There is a fair bit of curling taking place this weekend at home and abroad – here’s what to be keeping track of.
First of all, don’t forget that the Continental Cup is underway in Las Vegas with Team World currently leading Team North America 9.5 to 8.5.
Check out this cheeky video of Eve Muirhead being upstaged by her teammates over in the USA – glad to see the girls are enjoying themselves!
Domestically, we have a lot to enjoy over the next few days as well.
The Curling Champions Tour is back in Scotland for the Glynhill Ladies’ International at Braehead in Glasgow.
Alan Sloan, Chairman of the Organising Committee, kindly sent me this preview of the event:
Three of the teams competing for the ladies’ Olympic Gold medal in three weeks time in Sochi, Russia will be in action this weekend at the 7th Glynhill Ladies’ International Curling Championship being held at the Braehead Curling Rink on Clydeside.
Leading the chase for the 2014 title will be the Swiss rink of Mirjam Ott, World Champion in 2012, European Champion in 2008, and placed 4th at the Vancouver Winter Olympics in 2010. Her team will be going for a hat-trick of titles having previously won the Glynhill in 2010 and 2012.
Another favourite for the title and Sochi will be the Russian representatives, skipped by Anna Sidorova, the 2012 European Champion. They are starting to hit top form after making the final of last weekend’s Bern Ladies’ Cup event and return to Braehead looking to make up for their quarter-final exit last year.
Returning to Braehead will be the Chinese team of Bingyu Wang, World Champions in 2009, and hoping to add an Olympic medal to their collection next month. They have already won a title in Canada this year and could be the surprise team at this year’s Glynhill.
In all, 16 teams representing seven countries will compete for the Glynhill title which carries valuable Curling Champions Tour Order of Merit points. The entry is dominated by Swiss rinks, with six teams entered, including last year’s winners Binia Feltscher’s team from Flims. Other teams come from Denmark, Poland and the Czech Republic.
Scotland will be without the services of Eve Muirhead and her World Champions, who are otherwise engaged in taking part in the Continental Cup in Las Vegas this weekend. However there will be a strong Scottish challenge from the rinks of Lorna Vevers, a World Silver medallist in 2010, Hannah Fleming’s rink, World Junior Champions in 2012, and the local rink of Jennifer Martin, daughter of 2002 Olympic Gold medallist Rhona.
Play will be initially in four sections starting at 0730 on Friday 17. On Saturday the teams will split into High Road and Low Road Divisions, with the semi-finals (0930) and final (1300) on Sunday 19.
Admission to the Braehead Curling Rink is free for all sessions.
You can follow the event here on the official event website.
I think it’s fair to say that Scotland’s representatives have found it hard going so far – maybe it’s the 0730 start?
Jennifer Martin and Lorna Vevers finished Friday with one win and two losses while Hannah Fleming is sat on three losses after the first day.
After last week’s first round of games at Braehead, the Scottish Men’s Curling Championship Qualifiers move to Dumfries this weekend for round two – the last chance for teams to make February’s finals in Perth.
By the end of this weekend we will know the ten teams who will be fighting for national glory next month.
Five teams are currently undefeated – Grant Hardie, Lee McCleary, Ewan MacDonald, Kyle Smith and David Edwards.
The second Under 14 Slam is in Aberdeen on Saturday with sixteen teams playing in four sections.
Callum Kinnear’s Perth team currently top the leaderboard but that could all change on Saturday – you can follow this event here.
There is also some international curling taking place this weekend in Hamilton as the Irish Curling Association is hosting this season’s Four Nations on Saturday and Sunday.
Also taking place at Hamilton this weekend is the Scottish Wheelchair Curling Association’s British Open.
Team GB for the Winter Paralympics in Sochi will be there skipped by Aileen Neilson as well as teams from all over Europe – find out more here.
Fans of Canadian curling should be aware that the Canadian Junior Curling Championships start this weekend in Liverpool, Nova Scotia.
By Sunday 26 we will know who will be representing Canada at the World Juniors in Flims, Switzerland at the end of February.
It’s great to see that Nunavut are competing again in both the junior men’s and junior women’s sections having made their debut in 2013.
Follow all the action here.
And finally, Sunday sees the start of a very special event on the Curling Champions Tour calendar – the Red Square Classic in Moscow, Russia.
At least, I thought it was Sunday (according to the CCT website) but on the official event website here it suggests that things get underway on Monday.
Probably just as well considering Scotland’s own Team David Edwards will be playing in Moscow having not long finished their Scottish qualifying campaign in Dumfries.
If tie-breakers are needed in Dumfries then it looks like a mad dash to the airport for David and the boys!
What a fantastic location to curl in and the very best of luck to Team Edwards.
Images are © WCF, CCT, RCCC, ICA and CCA