Monthly Archives: November 2012

Happy St. Andrew’s Day – The Weekend Starts Here

Happy St. Andrew’s Day brother and sister curlers!

This is the last weekend before the European Championships get underway and there is still plenty to be keeping track of.

In my capacity as English Curling Association Webmaster, I thought I would start with the English Senior Championships that are taking place at Greenacres from today (Friday) until Sunday. John Brown has more about the event here.

The last stop on the Curling Champions Tour for 2012 is the International ZO Women’s Tournament which got underway today and ends on Sunday. While there is no Scottish interest, this is the last chance to get a look at some of the teams ahead of the Europeans. To keep track of the event in Wetzikon, Switzerland, the event website is here.

The Scottish Curling Tour pays a visit to Stirling this weekend for the Stirling Invitational. Some big names in this one, all the information is here.

The latest U17 Slam is at Greenacres this weekend – play is on Saturday and Sunday. The draw is here and scores will appear on the RCCC website here.

Scotland’s top wheelchair curlers are currently touring North America. Ian Donaldson, Gregor Ewan, Jim Gault, Aileen Neilson and Tom Killin are playing at the Cathy Kerr International in Ottawa, Canada this weekend. They then head to the US Open in Utica, USA. The team is accompanied by coach Tony Zummack and they are due to play top teams from Canada, the USA and Korea. The Canadian event website is here while details of the US leg of the tour can be found here.

Scottish Nationals Logo 2013  © RCCC

Finally, and most fittingly for St. Andrew’s Day, Dumfries is hosting the qualifiers for the Scottish Women’s Curling Championship. That’s the logo above by the way if you hadn’t already seen it. Once again, the event is sponsored by The Co-operative Funeralcare.

Two sections of four teams are competing this Saturday and Sunday – the top two teams in each section will feature at the finals in February and will join Eve Muirhead, Gail Munro, Hannah Fleming and Jackie Lockhart who qualify automatically having made last season’s page playoffs.

The draw for this weekend’s qualifiers is here, the list of teams is here and to keep track of all the scores from Dumfries this page on the RCCC site is where to head.

Best of luck to everyone competing at the various events this weekend – I will hopefully have a roundup for you on Sunday evening. I am playing against some Slovenian international curlers tomorrow who are currently touring Scotland and playing local teams on the way – if you see them at your rink then I am sure you will extend them a very warm welcome. Na zdravje!

Updates – Funspiels, Edinburgh Seniors, Team Martin

Tuesday is normally a quiet day for my site but a lot of information from the weekend has now caught up with me. This should fill in the blanks from the past few days.

First of all, the RCCC Funspiel Qualifiers proved tricky to follow but the RCCC now has a full report from the regions with some pictures here.

Here are the winners from the Edinburgh Senior International:

Men’s Champions 2012 (L-R): Jenny Bain (RCCC Ladies’ Branch President), Keith Prentice (skip), Lockhart Steele (3rd), Robert Anderson (2nd), Tommy Fleming (lead), John Dignan (Managing Director of the main sponsor, Best Western Braid Hills Hotel)

Ladies’ Champions 2012 (L-R): Jenny Bain, Kate Adams (skip), Catherine Dodds (3rd), Jill Florence (2nd), Val Mahon (lead), John Dignan

Thanks to Alex Mitchell for the pictures.

I am sure we all had our fingers crossed for Team Martin at the Thun Invitational – we knew they were in the final but a result wasn’t posted until some time after. Well, I am delighted to report that Jennifer Martin and her team of Hazel Smith, Vicky Wright, Mhairi Baird and coach Rhona Martin beat Russia’s Julia Portunova 5-3 in the final to claim this European Junior Curling Tour event title. Congratulations to Jennifer and her team. Bruce Mouat’s team were runners-up in the boys’ event so a very successful tournament all round for Scotland’s junior teams. You can see the final standings here.

Away from results news, Robin Copland has posted some thoughts about the men’s teams in this season’s Scottish Junior Championships on his site here.

The Curling History Blog should already be among your bookmarks. If not, take a look at an interesting post entitled ‘The Laird’s Kettle’ that went up today. It features some very evocative descriptions of curling in the 19th century and is well worth a read.

James Ellingworth is a sports correspondent at RIA Novosti in Moscow and a good friend of mine. He pointed me in the direction of this video (in Russian) that is part of a project his agency is undertaking to get people into sports that aren’t popular in Russia. Darts and fencing have featured so far and apparently rugby is next. The woman helping the presenter out on the ice is Anna Gretskaya – she coached the Russian team at the Youth Winter Olympics earlier this year.

Finally, some exciting news from North America. It has been announced that the 2014 Continental Cup will be held in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Here’s what the official statement said:

In a joint announcement today by the World Curling Federation, Canadian Curling Association and U.S. Curling Association it was revealed that the 2014 World Financial Group Continental Cup will be staged in Las Vegas from January 16-19 at the 5,000-seat Orleans Arena, home to ice hockey’s Las Vegas Wranglers.

It marks the first time that the event will be held in the United States and the first time outside of Canada. It will also be the first time that Las Vegas has hosted a curling event of this magnitude.

“Las Vegas is one of the iconic destinations in the world,” said World Curling Federation President Kate Caithness. “The World Curling Federation and its partners, the World Financial Group, the Canadian Curling Association and the U.S. Curling Association, are thrilled to be able to showcase the sport of curling and its top international players in such a high profile location just ahead of the 2014 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.

“Place your bets as to who will win this tightly-fought competition which will celebrate its 10th anniversary in Las Vegas. One thing is for sure, for all involved, the biggest winner at this event will be our sport and the exposure for its finest athletes.”

Event tickets are expected to go on sale in early 2013.

You can read the full statement here.

Odds And Ends 26 November

I have been reliably informed by Jim Hogg that Fraser Hare’s team won the Lockerbie Superspiel this weekend. Apparently it was a tight but slow final against Graeme Black. Thanks to Jim for the information – if any pictures or more information appear I will post it here.

EDIT: No sooner had I posted the above than this appeared on the Scottish Curling Tour blog.

Staying with the Scottish Curling Tour, David Jones has been in touch with a fairly urgent appeal regarding the upcoming Kinross Open:

I still require two teams to play in the Kinross Open 14-16 December. If individuals want to play then I can make up teams so get in touch if you don’t currently have a team. Check out http://www.kinrossopen.blogspot.co.uk

Please spread the word among any fellow curlers who might be interested.

I had an email to say that Renfrew Rotary Club will holding a Burns Supper with a very special guest speaker:

A highlight of the Renfrew Rotary Club social calendar is our annual Burns Night.

This year our celebration is to be held at Renfrew Golf Club and may be of interest to you as we are delighted to welcome as special guest speaker Rhona Martin MBE, Olympic Gold Medal skip and recent inductee into Scottish Sports Hall of Fame.

An excellent menu, good company and cheap bar prices will make a memorable evening that will appeal to Rotarians, Curlers in fact just about anyone.

For more information, have a look at their website.

Finally, anyone who watched the coverage of this summer’s Olympic Games will remember Alistair Brownlee winning gold in the men’s triathlon. Well, having mastered one sport, he decided to give the roaring game a go last week at The Peak in Stirling. It looks like he had some great coaches too…

Alistair was in Stirling as the guest speaker for the 2012 Stirling Sports Awards held at Stirling Castle. Curlers Michael Goodfellow and Lauren Gray were both nominated for Sports Person of the Year but the award went to Andy Murray. Congratulations to Michael and Lauren on their nominations.

Weekend Roundup 23-25 November

It has been another busy weekend of curling around the world so here’s a summary of what’s been going on.

At the Canadian Mixed Curling Championship, Cory Heggestad’s Ontario defeated Brent MacDougall’s Nova Scotia 10-3. This was the 50th edition of the competition and Heggestad’s win represents Ontario’s third title. Full report here.

At the Thun Invitational in Switzerland, Bruce Mouat’s team of Duncan Menzies, Derrick Sloan and Angus Dowell won six straight games to reach the final against André Neuenschwander’s Swiss outfit. The final went all the way but Bruce and his team couldn’t finish on a perfect seven wins, losing out 5-4.

In the girls’ event, Maggie Wilson and her team won two and lost three and missed out on the playoffs. Jennifer Martin and her team of Hazel Smith, Vicky Wright and Mhairi Baird fared better and, like Team Mouat, made it to the final. The result, however, has not been posted on the event website so I am awaiting confirmation of how they got on. Can anyone in the know help me out at all?

Just an aside, but I couldn’t help noticing that the Friday afternoon game between Carole Howald of Switzerland and Aylin Lutz of Germany featured a score of SEVEN by the Swiss team in the first end. They went on to win 12-5 after six ends – what a great way to start a game…

Murrayfield was hosting the Edinburgh International Seniors this weekend. In the men’s event final, Keith Prentice beat David Clydesdale 8-2 after seven ends. In the women’s final, Kate Adams defeated Barbara Watt 5-4. Full details are here.

Apologies but I don’t have the results of the Lockerbie Superspiel, the latest stop on the Scottish Curling Tour. The draw was here but watch this space…

Contrary to my previous post there were, in fact, four RCCC Funspiel Qualifiers over the weekend at Dumfries, Perth, Forfar and Braehead. There were under 13 and under 15 games taking place and the scores from Dumfries are here. I would check the RCCC website in the coming days for more information.

Finally, the Pacific-Asia Curling Championships came to an end in Naseby, New Zealand with a remarkable pattern in the final games. In both the men’s and women’s events, the final was contested between China and Japan while the fight for bronze in both draws was Australia against Korea:

Both the Chinese men’s and women’s teams are celebrating after winning the finals of the Pacific-Asia Curling Championships 2012 in Naseby, New Zealand. China men won gold after defeating Japan 6-2. Japan took silver while Australia won bronze after defeating Korea. The Chinese women defeated Japan 10-4 earlier on Sunday. Korea won the women’s bronze medal game against Australia.

In the men’s final, Japanese skip, Yusuke Morozumi, kept his side in the game early on after China decided to blank the first end. Morozumi made a triple take-out and then another double take-out with his second stone in the second end, which forced China to take a single point.

After China stole another point in the third end, a score of one point in the fourth end for Japan meant the score was still close at 2-1 going into the fifth end. It wasn’t until the seventh end that China got a much needed two points thanks to a simple draw shot by Chinese skip, Rui Liu. The Japanese skip was short with his last draw to blank the eighth end and with a score of one point in the ninth end, Japan decided to shake hands and end the game in the tenth end with the final score at 6-2.

Having played in the gold medal game, China, skipped by Rui Liu and with Xiaoming Xu third, Jialiang Zang second and Dexin Ba lead, join Japan who were skipped by Yusuke Morozumi, with Tsuyoshi Yamaguchi third, Tetsuro Shimizu second and Kosuke Morozumi lead, at the Ford World Men’s Curling Championship 2013 in Canada.

In the women’s final, China, skipped by Bingyu Wang, with Yin Liu (Third), Qingshuang Yue (Second) and Yan Zhou (Lead), and Japan, skipped by Satsuki Fujisawa, with Miyo Ichikawa (Third), Emi Shimizu (Second) and Chiaki Matsumura (Lead), proved why they were the top two teams in the Championship, with little separating them in the opening stages of the game.

The shot of the game came in the fifth end when Japan skip, Satsuki Fujisawa, on her last stone, made a triple raise to take one point and tie the teams at 3-3. Fujisawa however was inches wide with an attempted tap back with her last stone which gave China skip, Bingyu Wang, the opportunity to draw for four points in the sixth end which gave China a crucial lead. Japan did not recover and in the ninth end they decided to shake hands and end the game with the final score 10-4.

The men’s bronze medal game proved to be another exciting game for spectators. Australia changed their line-up which saw Hugh Millikin skip the team but play second stones, Sean Hall moved up to play fourth stones, Ian Palangio third and Stephen Johns still as lead.

Korea also made a change in their line-up, with Chang-Min Kim skip, Min-Chan Kim third, Eun-Su Oh replaced Se-Hyeon Seong as second and Young-Seon Seo as lead.

Australia were rewarded for early pressure when they forced a mistake from Korea in the first end. The final draw from Korea clipped a guard and Australia stole three points. However Korea battled back, taking a score of two points in the second and stealing a single point in the third end.

Australia hit back with two points in the fourth end and a steal of one point in the fifth end to lead 6-3 going into the break. Korea skip, Chang-Min Kim, made a simple take-out in the sixth end to take two points and get within a point of Australia. However, playing fourth stones today, Sean Hall made a double take-out to score three points in the seventh end to give them a 9-5 advantage. Korea took a single point in the eighth and stole a point in the ninth but Australia finished in style as Sean Hall made a triple take-out to score one point and seal the bronze medal for Australia with the final score 10-7.

The women’s bronze medal game was a little more one sided. Korea, skipped by Eun-Jung Kim, with Kyeong-Ae Kim (Third), Seon-Yeong Kim (Second) and Yeong-Mi Kim (Lead), took advantage of hammer in the first end to score two points. Australia, skipped by Kim Forge, with Laurie Weeden (Fourth), Lyn Gill (Second) and Blair Murray (Lead), responded with a single point in the second end before Korea doubled their score with another two points in the third end. With Australia blanking the fourth end, Korea managed to steal another point to lead  5-1 at the fifth end break.

Australia took another single point in the sixth end and stole another point in the seventh end, which kept them within touching distance of Korea. However, Korea Skip, Eun-Jung Kim, made a difficult take out in the eighth end to give her team four more points which was enough to make Australia concede in the ninth end with the final score at 9-3.

Final Standings PACC 2012 (Team won-lost)

Women:

1. China 11-1 (Gold medal & qualified for World Women’s Curling Championship 2013) 2. Japan 8-5 (Silver medal & qualified for World Women’s Curling Championship 2013) 3. Korea 9-4 (Bronze medal) 4. Australia 4-9 5. New Zealand 3-8 6. Kazakhstan 1-9

Men:

1. China 8-1 (Gold medal & qualified for Ford World Men’s Curling Championship 2013) 2. Japan 6-3 (Silver medal & qualified for Ford World Men’s Curling Championship 2013) 3. Australia 5-4 (Bronze medal) 4. Korea 5-4 5. Chinese Taipei 2-4 6. New Zealand 1-5 7. Kazakhstan 0-6

Bingyu Wang on the PACC podium for the ninth time in her career – she has three silver medals and this victory in Naseby was her sixth gold

The full gallery is on the event website here.

Congratulations to winners around the globe this weekend – I will fill in the blanks from Thun, Lockerbie and the funspiels early in the week so keep checking back.

Weekend Curling 23-25 November

The Canadian Mixed Curling Championship final will be contested between Nova Scotia and Ontario. Full details are here.

At the Pacific-Asia Curling Championships in Naseby, China and Japan have stolen the show with their respective men’s and women’s teams qualifying for the 2013 World Championships. All that remains is to see who will win the Pacific-Asia title. The event website is here.

The results of the National Masters Qualifiers are on the RCCC site here.

Three of Scotland’s junior teams are in Switzerland for the Thun Invitational. Jennifer Martin, Maggie Wilson and Bruce Mouat are all in action at this EJCT event – keep an eye out for live games on laola1.tv here. Team Mouat have won both their games so far, Team Martin have lost both theirs and Team Wilson have won one and lost one. The event website is here.

Murrayfield is hosting the Edinburgh International Seniors this weekend. All the details are here.

The Scottish Curling Tour is in Lockerbie for the Lockerbie Superpsiel. Check out the Tour blog for information here.

Dumfries is hosting two RCCC Funspiel Qualifiers for Under 13s and 15s. Follow the events here.

Finally, the TV schedules for the upcoming European Curling Championships in Karlstad, Sweden have been released. Time to start planning your viewing – listings are here.

Midweek Updates – 21 November

That’s Peter de Boer above with Kenny Thomson and Scott Becker sweeping. They are currently competing at the Pacific-Asia Curling Championships in Naseby, New Zealand. The event website is here.

Home advantage doesn’t seem to be coming in to play sadly as Team New Zealand’s men are sitting in 6th place in the round-robin on a W1 L4 record at the moment. China and Korea lead the way on W4 L0.

In the women’s competition, it’s the same two nations who occupy the top spots. China look formidable on a W7 L0 record while Korea are on W6 L1.

Congratulations to Olga Ten and her Kazakhstan women’s team who recorded the nation’s second win in international curling with their 9-8 defeat of Japan.

Canadian curling fans should be keeping an eye on the Canadian Mixed Curling Championship where Nova Scotia and Quebec lead the way on W7 L2. Full details are here.

Closer to home, Greenacres is currently hosting the National Masters Qualifiers. The RCCC has all the scores and teams here.

The World Curling Federation is seeking nominations for its Hall of Fame. Criteria and nomination forms are here and a list of previous inductees is here.

Finally, Gail Munro sent me a message on Facebook about a personalised numberplate. (There’s a sentence I never thought I’d say…) She was contacted by someone in Glasgow who has the plate CU12 LER (CURLER) for sale. Gail isn’t looking for one but if anyone out there fancies it and has £10,000 to spare then here’s the page where you can get in touch with the seller.

To all my readers in the USA, and WordPress tells me there are a few, have a very happy Thanksgiving tomorrow (Thursday).

Weekend Winners 16-18 November

Here’s a report from Christine Stewart about the Scottish Province Championship:

Twenty-nine teams took to the ice at Greenacres Curling Rink for the 2012 Province Championship.

Over three days the number of teams were whittled down to just four, Loch Leven and Moray 1 made it to the high road final, East Lothian and Central played for the low road title.

The high road teams were tied at five all at the half way point, Loch Leven took a two in end five then stole a single the sixth for a three shot lead. The seventh was blanked and Moray 1 ran out of stones in the final end.

The Championship title went to Ross McCleary, Craig Gudmundson, Hugh Thomson and Gavin Baird.

Central dominated the low road final from the opening ends establishing a lead of four in the first three ends. East Lothian got singles in ends four and five, the teams swapped two scores in the next couple of ends. Central (Lee McLeary, Judith McFarlane, Barbara McPake and Eric McKay) went into the final end with a two shot lead and last stone advantage, they scored one shot to win the game 7-4.

Scottish Province Champions 2012 – Loch Leven (L-R): Ross McCleary, Bill Duncan (President RCCC), Hugh Thomson, Gavin Baird, Craig Gudmundson

Scottish Province Low Road Champions 2012 – Central (L-R): Lee McCleary, Barbara McPake, Bill Duncan (President RCCC), Judith McFarlane, Eric McKay

The RCCC has more about the event here.

They also have something on the Aberdeen Ladies Open here.

Pacific-Asia Curling Championships 2012

The 2012 Pacific-Asia Curling Championships are underway in Naseby, New Zealand – the third time the country has hosted the event.

13 teams (7 men’s and 6 women’s) from the World Curling Federation’s Pacific-Asia region are taking part in the event.

In the women’s competition, teams from Australia, China, Japan, Kazakhstan, Korea and New Zealand are playing to secure the two qualification places for the World Women’s Curling Championship 2013 in Riga, Latvia (16-24 March).

Kazakhstan are making their first appearance at the Pacific-Asia Curling Championships and are being skipped by Olga Ten, a fourth place finisher at the Asian Winter Games in 2007.

Olympic bronze medallist, China’s Bingyu Wang, returns as skip of the Chinese team for the 8th successive year. Three-time silver medallist at the Pacific-Asia Junior Curling Championships, Eun-Jung Kim, skips a young Korean team who are making their first appearance at this level.

In the men’s event, teams from Australia, China, Chinese Taipei, Japan, Korea and New Zealand are vying for the top two spots and qualification for the Ford World Men’s Curling Championship 2013 in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada (30 March – 7 April).

Four-time Pacific-Asia Curling Championship gold winner, Rui Liu, returns to skip the Chinese men’s team who are looking for back to back gold medals at this Championship.

Kazakhstan are also being represented for the first time in the men’s event. They are skipped by Viktor Kim who was in the same team as compatriot Olga Ten in the team that finished fourth at the 2007 Asian Winter Games.

Full team line-ups are here and the event schedule is here. Be aware for game times that Naseby is currently 13 hours ahead of Scotland. There is an article about the history of the game in New Zealand here.

Kenny Thomson, lead player for Team New Zealand, got in touch with a reminder to point all curling fans in the direction of the NZ Curling Association website here. Kenny and his skip Peter de Boer are expat Scots so be sure to follow their progress – Team New Zealand were the only team to beat champion Glenn Howard at the 2012 Worlds in Basel. Kenny also tells me that he reckons Naseby is the only dedicated curling facility in the Southern Hemisphere – can anyone out there dispute this? Three of Team New Zealand (Phil Dowling, Scott Becker and Kenny himself) will all be sporting moustaches at the event in support of Movember.

Watch this space for news from Naseby throughout the week…

Weekend Roundup 16-18 November

Eve Muirhead and her team had a great run at the Rogers Masters of Curling where they made it to the semi-finals. Eve and her team of Anna Sloan, Vicki Adams and Claire Hamilton lost out to eventual winners Team Rachel Homan of Ottawa. Team Muirhead finished in joint 3rd place officially and take away $7,500. Congratulations to Eve and her team. Kevin Koe won the men’s event. Full details are here.

Maggie Wilson won the Aberdeen Ladies Open by defeating Kay Gibb 5-2 in the final. Full results are here.

The Scottish Province Championship was won by Loch Leven who beat Moray 1 8-5 in the final. Congratulations to the Loch Leven team of Ross McCleary, Craig Gudmundson, Hugh Thomson and Gavin Baird. The Low Road final was won by Central 7-4 over East Lothian. East Lothian made it to the final after their semi-final opponents, Upper Strathearn, lost the game by default due to a player playing the wrong position. All the scores are here.

Weekend Preview 16-18 November

Apologies for not getting this up sooner but I’ve been on the road again.

We’ll start with Eve Muirhead and her team who are still over in Canada. This weekend they are playing in their final World Curling Tour event – the Rogers Masters of Curling in Brantford, Ontario. Part of the Grand Slam of Curling, the event began yesterday (Thursday) and runs until Monday. Big prize money at stake and a stellar line-up once again.

Team Muirhead started well with a 7-5 win over Calgary’s Shannon Kleibrink and followed this up with a comprehensive 9-3 victory against Winnipeg’s Cathy Overton-Clapham in just five ends – a big five in the first proving to be the perfect start. By contrast, Eve lost her next game 8-2 after five ends to Ottawa’s Rachel Homan – a five in the last for the Canadians killing it off. They bounced back, however, with a 5-4 win over Edmonton’s Laura Crocker. As I type, they have just lost 8-4 to Coldwater’s Sherry Middaugh. All the event information is here. There is also a men’s event being played – details are here. Vicki Adams, playing second for Team Muirhead, was celebrating her birthday today (Friday) so a very Happy Birthday to Vicki!

Staying in Canada, the Canadian Mixed Curling Championships are being held at the moment in Montreal. All the information is here.

Finally, for followers of the game in Canada, four-time Canadian Champion and 2008 World Champion Jennifer Jones has had her first child. Isabella Ann is the first child for Jones and her partner Brent Laing who plays second on current World Champion Glenn Howard’s team. With parents like these, what are the odds Isabella Ann will become a curler?

Away from Canada, Curl Aberdeen is hosting the Aberdeen Ladies Open from today (Friday) until Sunday. 22 teams are in action – follow it all here.

Greenacres is hosting the Scottish Province Championship this weekend. 30 teams are competing including last year’s champions from Stirlingshire province. Team list, draw and scores are all here.

Last night (Thursday), the Scottish Sports Hall of Fame welcomed six new members to its ranks. Among them was Rhona Martin who, in 2002, famously gave Team GB their first Winter Olympic Gold medal since Torvill and Dean in 1984 by skipping her team to victory ten years ago in Salt Lake City.

Congratulations to Rhona who becomes the first curler to be inducted into the Hall of Fame – why not relive that amazing moment from a decade ago here

Enjoy your weekend and keep a look out for my preview of the Pacific-Asia Championships which begin on Sunday.