Need week of -10s for bon­spiel


Ev­ery­one has been talk­ing about bone-chill­ing tem­per­a­tures in Cen­tral Otago re­cently and in par­tic­u­lar lo­cal curlers.

They’re get­ting itchy feet as the first na­tional bon­spiel in al­most two years looks more and more re­al­is­tic.

The 130-year tra­di­tion sees about 300 play­ers from 35 clubs from all over New Zealand called at short no­tice as soon as the ice is thick enough - 150 mil­lime­tres or more. Tra­di­tion­ally the na­tional bon­spiel has been held at the Id­aburn Dam near Oture­hua but the last one, in 2015, was played at Cen­ten­nial Ponds in Naseby.

Alexan­dra Curl­ing Club and New Zealand Curl­ing As­so­ci­a­tion pres­i­dent John Campbell said a few more days of con­sis­tently freez­ing weather was what was needed.

‘‘We’re for­ever hope­ful,’’ he said. ‘‘We need a bit more yet [but] th­ese tem­per­a­tures will be start­ing to build a bit of nat­u­ral ice on the dams.’’

Tem­per­a­tures around Cen­tral Otago had been se­vere in the past fort­night with Alexan­dra drop­ping to -6degC last Wed­nes­day and -5degC last Thurs­day in a week of tem­per­a­tures all be­low freez­ing.

There had been un­of­fi­cial re­ports from the Ida Val­ley of tem­per­a­tures as low as -8degC two days in a row and that was get­ting close to tem­per­a­tures needed for ice to thicken, Campbell said.

‘‘We need to get a few sort of mi­nus 10s.

‘‘Re­ally you need to get a week [of -10degC] and then an­other good week.’’

Early to mid-July was prob­a­bly the most likely time for a na­tional bon­spiel, Campbell said.

If a na­tional bon­spiel was called, each club would need to en­ter two teams of four and be able to drop ev­ery­thing and head for the Man­iototo for two days of com­pe­ti­tion.

‘‘Ice Masters’’ would be keep­ing an eye on how the ice was pro­gress­ing.

One of those ice masters was Ran­furly’s Ste­wart McKnight who had been keep­ing tabs on the Id­aburn Dam.

‘‘It’s still a wee way off but if this keeps up, there will be every chance [of a bon­spiel],’’ McKnight said.

MetSer­vice me­te­o­rol­o­gist Tom Adams said there was not go­ing to be much change to the weather in June which was ‘‘good news’’ for curlers.

‘‘You’re look­ing at freez­ing or close to freez­ing for quite a while.’’

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