Curlers stirred up about fowl play

War is brewing out Oturehua way, a battle of wills between curlers and their feathered foe. The disputed territory? The Idaburn Dam.

The problem? Curlers want the dam iced over so they can stage a bonspiel. The ducks, on the other hand, prefer some open water on which to glide around.

''I blame it all on the duck-shooters,'' says Ken Gillespie, whose farm surrounds the dam.

''If they were doing their job properly, those feathered buggers wouldn't be still paddling away, keeping the ice from forming properly on the dam.''

Tongue planted firmly in cheek, Mr Gillespie, a member of the Rough Ridge Curling Club, suggests the ripples caused by the ducks are the main barrier to a national bonspiel being called any time soon. A few more hard frosts would not go amiss either, he admits.

''There's only ice over two-thirds of the dam; the rest is open water. It needs to be fully covered before we can even start to measure the ice.''

Wednesday night's 9deg frost was progress, he says.

''Out this way, we'd call a -9 frost a r-e-a-s-o-n-a-b-l-e one ... it's not too tough. But when the frosts get into double figures, that's when they really start to bite.''

Hopes may be fading for a bonspiel, but Mr Gillespie refuses to admit defeat just yet. The canteen on the shores of the dam may still be called into action to cater for hungry curlers, so he has left the power connected.

''I haven't switched the power off to the canteen yet ... when I do that, you'll know a bonspiel has been absolutely ruled out.''

In the meantime, maybe duck soup is on the menu.

Add a Comment