TRURO - Dave Williams didn't know what to expect as he arrived at Truro Curling Club Wednesday to take on Team Scotland in a leg of the Strathcona Cup curling showcase.
Nobody on the four Truro Curling Club squads representing Canada had seen their Scottish counterparts in action, but had heard they were no pushovers on the ice. Once the four matches had ended, the Scots had proved it even though Truro nipped Scotland 25-21 overall and Williams battled Jim Hogg to a 5-5 draw.
"Jim had his draw weight all day long," Williams said. "He bailed them out a couple times with some nice draws."
The event is considered the world's oldest international curling challenge and has been running since 1903 when Scotland first sent a team to Canada. Each side has alternated visiting the other every 10 years.
Three teams of Scots - one in Eastern Canada, one in central Canada and one in the West - tour their respective regions before meeting in Toronto next month. The country with the most overall points at the end of the competition takes the title.
Canada won the title in 2009 in Scotland, while the Scots won last time in Canada in 2003.
The Scots hold a 902-767 overall lead in the competition this year and lead 277-204 in the Eastern leg. Truro's Peter Burgess doubled Graham Lindsay 8-4, while Truro's Chuck Dyke was downed 7-5 by Scotland's Alastair Smith. Truro's Kelly Terry also edged Barton Henderson 7-5.
"Across the country we're down, so for us to pull our weight was nice," Williams said.
But nobody was really thinking about points on Wednesday. The only thing on everyone's mind was having a good time. It's the whole reason why the Scots laid down about $8,000 each to make the month-long trip to Canada and so far it's been worth every penny.
"Oh yes," Hogg, a 56-year-old resident of Dumfries said. "The hospitality has been excellent. We've really enjoyed it. Everybody is really friendly.
"Dave was a really nice guy. Sometimes when you're skipping you don't talk to them too much but we were having a good time."
The event had been creating plenty of buzz around the club as it drew near and about 100 people showed up to take in the eight-end matches, which were followed by a social period, a dinner and entertainment throughout the evening. An opening ceremony was also held before the matches, when the club's oldest curler, 90-year-old Doug Langille, threw to opening rock and teams exchanged pins.
"It was good to see as many people come out to watch as we had," club president Peter Neily said. "I like the way the club pulled around this event. There was a lot of effort from Gary Westoll and his committee. It's been exciting for the club"