Date: 8th November 2014
Location: Fenton's Curling Centre, Royal Tunbridge Wells, Kent
Cost: £20 per person - minimum of 8 people
Rules: A curling team consists of four athletes. One match consists of 10 'ends' or rounds of throws. The score for the end is determined when all 16 stones have been delivered. A team can have one or several stones closest to the centre and score; therefore one or several points are available in each end. The team with the most points after all 10 ends have been completed, or after the opponent has conceded, is the winner.
Sochi Winter Olympics 2014 Winners: Canada
Sarah' Team: 2
Ellie' Team: 1
Sarah: Some of the best events of our challenge have been the ones where we've roped in a bunch of friends to help us out. The team events always seem to bring out an excellent level of competition amongst us all. When we heard about Fenton's rink, we decided to book a Curling session as our first Winter Olympics event and second bonus sport, because why stop at a mere 114 events?! We were all a bit nervous about falling flat on our face as soon as we stepped onto the ice, but the shoes were magic, and we were soon running up and down chasing the stone. We had a brief introductory talk; how to sweep and curl the stone, but were quickly left too it, and we managed to squeeze in five games. We got to alternate between the bowler, sweepers and captain; who remains up in the end and is the only person who can sweep the other team's stone once it passes over a specific line within the house (target area). The most difficult element was trying to figure out how much pressure to put behind the stone when bowling; what felt like a comparable push sometimes sent the stone flying too far and out of play, and the next time it failed to even reach the score line. It was loads of fun though, and felt like we really progressed within the two hours. We were all getting carried away with yells of "SWEEP", "LEAVE IT", "SWEEP, SWEEP" by the end. I'd definitely go again!
Ellie: I think Curling was the sport I watched most from the Sochi Winter games and was certainly one that I wasn't very familiar with; to find that there was a purpose built rink within a few hours of Essex was very interesting. It was also heartening to find six other friends that were keen to give up a Saturday to come along and try it with us. The rules and principles of Curling seemed straightforward and we were able to have a rudimentary game after only a few pointers; but the technique and strategy was a bit more elusive! As Sarah says, getting the power levels right was really difficult and I also found that I accidentally spun my stone so it was often out of play before reaching the target. That being said, when one of us was able to get a stone to the scoring zone it was really exciting and there were some great scoring debates between teams - some of which I still dispute!! I'd be very happy to make the journey to Kent to try again in the future!
|L-R: Claire, Greg, Sarah, Clare v Ellie, Laura, Simon, Carl|