It was with some trepidation that Ballindalloch entered into the match v The Buckie Boys on Wednesday it was a mere 9 months
since they last met in Division 1 and on that occasion removing the granny was the primary concern after 4 ends and they failed inthat quest during a 16-0 rout. So when Kennedy faced 5 counters and a hanger without last stone there was a cold chill of realisationthe same path may about to be trod again. Just failing to hide with his first left Rankin a chip and lie which was played to perfection. Next stone came up three feet shot of locking on the target but cut down the count to three.....luckily Rankin missed out on the measure for four!!!!
End 2 Tony Duncan found his weight and Ryan Mackenzie dealt well with two excellent Buckie counters to leave Ballindalloch looking in good shape to come back with a two or a three. Steve McGingle stuck on two perfect guards and the granny was looking to be off! Then Rankin pulled off a wonder double and stick to lie 3. Kennedy's first was a foot of running too far and it was removed unceremoniouslyleaving the same draw again for a one. This time the weight was perfect. Brows mopped. Granny off. Game on!
End three was again set up well by the front end and numerous attempt to strip off well placed guards in front of a Ballindalloch counter onthe four foot failed to do their job. Kennedy pulled a nice draw round the cover and awaited the next shot to place another guard on. Rankin this time toed in his peel shot (or it picked up!) but instead of removing the guard it raised it back to take the double! Kennedy's guard hung wide and sat leaving the easy double for two which was gratefully accepted....5-1 down after 3, not the game plan!
End four was a cracking end with every player playing to their best and McGingle putting a stunning brace behind a guard that left Rankin nothing to play but a stupid angle raise from somewhere stupid on the sheet. As this filled his CV to perfection he did of course make it take the double and lie 3. luckily there was a draw to the shot just to the left of the button and thanks to some superb sweeping Kennedy shaved one round the guard and lay shot. Ranking decided to put on a guard and lose the one but left just enough room to shave past it and just fold off to lie two. It
was to be a turning point in the game. 5-3 and back in.
Buckie decided to keep things clean in end 5 and got in a bit of a mess to start with but by skips stones it was tidy again and Kennedy managed to throw the gayest tap back of the night with his first, it never even tapped! Rankin refused the chance by throwing through his draw. Kennedy then through the next gayest tap back but at least this time did tap, behind cover but left all the 8 foot for the draw for one, this act of charity was accepted gratefully......6-3
Another end of keeping clean failed early and then succeeded in the later stages but an unexpected pair of misses, the first by Campbell the second by Rankin saw Kennedy gifted with a hit and stick for two. Gift accepted it was 6-5. Buckie were now looking to hit for home and Blank 7 and take their single with the Hammer in 8. It all went to plan until Campbell nosed a guard and rolled just into the house with his first leaving McGingle a come around which was played well but drifted log behind cover. Campbells second just failed to make shot but was in the open. Kennedy's attempt to take it out was
woeful and just chipped across to the other side the front of the house. Rankin Elected to lift the guard and open up the back counter and played it to perfection.Kennedy elected at his pitiful barrier weight to hit the stone he had just worried across the house and roll half checked behind the Buckie counter. If it had of been picked up and placed it couldn't have rolled to a better position. What followed was ever heroism or stupidity. Rankin went for the Double Raise to lie two
when the draw for one was screaming its case for being best choice. Perfection was what was required and failed to be delivered. Two for the Good Guys! 7-6 up.
The 8th was perhaps the most lack luster of the night with each side missing chances to put pressure on the opposition. A mid rink conference between Team Ballindalloch members went along the lines of risky shot to win or safe to guarantee the draw......DRAW was the call all day every day!!!!! Those shots made the pressure was on last Stone hit for Rankin which he made with the help of a fair sweeping effort from his front end. A draw was the end result and points shared but
at the end of the night it was Ballindalloch with the feeling that victory had for once been snatched from the jaws of defeat! Sets a nice close league up for next season. If the Ballindalloch front end can keep on arriving on time and playing well and the tail end can can continue their rich vein of form there is still all to be played for, just
as long as Kennedy leaves his pink trousers at home.....