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WHAT IS CURLING?

Curling started in Scotland and originally was played outdoors. Over the years the game has been refined and is now played mainly on indoor ice rinks. Curling is played in more than 40 countries worldwide. It is most prolific in Scotland, Canada, the Scandinavian countries, Switzerland, Germany, USA, China, Japan, Holland, Italy and France.

Modern curling is often described as "chess on ice"; it is a game of SKILL, PRECISION, FITNESS AND.....FUN!

THE OBJECTIVE

The objective is simple: to slide a granite curling stone weighing 20kg from one end of the ice rink to the other (40m) to a target marked on the ice. The player slides out of a starting block called "the hack" and releases the stone when it is on the right path. As the player releases the stone the handle is twisted to the left or right thus making the stone spin slowly as it travels down the ice. This makes it Curl down the ice - giving the name of the game - "Curling".

HOW TO PLAY

Two teams of 4 play against each other using two stones per player and playing in turn. All players in the team are involved in every stone played,taking turns to deliver the stone, to sweep (two players) or as "skip" - who guides the delivery and tells the sweepers when to sweep. Sweeping can help to keep a stone on the right trajectory and make it go further than it otherwise would have done. After everyone has played the "end" is finished and the team whose stone(s) is nearest the middle of the target wins the end; one point for each stone nearer the centre than the opposition. A stone must be within the outer (12 foot diameter) circle to count. A game typically lasts 8 ends over a 2 hour session. Special shoes are worn to enable the player to slide over the ice. Skates are definitely NOT used as the surface must be perfectly flat and smooth. A single hair or piece of fluff is enough to make a stone go completely off course.

LEAGUES & COMPETITIONS

Fenton’s Rink hosts several leagues and junior club sessions as well as regular tournaments for both experienced and novice curlers. Weekend competitions (called "bonspiels" in curling parlance) are also organised where the competition involves several games over a weekend, interspersed with a liberal helping of partying! The social side of curling is very important and Fenton’s Rink also host birthday parties, hen parties and stag parties for those who are looking for something a little different.

If you are an experienced player - or are thinking of taking up the game as a regular sport - why not get in touch with The South of England Curling Club at www.secc.rocks.  They handle all the leagues and many of the other competions at Fenton's Rink. They also hold beginners' sessions for those who might like to have a go, but don't want to book a full curling session.