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.’’