2013 Scottish Curling Championships

It’s that time of year again…

The Co-operative Funeralcare Scottish Curling Championships for 2013 have arrived in Perth and it’s time to play for the biggest prize on the domestic curling calendar.

Games began today (Monday) and continue all this week until the finals on Sunday.

I will aim to write something at the close of play every night and I will be in Perth for the finals at the weekend.

The RCCC is covering the event in full – read their preview here.

Last year’s women’s champion Eve Muirhead returns with her winning team from 2012 while Tom Brewster brings his reigning men’s champions to Perth with a slightly modified lineup – more on that later.

Ten men’s teams and eight women’s teams are playing a round-robin all this week with knockout games scheduled for the weekend.

The women’s champions will represent Scotland at the Women’s World Championship in Riga, Latvia, while the winners of the men’s title will be going to Canada for the Men’s Worlds in Victoria.

The Teams (Women)

Jennifer Martin, Hazel Smith, Vicky Wright, Mhairi Baird (Galleon)
Gina Aitken, Katy Richardson, Rowena Kerr, Fiona Telfer (Murrayfield)
Jackie Lockhart, Karen Kennedy, Katriona Davidson, Sarah Macintyre (Curl Aberdeen)
Lauren Baxter, Naomi Whyte, Sarah Wood, Eilidh Templeton (Greenacres)
Gail Munro, Lyndsay Cumming, Kerry Adams Taylor, Jodie Milroy (Stranraer)
Eve Muirhead, Anna Sloan, Vicki Adams, Claire Hamilton (Perth)
Kerry Barr, Rachael Simms, Rhiann Macleod, Barbara McPake (Murrayfield)
Hannah Fleming, Lauren Gray, Jennifer Dodds, Abi Brown (Lockerbie)

Women’s event page here.

The Teams (Men)

Hammy McMillan, Sandy Reid, Moray Combe, Craig Waddell (Stranraer)
Ross McCleary, Craig Gudmundsson, Hugh Thomson, Gavin Baird (Kinross)
David Edwards, John Penny, Scott Macleod, Colin Campbell (Curl Aberdeen)
Glen Muirhead, David Reid, Steven Mitchell, Kerr Drummond (Perth)
Tom Brewster, David Murdoch, Greg Drummond, Scott Andrews (Curl Aberdeen)
Neil Joss, James Stark, Lindsay Gray, Struan Wood (Greenacres)
Kyle Smith, Thomas Muirhead, Kyle Waddell, Cameron Smith (Perth)
Warwick Smith, David Smith, Alan Smith, Ross Hepburn (Perth)
Logan Gray, Ross Paterson, Alasdair Guthrie, Richard Woods (Stirling)
Grant Hardie, Jay McWilliam, Hammy McMillan, Billy Morton (Dumfries)

Men’s event page here.

So that’s the schedule for the week and all the teams. Now, the fun part – who are the Scottish Champions for 2013 going to be?

In the women’s draw, it is hard to see past Eve Muirhead and her reigning champions – they picked up a silver at the Europeans in Sweden back in December and will be determined to secure a second straight title. For Eve, this could be her fourth Scottish title as skip.

That said, expect a strong challenge from Hannah Fleming and her recently crowned Scottish Junior Champions – they are off to defend their World Junior title at the end of the month too.

Jackie Lockhart and Gail Munro know what it takes to win national titles – they have four between them as skip. Never rule them out when it comes to this tournament. Gail reached the final against Eve last year and will no doubt be keen to go one better this time around.

The men’s draw is, arguably, a little more open. Tom Brewster and his team of Greg Drummond, Scott Andrews and Michael Goodfellow have won the last two Scottish titles and they are a good shout for making it three in a row albeit with a modified team – Michael Goodfellow makes way for David Murdoch who comes in at third. With five Scottish titles to his name, Murdoch brings winning experience but time will tell if it has been a good move or not.

So where will the challenge to Brewster’s crown come from?

Looking at the draw it could come from just about anywhere. I would pick out David Edwards and Warwick Smith as the teams to really give it a go but I would seriously keep an eye on Kyle Smith and his Scottish Junior Champions this time around. Another tough junior team to bear in mind is Grant Hardie’s outfit. At the other end of the spectrum, the experience of Hammy McMillan could also play a part – he has won this competition seven times in different positions and combinations.

So, with play over on Day 1, here is the first report from Perth on the RCCC website.

The early form has shown a real statement of intent from both defending skips with Tom Brewster and Eve Muirhead both undefeated after Monday’s games. Eve had a comprehensive 11-1 win in just six ends over Lauren Baxter while Tom had two 8-4 wins against Ross McCleary and Grant Hardie. It should be noted that David Murdoch has been skipping with Tom Brewster playing at third.

Men’s Standings (W-L)
2-0 Tom Brewster, David Edwards, Warwick Smith, Glen Muirhead
1-1 Logan Gray, Kyle Smith
0-2 Neil Joss, Grant Hardie, Ross McCleary, Hammy McMillan

Women’s Standings (W-L)
1-0 Eve Muirhead, Jackie Lockhart, Hannah Fleming, Jennifer Martin
0-1 Gina Aitken, Kerry Barr, Lauren Baxter, Gail Munro

Expect twists and turns along the way in what should be a great week’s curling.

I would like to wish all the teams taking part the very best of luck and don’t forget to check back here regularly for news from Perth.