HE's guest Ian who tolerated us and kindly took our group photos.

 

 

 

Fenton's Rink is England's only dedicated ice curling rink. Whilst there are other ice rinks in England they are used exclusively for skating and ice hockey which makes the ice too sticky for curling. Curling really needs properly prepared ice in an ice rink dedicated to the sport. Having been a frustrated curler in England for over 30 years, Ernest Fenton, an exiled Scot, decided to create a 3-lane dedicated curling rink on his estate near Tunbridge Wells in Kent. Fentonís Rink opened in November 2004 with an International Bonspiel, which attracted competitors from all over the world. Curling has been an Olympic Winter sport since 1988 and Curling is one of the few Olympic winter sports everyone can try. The sport of Curling is suitable for young and old, and can be played as a social or competitive sport. The spirit of curling demands good sportsmanship and honourable conduct.

 

THE OBJECTIVE

The objective is simple: to slide a granite curling stone weighing 20kg from one end of the ice rink to the other (40m) to a target marked on the ice. The player slides out of a starting block called "the hack" and releases the stone when it is on the right path. As the player releases the stone the handle is twisted to the left or right thus making the stone spin slowly as it travels down the ice. This makes it Curl down the ice - giving the name of the game - "Curling".

 

HOW TO PLAY

Two teams of 4 play against each other using two stones per player and playing in turn. All players in the team are involved in every stone played, taking turns to deliver the stone, to sweep (two players) or as "skip" - who guides the delivery and tells the sweepers when to sweep. Sweeping can help to keep a stone on the right trajectory and make it go further than it otherwise would have done. After everyone has played the "end" is finished and the team whose stone(s) is nearest the middle of the target wins the end; one point for each stone nearer the centre than the opposition. A stone must be within the outer (12 foot diameter) circle to count. A game typically lasts 8 ends over a 2 hour session. Special shoes are worn to enable the player to slide over the ice. Skates are definitely NOT used as the surface must be perfectly flat and smooth. A single hair or piece of fluff is enough to make a stone go completely off course.

 

 

 

THE PLAN

 

We hired a coach with 3 stops (and NO detours!), and it worked!

Three pick up locations -

18.00 - THE TUCK IN - HARTLIP

18.20 - THE ROFFEN - ROCHESTER

18.40 - THE VILLAGE HOTEL - MAIDSTONE

We paid for our own drinks in the bar while waiting for the coach.

 

THE FARE WAS £20 A HEAD, same for everyone.

Be there on time or make your own way was the rule so unsurprisingly - everyone was on time.

 

We had three rinks booked from 8.00pm until 10.00pm.

There was a lovely bar at the rink, staffed by the beautiful Tracey. 

We even had a MEAL served at the rink by excellent caterers -  www.thecompletelunch.co.uk

We were due to depart the rink at about 10.30 for reverse order drop offs.

Tracey kindly kept the bar open a tad longer for a farewell libation so we a smidge late in departing.

 

 

It was a once in a lifetime chance to ice-curl - and it was amazing.

 

Tracey Brown and Sarah Decoine  -  were our amazing hosts there to welcome us and give us a safety briefing.

Tracey is the rink manager and an England Team Coach, Sarah Decoine is an England Team Player, talk about quality instructors!

But first we got stuck in to some excellent food and a couple of beers.

Finally we were tempted on to the rink by our lovely hosts and split into two groups so that we would have the normal teams of four per lane.

Let the pictures start to tell our story......

 

 

FIRST THE TWO GROUPS

 

THE PRETTY ONES

 

 

AND THE NOT SO PRETTY ONES

YOU CAN SEE NOW HOW THEY WERE SELECTED - IT PRETTY MUCH DID ITSELF.

 

 

 

NEXT WAS BRUSH TRAINING - AN ESSENTIAL ASPECT OF THE GAME

 

 

 

WHICH LED TO SOME SERIOUS BRUSH ISSUES

 

 

THEN THE ACTUAL GAME - WHICH FASCINATED STUART

STONE CHARGING DOWN THE RINK,

TENSION CRACKLING IN THE FREEZING AIR,

STUART 'THE SKIP' AT BREAKING POINT

 

 

 

MIND YOU, IT WAS STUART'S TEAM THAT CRACKED IT!!!!

WHAT A SCORE!!!

 

 

TEAM MATES STUART, BRIAN AND UNCLE ALBERT

 

 

AND FINALLY.....  THE ASSEMBLE GASS THRONG AFTER OUR SUCCESSFUL GAMES

 

 

It was an absolutely amazing evening and has to be highly recommended as a great way to have a fun night out.

Curling is one of those things that you really don't get much chance to try in southern England and what a box to tick!

Great for a corporate event or just for a bunch of friends.

 

Many thanks to Tracey and Sarah and to our caterers, and the bus company, and everyone that knows me.

 

 

FENTONS ICE RINK

Dundale Farm, Dundale Road, Tunbrdige Wells TN3 9AQ

www.curlinginkent.co.uk

 

 

 

 

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