Weekend Curling 19-21 September

Two of Scotland’s teams find themselves in Canada this weekend for the Shorty Jenkins Classic – a World Curling Tour event in Brockville, Ontario.

Play got underway on Thursday with the final games scheduled for Sunday.

Sochi Team GB skip David Murdoch is there with Greg Drummond, Scott Andrews and Michael Goodfellow and they find themselves in a formidable field of 24 teams from around the world – look out for the likes of de Cruz, Edin, Gushue, Howard, Jacobs, Ménard, Michel and Stoughton.

Oh and don’t forget Dumfries-born William Lyburn playing with his Winnipeg, Manitoba team.

Team Murdoch started with a defeat (10-5) to Ontario’s Mark Kean but bounced back with a 6-4 win against another team from Ontario, skipped by Jeff McCrady, despite being 4-2 down going into the seventh.

Their third game is against Rob Rumfeldt from (you guessed it) Ontario and you can watch it LIVE here right now.

Keep track of all the scores from the event here.

In the women’s competition, Eve Muirhead is skipping the only non-Canadian team in a field of twelve which includes Rachel Homan.

If you weren’t already aware, Eve has a slightly different team to the one we have been used to seeing for the past few seasons after lead player Claire Hamilton decided not to continue with the team for the 2014-15 season.

You can read Claire’s statement here (scroll to 1 May) and I’m sure we all wish her well in any future endeavours.

Team Muirhead’s new lead player is a familiar face in the form of Sarah Reid – read what she said of the move here (scroll to 15 August).

Sarah made her first international appearance ten years ago skipping Scotland at the World Juniors where she finished seventh but just three years later she won the event with a certain Eve Muirhead at third. Sarah was also alternate for Eve when she won silver at the Women’s Worlds in 2010 and the same colour medal at the Europeans in 2012.

So back to the here and now where the new Team Muirhead started with a 6-3 win against Lauren Mann of Quebec which was followed up by a big 10-1 win in five ends against another Quebec team, skipped by Kimberly Mastine – a steal of five in the fifth ended the game.

Their next game is against Ontario’s Lisa Farnell and you can follow all the scores from Brockville here.

The first leg of the European Junior Curling Tour, part of the Curling Champions Tour, begins this weekend with the Braehead Junior International in Glasgow.

Ten junior men’s and six junior women’s teams are competing including nine from Scotland, five from Switzerland and two from Sweden – disappointing numbers given the event was hoping to attract twelve teams of each gender.

Scores are nowhere to be found on any of the official sources but Forfar Young Curlers’ Facebook profile is doing a grand job of keeping us all up to date – the final games at Braehead are on Sunday.

Images are © WCT and CCT

Tårnby Update

Thursday saw the last day of round-robin play at the European Mixed Curling Championship in Tårnby, Denmark.

England finished on a W2 L5 record, Wales on W3 L4 and Scotland on W6 L1 meaning Scotland gained automatic qualification and would be the only ‘home’ representatives in the playoffs.

After two tie-breakers it was on to Friday evening’s quarter-finals:

Denmark 3-7 Switzerland
Scotland 7-5 Finland
Russia 5-6 Sweden
Hungary 3-5 Norway

So Saturday morning’s semi-finals look like this:

Scotland v. Norway
Sweden v. Switzerland

The games are at 0900 UK time and Kyle Smith and his team are just one win away from a place in the European Mixed final – best of luck to Team Scotland.

You can follow all the scores from Tårnby here.

Image is © WCF

2014 European Mixed Curling Championship

While some of us may not even have set foot on the ice yet this season, for others the international curling calendar is well underway.

Tårnby, Denmark is currently hosting the European Mixed Curling Championship – a competition for teams made up of two males and two females.

From next season, we will be seeing this competition on a world stage but more on that another day.

You may remember last season’s event was held in Edinburgh and it proved to be a very enjoyable occasion even if there were technical issues at the very start.

This post should give you all you need to know about this year’s Championship.

25 teams are competing and they have been divided up as follows:

Group A: Austria, Denmark, France, Germany, Netherlands, Norway, Slovenia, Sweden, Turkey
Group B: Czech Republic, England, Latvia, Poland, Russia, Scotland, Slovakia, Switzerland
Group C: Belarus, Estonia, Finland, Hungary, Italy, Romania, Spain, Wales

As you can see, three ‘home’ nations teams are in attendance – sadly no Ireland to make the full house but still a very good showing.

England are skipped by Ben Fowler and he has Lorna Rettig, Nigel Patrick and Anna Fowler (Ben’s sister) in his team.

Scotland have Kyle Smith, Hannah Fleming, Billy Morton and Alice Spence in their lineup while Welsh skip Adrian Meikle has a team of Dawn Watson, Andrew Tanner and Laura Beever.

Scotland are also represented by Chief Ice Maker Mark Callan in Denmark.

If you’re looking for big names in the tournament then they don’t come much bigger than Germany’s third player Andrea Schöpp – seven European and two World titles are just some of her career highlights.

Full lineups are here.

The 2014 edition of this tournament is the tenth overall and has seen Scotland claim four titles, Germany two and one each for Finland, Switzerland and Wales.

Play began in Tårnby on Sunday and here is how the ‘home’ nations look after two full days of play:

England W1 L2
Scotland W2 L1
Wales W2 L1

Group play concludes on Thursday evening with playoffs scheduled for Friday and Saturday – a full schedule is here. Do bear in mind for keeping track of scores that Denmark is one hour ahead of the UK.

One result from Tårnby caught my eye and that was the Germany v. Netherlands clash on Sunday afternoon.

The two nations share a fierce sporting rivalry and this year’s event brought together a German team with a great deal of international experience and a Dutch outfit boasting two players making their first appearances for their country.

Their pride was to be short-lived, however, as in the first end of their first game they promptly lost a SEVEN to the Germans and went on to lose 15-0 in six ends.

Things, as they say, can only get better.

Images is © WCF

Weekend Winners – 12-14 September

Greenacres was hosting the Junior Masters over the weekend – the first of four Under 21 Slam events of the season.

Twelve junior men’s and eight junior women’s teams were in attendance looking to get their Slam campaigns off to a good start.

The junior men’s final saw Grant Barr taking on Ross Whyte and with Team Whyte taking a 4-0 lead after two ends the result never looked in doubt and they took it 9-3.

Katie Murray and Amy MacDonald contested the junior women’s final and it was last season’s Champion Murray who came out on top 7-4 with a steal of two in the sixth proving crucial.

A full report is available here and all the results from Greenacres are here.

Greenacres Junior Women’s Masters Champions (L-R): Katie Murray (Skip), Sophie Jackson (Third), Hailey Duff (Second), Ellie Fraser (Lead)

Greenacres Junior Men’s Masters Champions (L-R): Ross Whyte (Skip), James Baird (Third), Gavin Barr (Second), Euan Kyle (Lead)

Photos are © Bob Cowan 2014
Image is © RCCC

Scotland On Tour

Having been in Switzerland last weekend for the Baden Masters, Team Murdoch now find themselves in Oakville, Ontario, Canada for the Stu Sells Oakville Tankard.

This event began on Thursday 4 September and features thirty men’s teams from around the world – Edin, McEwen, Ménard and Shuster should be familiar names as well as our own Olympic medallists.

David Murdoch and his team of Greg Drummond, Scott Andrews and Michael Goodfellow were drawn in a group with two teams from the USA, John Shuster and Greg Eigner, as well as two Canadian teams skipped by Chris Gardner and Dumfries-born William Lyburn.

Happily, Team Murdoch won all four of their group games:

4-2 v. Lyburn
5-3 v. Shuster
7-2 v. Gardner
8-2 v. Eigner

A great effort so far and in doing so they have made it to Sunday’s quarter-finals, opponent as yet unknown.

To follow all the action, check out the WCT event page here.

EDIT: Team Murdoch saw off Niklas Edin’s Swedish outfit in the quarters but lost out to Team Epping of Canada in the semi-finals. The event was won by Mike McEwen.

Also, as you can see here, a Scottish team came fourth in the weekend’s wheelchair curling Danish Cup – Gregor Ewan, Robert McPherson, John Doyle and Hugh Nibloe were the players involved.

Image is © WCT

Baden Update

Two Scottish teams are out in Switzerland this weekend for the Baden Masters – the inaugural tour event of the season.

Team Brewster won two of their round-robin games:

7-3 v. Team Bangerter (Switzerland)
6-5 v. Team Gulbis (Latvia)

But they did not make the playoffs as they lost two as well:

2-6 v. Team Ulsrud (Norway)
4-7 v. Team Pfister (Switzerland)

Team Murdoch had a more successful run in the competition picking up three wins and one loss in the round-robin to make the quarter-finals:

3-4 v. Team Ruch (Switzerland)
5-2 v. Team Freiberger (Switzerland)
6-3 v. Team Stjerne (Denmark)
7-2 v. Team van Dorp (Netherlands)

They then faced Swiss outfit Team de Cruz for a place in the semis and while this one started simply enough with blanks and a single Team Murdoch lost a big six in the fourth and they never recovered, going down 8-3 in six ends.

Four very strong teams make up the semi-finals – Edin, Michel, Ulsrud and de Cruz.

You can follow the remaining action here on the event website.

EDIT: The event was won by Norwegian World Champions Team Ulsrud and with seven victories out of seven they have started the season in fine form.

Image is © CCT

Let The Season Begin…

It may still be August and I’m sure all our curling gear is in a cupboard or bag somewhere but for the pros out there, the season begins today (Friday) with the first event on the tour calendar.

Talking of calendars, look out for mine for the coming season as it will be online soon.

Europe’s premier season-long curling competition, the Curling Champions Tour, is back this weekend with a competition in Switzerland – the Baden Masters in, you guessed it, Baden.

Twenty teams are competing from early on Friday morning until the final on Sunday afternoon and there are two Scottish teams among them.

The big news, unless you have been checking the World Curling Tour website over the summer, is that Tom Brewster and David Murdoch are in Baden but skipping separate teams. In fact, a quick glance here down the list of team lineups shows that there have been plenty of changes this summer as we enter a new Olympic cycle.

Bear in mind that the RCCC have still not yet announced their World Class Performance athletes for the coming season so I think it’s safe to assume that we are in for a season of some great Murdoch v. Brewster clashes.

If you follow the European scene you will see that teams such as those skipped by de Cruz, Edin, Michel and Stjerne for example are displaying different (and in some cases very different) lineups to those that we saw last season. That said, it’s good to see World Champions Team Ulsrud from Norway keeping things familiar.

So who are the curlers representing Scotland out in Switzerland?

Well, David Murdoch is skipping Greg Drummond, Scott Andrews and Michael Goodfellow – the team that won that wonderful silver in Sochi.

Tom Brewster has Glen Muirhead, Ross Paterson and Hammy McMillan Jr in his team according to the World Curling Tour but Thomas Muirhead, Ross Paterson and Hammy McMillan Jr if you believe the Baden Masters website. A bit of digging sees Thomas down as the alternate on the WCT site so let’s just assume there are five men over in Switzerland.

All the teams have been divided into four groups of five which you can see here.

The Curling Champions Tour will be streaming some of the action from Baden here on their YouTube channel.

Odds on an early-season Brewster v. Murdoch game in the knockout stage anyone?

Images are © CCT

Stirling Summer Skins – The Winners

The champs!

This year’s Summer Skins was taking place at The Peak, Stirling last weekend and provided the usual mix of fun, great curling and outrageous outfits – see the Facebook page if you don’t believe me.

A total of 22 teams took part and they were whittled down to two for Sunday’s final between Team Gray and Team Ireland. It was a close affair but Team Gray took it and also bagged £350 across the weekend – well done!

Logan Gray is pictured above presenting the winners with their prize and they are (L-R): Michael Goodfellow, Lindsay Gray, Struan Wood and Ian Copland.

Photo is © Logan Gray 2014

Stirling Summer Skins 2014

When it comes to the sporting summer, curling probably hasn’t been on our minds of late what with the FIFA World Cup, the Wimbledon Championships and an upcoming Commonwealth Games to demand our attention.

I think it’s time to remind everyone that curling should always be on our minds! It certainly was on my recent trip to the USA where I was fortunate enough to visit one of the three locations to have hosted a Winter Olympics in the nation. I’ll give you a big clue – Great Britain won curling gold there in 2002…

But enough about my summer travels (I’m currently in Norway again by the way), let’s talk about the Stirling Summer Skins.

If you aren’t familiar with this event then take a look at my roundup from last season here.

Logan Gray, who does a great job organising the event each year, has been in touch to say that he is extending the deadline for entries to this year’s event which will be held from 1-3 August.

So if you want to get a team together you have until next Tuesday (8 July) to get your entries in – full details can be found here.

Having played in last year’s event I can strongly recommend it – great fun, great atmosphere and great ice.

What more could curlers with the off-season blues want?

Image is © Logan Gray 2013

WCF Loose Ends – 27 May

Instead of simply listing random links to everything on my ‘to write about’ list I thought it would make sense to have some thematic posts – this one concerns news from the World Curling Federation that I haven’t shared in the last few months.

Looking ahead to next season, some competition venues have been announced…

The 2014 European C Group Curling Championships will be held in Zoetermeer in the Netherlands between 6-11 October – more information is here.

Tallinn, Estonia will host the 2015 World Junior Curling Championships from 28 February to 8 March and this represents the first time that Estonia will have hosted a World Championship event.

The 2015 European Junior Curling Challenge is taking place in Prague, Czech Republic between 3-8 January and this will be the sixth time the country has staged this event.

Tårnby, Denmark is set to host the 2014 European Mixed Curling Championship from 13-20 September.

The World Wheelchair Curling Qualification Event will be hosted by Lillehammer, Norway from 1 to 6 November 2014 – the World Wheelchair Championship itself will be in Lohja, Finland in February 2015. The event in Lillehammer will be used to test the venue before the Winter Youth Olympics in February 2016.

Details of all the events above can be found here.

It’s great to see Estonia being awarded its first hosting duties and I’m sure you remember another Baltic nation, Latvia, hosting the Women’s Worlds in 2013. Of course you do – Scotland won gold.

Have a read of this article to find out more about curling in Latvia and the progress they are making.

Three of the biggest names in men’s curling were inducted into the World Curling Hall of Fame during this season’s World Men’s in Beijing, China.

Randy Ferbey (Canada), Patrick Hürlimann (Switzerland) and Eigil Ramsfjell (Norway) all join this list of curling’s elite – find out more about their achievements here.

The WCF has also published its latest World Rankings following the conclusion of this season’s Winter Olympic and World Championship events.

Here’s where the ‘home’ nations currently stand:

3 – Scotland/Great Britain (-1)
21 – England (+1)
27 – Wales (+1)
29 – Ireland (-6)

The biggest movers were Romania (+7) and Ireland (-6)

4 – Scotland/Great Britain (No change)
19 – England (No change)
31 – Wales (-2)
32 – Ireland (-2)

The biggest movers were Belarus and Slovenia (+4) and Germany and the Netherlands (-3)

You can view the full rankings here.

Finally, the latest World Curling Federation Newsletter is now available to read – take a look here.

Image is © WCF