Monthly Archives: October 2013

Muirhead And Murdoch At The Masters

Team Muirhead and Team Murdoch are still in Canada this week, both competing at the Masters of Curling, a grand slam event in Abbotsford, British Columbia.

The competition started yesterday and concludes on Sunday.

Looking at the lineups in both the men’s and women’s events, you could be forgiven for thinking that it was a world championships.

The men’s draw includes teams from ten different countries – Edin, Howard, Koe, Martin, McEwen, Michel, Stjerne, Stoughton and Ulsrud to name just a few as well as New Zealand’s Peter de Boer who has fellow expat Scot Kenny Thomson in his team.

The women’s competition is no less impressive with ten nationalities represented and names like Homan, Jones, Ott, Sidorova, Sigfridsson and Wang to contend with.

So how are Scotland’s two teams faring?

Well, at the time of writing Team Murdoch are on one win (against the seemingly invincible Mike McEwen) and one loss (an extra-end defeat to Glenn Howard).

It is worth noting that Tom Brewster hasn’t featured for the team as yet.

Their next game is against Switzerland’s Sven Michel.

You can follow Team Murdoch’s progress here.

In the women’s draw, Eve Muirhead and her world champions have had a mixed start.

Their first game was an extra-end defeat to Switzerland’s Mirjam Ott but their second game was an extra-end win against Sherry Middaugh.

Their second defeat came this evening against Stefanie Lawton.

Keep up to date with Team Muirhead here.

Image is © WCT

Loose Ends – 29 October

That last post was number 200 on my site – to celebrate, here is a random assortment of curling news, views and miscellany that has caught my attention of late.

First of all, how about a humorous video to get us started?

I found this clip on YouTube of Team David Edwards attempting an around the house challenge with the goal to get the stone as far back up the ice as possible.

The results were interesting to say the least…

Next, calendar news.

After seven years of the popular women’s calendars, 2014 will see the first Men of Curling version.

Nine Canadian curlers reside among the pages along with three faces that are familiar to European curling fans – Thomas Ulsrud, Niklas Edin and Scotland’s own David Murdoch.

As usual, the proceeds go to various charitable organisations and they make a great Christmas present for the curler in your life.

Priced at CDN $29.95, you can order one here.

More details about the calendar and its stars are here.

Two Scottish Curling Tour events are looking for entries.

The Lockerbie Superspiel (22-24 November) and the Kinross Open (13-15 December) still have places available so why not get a team together and earn some tour points?

Details on how to get involved are here.

Participation in any event is crucial so let’s hope these two competitions don’t go the same way of this year’s British Open.

I found out today that the 2013 British Open, due to be played at The Peak, Stirling over the last weekend of November has been cancelled.

Here’s a quote from Irene Hird:

It is with great regret that Stirling Curling Group are cancelling the competition due to lack of entries. To be viable we needed 20 entries but have only received eight despite circulating more than 40 skips, 48 clubs and four provinces.

We have not taken this decision lightly but cannot run a competition with eight entries.

We are not sure if the change of date caused the problem and we will look at this for next year.

Let us hope we can hold the competition next year.

It is disappointing that so few entries were forthcoming – I was looking forward to defending the low road title with my teammates but I guess we’ll have to wait until next year assuming the competition survives…

On a similar theme, Robin Copland has been sharing his thoughts about falling participation in our sport. Have a read of his latest post here and see what Logan Gray has been doing to increase interest at a local level.

Finally, the Ski and Snowboard Show gets underway in London tomorrow (Wednesday) and runs until Sunday 3 November.

Wait, I hear you cry, those are the wrong winter sports!

But, fear not, because curling will feature at Earls Court – have a look here.

Lanes? Icy bullseye? Is anyone willing to head down to London with a book of curling terminology?

I’m allowed to be a cheeky Hack after 200 posts…

Images are © The Community Fundraiser and SCT

Curling Hits The Headlines

Eagle-eyed curling fans will have spotted the following in today’s (Tuesday’s) Scotsman on page 52…

Happy Birthday to Robin Brydone and congratulations once again for his team’s excellent performance in Oslo.

Shame the article contains a few errors – the piece appears to have confused Thomas Halder and Calum Greenwood and their date for the Scottish Juniors is two months too late.

Oh well, it’s still great to see one of our top junior teams make the papers.

Photo is © Ted Edmunds/TVFTH 2013

Weekend Roundup 25-27 October

Scottish teams were both sides of the Atlantic this past weekend – here’s how they got on…

The Curling Champions Tour’s latest stop was in Switzerland for the Curling Masters Champéry.

Three Scottish teams were in attendance, those skipped by Logan Gray, Grant Hardie and Kyle Smith.

All three put in a great showing to win their respective groups with four wins and one loss.

In the playoffs, Teams Smith and Gray were eliminated in the quarter-finals but Grant Hardie and his team made it to the semis where they lost to eventual winner James Grattan of Canada – Team Grattan won every game they played in Champéry.

A great effort from Scotland’s representatives.

All the scores from the event can be found here.

Last season’s Scottish champions Team Muirhead and Team Murdoch were playing in events in Canada.

Eve Muirhead and her world champions were in Winnipeg, Manitoba for the Manitoba Liquor & Lotteries Women’s Classic.

They won the first grand slam of the season but it was not to be in the second as they finished their tournament with three wins and three losses, not sufficient to make the playoffs.

The event was won by Winnipeg’s own Team Jennifer Jones with a devastating 7-0 win over local rivals Jill Thurston after just four ends.

All the scores from Winnipeg are here.

Team Murdoch were in Brooks, Alberta at the Cactus Pheasant Classic.

Like Team Muirhead, they also picked up three wins and three losses, missing out on the playoffs.

The final was another one-sided affair with Team Mike McEwen seeing off Sven Michel and his Swiss team 8-0 after five ends – some real statements of intent from the Canadian teams so far on the tours.

Scores from Brooks are here.

Remember I said to look out for Stranraer’s Allan Lyburn who plays third for Team Rob Fowler? Not only did they see off Team Murdoch in the event and make the quarter-finals but I was informed of another curling connection over the weekend.

Drew Lyburn (older brother of Allan) pointed out via Twitter that Allan is a second cousin of Billy Morton and Jay McWilliam who were both playing for Team Hardie in Champéry.

The curling world really is a small one…

Images are © CCT and WCT

Weekend Curling 25-27 October

It’s all about Scottish teams abroad this weekend – in Europe and beyond…

Three teams are representing Scotland in the latest event on the Curling Champions Tour, the Curling Masters Champéry in Switzerland.

Kyle Smith and his junior world champions Thomas Muirhead, Kyle Waddell and Cameron Smith are there along with Team Gray (Logan Gray, Glen Muirhead, Ross Paterson and Richard Woods) and Team Hardie (Grant Hardie, Jay McWilliam, Hammy MacMillan Jr. and Billy Morton)

Play got underway on Thursday evening and concludes on Sunday afternoon.

So far, Teams Smith, Gray and Hardie have all won two and lost one and sit in the top halves of their respective groups – a promising start from the trio.

You can follow their progress here on the official event website.

Over in Canada, Team Muirhead and Team Murdoch are in World Curling Tour action.

Eve Muirhead and her team of Anna Sloan, Vicki Adams and Claire Hamilton are currently in Winnipeg, Manitoba for the fantastically named Manitoba Liquor & Lotteries Women’s Classic – the second Grand Slam event of the season.

Team Muirhead won the first Slam and It’s one win out of one so far for Eve and her world champions in Winnipeg – they beat Joelle Brown’s local rink 7-2 on Friday evening and now face 2011 Canadian champion Amber Holland and her team in the next round.

The event concludes on Monday – follow Team Muirhead’s fortunes here.

David Murdoch, Tom Brewster, Greg Drummond, Scott Andrews and Michael Goodfellow are in Brooks, Alberta for the Cactus Pheasant Classic.

World champions Team Niklas Edin from Sweden are there along with other big names like Koe, Martin, McEwen, Morris and Ulsrud.

The event began on Thursday and runs until Sunday.

Stranraer-born Allan Lyburn is also in Brooks playing third for Manitoba’s Rob Fowler.

Team Murdoch started with a loss to Brent Pierce but have since picked up two wins against Swedish opposition – Gustav Eskilsson and Oskar Eriksson.

As I type, they are 6-2 up on Korea’s Soo Hyuk Kim.

See how they get on in that game and for the rest of the event here.

Images are © CCT and WCT

October – The Month So Far…

The curling season is most definitely in full swing and it has already proved very successful for some of Scotland’s teams at home and abroad – let’s start with some Champions Tour news.

Three Scottish teams were competing at the Swiss Cup Basel 3-6 October.

Logan Gray, Grant Hardie and David Murdoch all had their teams over in Switzerland.

Team Hardie failed to make the playoffs but an all-Scottish affair between Gray and Murdoch saw Logan and his team advance to a semi-final against Sweden’s Oskar Eriksson which they lost.

Norway’s Thomas Ulsrud won the event – all the details are here.

Next, it was the women’s turn…

The Women’s Masters Basel was taking place from 11-13 October and featured two Scottish teams skipped by Hannah Fleming and Lorna Vevers.

Hannah picked up two wins and three losses eventually being knocked out by fellow Scots Team Vevers.

Lorna came away with four wins and three losses but didn’t make the playoffs.

The event was won by Switzerland’s Silvana Tirinzoni – all the results are here.

Most recently on the tour was the Thompson Curling Challenge in Urdorf, Switzerland.

Taking place from 18-20 October, this event was the first in the Curling Champions Tour’s newly-formed Challenger Series – you can read more about the series here.

The event, which featured no Scottish teams, was won by Switzerland’s Mike Wenger.

I couldn’t help noticing that seven-time European and two-time World champion Andrea Schöpp of Germany was competing in the event despite it being a competition intended for teams who aren’t usually on the circuit to work their way up to major events – perhaps it was just as well that she came third…

Event info is here.

The Scottish Curling Tour had two stops in October – the Forfar Open (11-13) and the Stirling Invitational (18-20).

The Forfar event was won by Ross McCleary who beat Ladies’ event winners Team Kerry Barr in the final.

The report is here and pictures are here.

Team Fraser Hare took the Stirling title against Bruce Mouat – scores are here and a report is here.

There was also some international curling in October at the European C-Group Curling Championships in Tårnby, Denmark.

Taking place from 8-12 October, ‘home’ nation interest was strong as Ireland and Wales featured in the men’s draw alongside Belarus, Iceland, Luxembourg, Romania, Serbia and Slovenia all looking to get a spot at this season’s European B-Group competition in Stavanger, Norway.

The women’s group saw just four teams fighting it out – Belarus, Croatia, Slovakia and Slovenia.

In the women’s group Belarus took gold, Slovenia silver and Slovakia bronze meaning Belarus and Slovenia will feature in Stavanger.

In the men’s group, Alan Mitchell’s Ireland found it tough and finished sixth but Wales can be rightly proud of their curling team as they picked up a superb gold medal to earn the right to go to Norway, beating Romania in the final – Serbia won the bronze, their first ever medal in international curling.

Romania’s silver was their first ever medal too.

So we’ll be seeing Wales and Romania in Stavanger – many congratulations to Adrian Meikle and his team.

The event website is here.

Back in Scotland, there were two ‘slams’ and two events at Stranraer.

Starting with the ‘slams’, the first of the new Under 21 events took place at Kinross 4-6 October with the Kinross Junior Classic.

This was also the first ‘slam’ to feature an English team – Hetty Garnier and her team from Fenton’s.

Bruce Mouat won the boys’ event and Gina Aitken took the girls’ title – these were the two teams who won the Braehead EJCT events back in September, a great start to the season.

All the scores from Kinross are here.

At the other end of the junior age spectrum, Braehead hosted the first Under 14 event on 13 October – this was won by Callum Kinnear and a full report can be found here.

Stranraer held the Unders & Overs from 5-6 October but I have not been able to find any results. Can anyone out there help?

One event at Stranraer we do know the result of is the Scottish Senior Mixed Curling Championship which was won by Team Gary MacFarlane over the weekend of 11-13 October. Full details are here.

The Saturday and Sunday of that weekend saw Murrayfield host the English Curling Association’s Duncan Stewart Trophy.

It was won by Team John Brown (above) who had Ian Paxton (not pictured), Andrew Woolston, Judith Dixon and Alison Barr in his team.

Yours truly was playing for Tommy Campbell’s runners-up. Must try harder…

In wheelchair curling, Kinross was hosting the Kinross Curling International from 15-17 October. That’s Norway’s Jostein Stordahl in last year’s event above.

Six teams who will be representing their countries at the 2014 Paralympics were in attendance along with some Channel 4 television cameras. Watch this space for a transmission date.

Team GB and Scotland’s Aileen Neilson skipped her team to victory over Norway in the final while Sweden claimed the bronze.

A full report can be read here.

Back to the Curling Champions Tour now and its junior incarnation the European Junior Curling Tour – there were two events in October, the first being the Live Channel Cup in Härnösand, Sweden from 11-13 October.

No Scottish teams were present in either the boys’ or girls’ events that were won by Switzerland’s Michael Brunner and Norway’s Nora Hilding respectively.

There was, however, Scottish representation at the Oslo leg of the tour 18-20 October.

Robin Brydone and his team were in Norway along with Gina Aitken and Jennifer Martin.

Team Martin didn’t reach the playoffs with one win and three losses but there was much better news for Brydone and Aitken.

Gina and her team picked up a bronze medal but Robin and his team of Thomas Halder, Calum Greenwood and James Carswell went all the way and beat Switzerland’s Team Hauser to claim a fantastic tour title, trophy and 10,000 Norwegian Kroner!

I would make these boys team of the month, never mind team of the weekend after their performance in Oslo – many congratulations to Robin and his team.

Sweden’s Isabella Wranå claimed the girls’ title.

All the scores are here and a report is here.

Finally for this post, news of Team Muirhead’s recent exploits in Canada.

From 3-6 October, Eve and her team were in Vernon, British Columbia competing at the Prestige Hotels & Resorts Curling Classic.

32 teams from all over the world were competing and Team Muirhead came away with four wins and three losses, losing out to eventual champion Bingyu Wang of China in the quarter-finals.

All the event information is here.

Better things were to come…

Barely a week later, Eve and her world champions were playing in the Curlers Corner Autumn Gold Curling Classic in Calgary, Alberta from 11-14 October.

The first Grand Slam event on the tour, 32 of the biggest names in women’s curling were in attendance and I’m delighted to say that Eve along with Anna Sloan, Vicki Adams and Claire Hamilton won seven straight games including the final against Bingyu Wang to win the event – superb stuff from Eve and the girls.

All the details are here and the RCCC gave the victory a mention here.

Beating Jennifer Jones, Bingyu Wang and Rachel Homan (twice!) is worthy of winning any tournament I’d say.

So that’s me right up to date – always great to report on Scottish victories overseas, long may it continue.

Images are © CCT, SCT, WCF, RCCC and WCT
Photos are © Susan Young 2013 and Andy R Macpherson 2012

September’s Loose Ends

Going for a much-needed holiday in Spain cost me a few weeks of crucial blogging so here is what was left over from September.

October will follow shortly…

The Scottish Curling Tour was in Glasgow for the Braehead Open 27-29 September.

This was the second event on this season’s tour and, like the opening event in Dumfries, the final was between Estonia’s Martin Lill and Scotland’s Kyle Smith.

The Estonians triumphed in Dumfries and they did it again at Braehead to claim back-to-back SCT wins – read a roundup here on the tour website.

The first ‘slam’ event of the season saw the Under 17s at Lockerbie from 28-29 September.

Angus Shearer and his team beat Katie Murray in the High Road final while Luke Carson took the Low Road title against Matthew McConnell.

All the scores are available here.

Images are © SCT and RCCC

2013-14 Season Calendar

You may have noticed that my Calendar page has now been filled in with events for the 2013-14 season.

If anyone out there would like an event included then do get in touch and I will add it to the list – take a look at my Contact page to choose your preferred method of communication.