Monthly Archives: November 2013

Weekend Curling 29 November-1 December

Don’t forget that as well as all the excitement in Stavanger with the Europeans just now there is domestic curling taking place this weekend.

Let’s start with some wheelchair curling.

Team GB skipped by Aileen Neilson are in Canada for the Cathy Kerr International Bonspiel. Taking place in Ottawa, Ontario this event features sixteen top wheelchair teams including Team Canada, Team USA and Team Slovakia ahead of next year’s Winter Paralympics.

Information about the event is here and latest scores are here.

It might seem like an unusual time of year to be talking about the Scottish Women’s Curling Championship but the competition got underway today (Friday) in Dumfries.

Seven of Scotland’s best are competing in a new look event that comprises a double round-robin and a mini playoff. The first five draws are taking place at Dumfries and the remaining games plus the playoffs will be in Perth in February – the usual venue and time.

The event promises to be keenly fought as Eve Muirhead and her team are otherwise engaged in Norway at the moment and will be wearing Team GB kit when the Perth date comes around. But that’s another story…

All the information about this new look event is here. Scores and standings are here.

Here’s the full lineup of skips:

Gail Munro
Jennifer Martin
Gina Aitken
Lorna Vevers
Hannah Fleming
Kerry Barr
Maggie Wilson

It’s hard to see past Hannah Fleming and her young team this season but expect stiff competition from the experience of Gail Munro and Lorna Vevers. Gina Aitken and her juniors have been having a great season as well so keep an eye on them this weekend.

Full team lineups are here.

Dumfries Ice Bowl Curling Association are set to show some games live – check in here over the weekend to catch some of the action if you aren’t able to make it to the rink.

The next Under 17 Slam takes place over the weekend with the Baljaffray Trophy at Greenacres.

24 teams from across the country are competing split into six groups with the finals scheduled for Sunday. You can keep track of this one here.

Images are © RCCC

Stavanger – Day 7 (Extra)

Just a quick update to confirm Saturday’s medal games in Stavanger at the 2013 European Curling Championships.

Gold medal game – Norway v. Switzerland – 1400 UK time
Bronze medal game – Scotland v. Denmark – 0900 UK time

Gold medal game – Scotland v. Sweden – 0900 UK time
Bronze medal game – Switzerland v. Denmark – 0900 UK time

You can watch both gold medal games here on the WCF’s YouTube channel.

Stavanger – Day 7

For the second time in a little over 24 hours, Eve Muirhead’s Scotland women’s team took on Mirjam Ott’s Switzerland at the 2013 European Curling Championships.

The first time out the result did not count for a great deal with both teams having qualified for the playoffs – this time it counted for a great deal more.

The 1v2 playoff game is where teams really want to be come the end of the round-robin and with nine wins and no losses, Scotland were top of the pile with the Swiss just behind.

It was Scotland who triumphed 13-3 early on Friday morning when the teams met in the final round of group play and I am pleased to report that Eve and her team of Anna Sloan, Vicki Adams and Claire Hamilton find themselves in their third consecutive European final having beaten Mirjam Ott’s Swiss team once again – fantastic stuff!

I should point out that this is, in fact, Eve Muirhead’s fourth consecutive European final having skipped a team of Kelly Wood, Lorna Vevers and Anne Laird to silver in 2010 in Champéry – Anna Sloan was alternate though so I guess it’s her fourth final in a row too.

Back to 2013…

In Friday afternoon’s 1v2 game, play began in a tight fashion with singles being exchanged but it was in the fifth end, just before the break, that the Scots pulled ahead. Ott was heavy with her last stone gifting Scotland a steal of three and a 6-1 lead.

When the Scots picked up a four in the seventh handshakes were offered but at this stage in the competition eight ends have to be played so when the Swiss got a single in the eighth, handshakes were offered officially and Scotland had won 10-3.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7  8  9 10 Total
SUI 0 1 0 0 0 1 0 1 X X 3
1 0 0 2 3 0 4 0 X X 10

Mike Haggerty’s report is here.

In the 3v4 game, Sweden’s Margaretha Sigfridsson beat Denmark’s Lene Nielsen 10-2 after eight ends to advance to the semi-final with Switzerland – the Danes will play for bronze.

So Scotland’s women will play in the gold medal match at 0900 UK time Saturday – they will face either Sweden or Switzerland who play the semi-final at 1900 UK time Friday.

The World Curling Federation’s YouTube channel will be showing the game live so if you are not normally an early riser on a Saturday, set your alarm, grab a mug of tea and get behind Scotland’s girls as they go for European gold on St. Andrew’s Day.

In fact if you go on the channel at 1900 tonight (Friday) you will be able to watch the men’s semi-final between Switzerland and Denmark – the losers will play Scotland’s men for bronze.

B Group News

Friday was medals day in the men’s B Group and it was Germany skipped by John Jahr who got the gold with a 9-3 win over Italy. They now play a World Challenge series against Latvia for the remaining spot at the men’s worlds. Hungary claimed bronze with a 7-5 win against the Netherlands.

It was in the women’s B Group where the only remaining ‘home’ nation team featured and Anna Fowler’s England women’s team can be very proud of themselves indeed as they defeated Austria 7-5 to win the bronze medals – many congratulations to Anna and her team of Hetty Garnier, Naomi Robinson, Lauren Pearce and alternate Lucinda Sparks. John Sharp was their coach in Stavanger.

The gold medal game saw Estonia taking on Finland and this one went all the way to an extra-end with Sanna Puustinen’s Finns taking it 9-8. They now face Germany in a best of three showdown for the remaining spot at the women’s worlds.

So we have one ‘home’ nation medal in the bag already – Saturday will be bringing one more for sure and if the Scotland boys are firing, we should get a trio from these Championships.

Come on Scotland!

The event website is here.

Photo is © WCF/Richard Gray 2013

Stavanger – Day 6

Thursday was Day 6 of the 2013 European Curling Championships in Stavanger, Norway and things are getting serious.

With the men’s round-robin having come to an end, Scotland found themselves in a 3v4 playoff game against Denmark.

That’s Scotland’s third Greg Drummond above with Denmark’s Johnny Frederiksen and Rasmus Stjerne for company.

For Scotland the task was simple – beat the Danes to earn the semi-final spot and a chance to make the final. Losing would mean a place in the bronze medal match.

Sadly for the Scots, the latter became a reality.

Denmark under skip Rasmus Stjerne were Scotland’s first opponents in this tournament back on Saturday and it was the Danes who triumphed 10-6 then so Scotland were looking for revenge and a coveted semi-final berth.

A tight game had seen Scotland ahead 4-2 at the break but the Danes were close on their heels and picked up a two to tie things up immediately. Scotland blanked the ninth to retain hammer in the last with the scores 5-5 and it all came down to the last stone. David Murdoch elected to play a hit rather than a draw and it didn’t pay off, the Danes stealing a one and taking the game 6-5.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7  8  9 10 Total
SCO 0 2 0 1 1 0 1 0 0 0 5
1 0 1 0 0 2 0 1 0 1 6

Mike Haggerty’s report is here.

In the 1v2 playoff game, Thomas Ulsrud’s Norway beat Sven Michel’s Swiss team 7-4 after nine ends to go straight to Saturday’s gold medal match.

Norway will face the winners of the Switzerland v. Denmark semi-final and Scotland will play the losers for bronze.

It is perhaps unfortunate that the only team to have beaten Norway all week was Scotland and we won’t get to see them go head-to-head again.

Still no Tom Brewster for the Scots – could things have gone differently if he had been playing?

So 0900 UK time on Saturday, Scotland will be playing either Switzerland or Denmark for a European bronze medal – let’s get behind them as their play in the latter stages of the round-robin surely merited at least a bronze.

For Eve Muirhead and her women’s team, they can seemingly do no wrong just now.

That’s Claire Hamilton and Vicki Adams sweeping Eve’s stone above.

Thursday morning saw the final draw of women’s round-robin play in Stavanger and the undefeated Scots were playing Mirjam Ott’s Swiss team – the 2012 World Champions against the 2013 World Champions.

I think it’s fair to say that we were expecting a closer game than what transpired as Eve and the girls scored big, stealing three ends along the way and took a 13-3 victory after seven ends – a five in Scotland’s final end of round-robin play underlining how dominant this team has been so far.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7  8  9 10 Total
SUI* 0 2 0 0 0 1 0 X X X 3
2 0 3 1 2 0 5 X X X 13

Mike Haggerty’s report is here.

Thursday’s women’s results:

Sweden 7-5 Germany
Czech Republic 5-10 Denmark
Norway 6-9 Latvia
Italy 5-11 Russia
Switzerland 3-13 Scotland

Final Standings (W-L)
9-0 Scotland
7-2 Switzerland
6-3 Sweden, Russia, Denmark
4-5 Czech Republic
3-6 Latvia
2-7 Germany
1-8 Norway, Italy

This is what the final table meant.

Scotland will play Switzerland in the 1v2 game at 1200 UK time on Friday while Sweden made it to the 3v4 game – their opponents had to be decided by a tie-breaker between Russia and Denmark which the Danes won 7-3.

If Scotland win, they are straight to the gold medal game. Lose and they get a second chance in the semi-final. They’ve beaten everyone so far and just two more wins would get them European glory but the stakes are higher now. In fact, I’ve been doing a bit of maths and I make Scotland’s for and against shot count in the round-robin a formidable 91-37.

Scotland, Switzerland, Sweden, Russia, Denmark, Czech Republic and Latvia are all qualified for the 2014 women’s World Championship. Germany will play a best of three match series against the winners of the B Group for that final spot at the worlds. Norway and Italy have been relegated to the B Group for next season.

B Group News

With the English and Welsh men eliminated, ‘home’ nation interest was with the England women’s team skipped by Anna Fowler.

They were playing in the 3v4 playoff game on Thursday against Austria which they won 12-7 earning a semi-final place against Estonia.

Like the Scottish men, however, they will have to fight for a bronze medal after losing 7-2 to the Estonians – a rematch with Austria awaits.

Estonia and Finland will be playing for B Group gold and they will also feature in next season’s A Group.

In the men’s B Group, Germany and Italy have made it to the gold medal game and also next season’s A Group while Hungary and the Netherlands will play for bronze.

The winners of the men’s and women’s competitions will then play the eighth-placed teams from this season’s A Group (Latvia for the men and Germany for the women) in a three match series to get that last spot at the World Championships.

So to recap, Scotland’s men play the bronze medal game against either Switzerland or Denmark at 0900 on Saturday, Scotland’s women face Switzerland in the 1v2 playoff at 1200 on Friday and England’s women are going for bronze against Austria at 1100 on Friday.

We could yet see three medals for three ‘home’ nation teams.

The event website is here.

Photos are © WCF/Richard Gray 2013

Stavanger – Day 5

Wednesday was the fifth day of play at the 2013 European Curling Championships in Stavanger and it proved to be another successful one for Scotland’s teams.

In fact, the last time either the men’s or women’s team lost a game was Sunday evening.

That’s Scotland’s Anna Sloan above with Claire Hamilton and Vicki Adams the sweepers.

Eve Muirhead and her Scotland team only had one game on Wednesday and this was against Marianne Rørvik’s Norway – the host nation.

The Scotland women have been starting their last few games really strongly and they continued this trend with three straight steals against the Norwegians to go 7-0 up after three ends. The result never really looked in doubt and after the fifth-end break the Scots again stole a one which prompted the handshakes from Norway with the score 10-1.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7  8  9 10 Total
SCO 2 2 3 0 2 1 X X X X 10
0 0 0 1 0 0 X X X X 1

Mike Haggerty’s reports are here.

Wednesday’s women’s results:

Russia 6-4 Switzerland
Sweden 8-1 Latvia
Czech Republic 7-4 Germany
Scotland 10-1 Norway
Denmark 7-2 Italy

Scotland are now the only undefeated team and their final game will be against Switzerland early on Thursday morning. While the game is essentially only going to decide who gets the hammer in the 1v2 playoff game, it is still an opportunity for Eve and her team to go undefeated through the group stage – a very impressive feat that is definitely within their capabilities.

Current Standings (W-L)
8-0 Scotland
7-1 Switzerland
5-3 Denmark, Russia, Sweden
4-4 Czech Republic
2-6 Germany, Latvia
1-7 Italy, Norway

Scotland’s men also enjoyed an undefeated day on Wednesday as they completed their round-robin campaign.

David Murdoch (above with French skip Joffrey Vincent) has now skipped his team to five straight wins and a place in the 3v4 game on Thursday evening against Denmark – all of this without Tom Brewster featuring once.

The morning game was against Joffrey Vincent’s France and it was plain sailing for the Scots as they outscored the French and picked up a big steal of three in the fifth to set up a comfortable 9-2 victory after six ends.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7  8  9 10 Total
FRA* 1 0 1 0 0 0 X X X X 2
0 2 0 3 3 1 X X X X 9

The second game of the day for Scotland was always going to be a tougher test in the shape of Norway’s Thomas Ulsrud.

Norway were enjoying an unbeaten record before this game but David Murdoch and the boys took this away from them with an impressive performance. A couple of early steals put Scotland 4-1 ahead halfway and while the Norwegians picked up their twos it was a final stone draw from Murdoch in the last that got the win 6-5.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7  8  9 10 Total
SCO* 1 0 1 1 1 0 0 1 0 1 6
0 1 0 0 0 2 0 0 2 0 5

Mike Haggerty’s reports are here.

Wednesday’s men’s results:

Switzerland 8-3 Russia
Czech Republic 4-6 Norway
Sweden 7-3 Latvia
France 2-9 Scotland
Finland 5-8 Denmark

Czech Republic 8-4 Latvia
Sweden 8-5 Finland
Scotland 6-5 Norway
Denmark 4-5 Switzerland
Russia 10-2 France

So that’s the men’s round-robin over and we know who has made the playoffs as no tie-breakers were required. The big story is that Niklas Edin’s Sweden, reigning European and World Champions, are not going to feature in the latter stages.

Final Standings (W-L)
8-1 Norway
7-2 Denmark, Scotland, Switzerland
5-4 Sweden
4-5 Russia
3-6 Czech Republic
2-7 Latvia
1-8 France, Finland

Here’s what that final table means.

Norway will play Switzerland in the 1v2 playoff game – winners go straight to the final, losers to a semi-final. Denmark play Scotland in the 3v4 game – winners to the semi-final, losers to the bronze game. Winners of the semi-final go the final, losers go to the bronze match. Simple eh? Scotland’s men next play at 1900 UK time on Thursday – three more wins and they are European champions…

Norway, Switzerland, Denmark, Scotland, Sweden, Russia and Czech Republic have all safely qualified for the 2014 men’s World Championship while Latvia will play the winners of the B Group in a best of three matches for that final spot at the Worlds. For France and Finland, they are relegated to the B Group.

And speaking of the B Group…

B Group News

The round-robin stages of the men’s and women’s competitions in the B Group came to an end on Wednesday along with various tie-breakers – I’ll try and keep it simple.

England’s men got themselves a tie-breaker game against Estonia which, unfortunately, they lost 5-4 after an extra-end. They finish on a won five, lost three record.

The Welsh men beat Austria in their final game 7-6 to end their week with four wins and three losses – not enough for a playoff berth.

The English women, however, have progressed to the 3v4 playoff game against either Turkey or Austria on Thursday afternoon. Anna Fowler and her team finished with six wins and three losses in their group.

A relegation tie-breaker was also needed in the men’s blue group which saw Lithuania beat Belgium 9-6 to send the Belgians down to the C Group.

Final Standings – Men, Yellow (W-L)
7-0 Germany
5-2 Italy, Estonia, England
3-4 Turkey
2-5 Spain
1-6 Romania
0-7 Slovakia

Final Standings – Men, Blue (W-L)
7-0 Hungary
5-2 Netherlands, Poland
4-3 Wales
3-4 Austria
2-5 Croatia
1-6 Lithuania, Belgium

Final Standings – Women (W-L)
7-2 Estonia, Finland
6-3 England
5-4 Austria, Turkey, Hungary
3-6 Belarus, Poland
2-7 Slovenia, Spain

So in the men’s event Slovakia and Belgium drop to the C Group and in the women’s it’s Slovenia and Spain who have gone down.

At the top end, Germany play Hungary in the men’s 1v2 game and they will both feature in next season’s A Group. Netherlands play the winner of the Italy v. Estonia tie-breaker in the 3v4.

Estonia v. Finland is the women’s 1v2 and England face the winners of Turkey v. Austria in the 3v4.

The respective playoff winners in both the men’s and women’s get a best of three challenge series against the eighth-place A Group teams for a place at the Worlds.

All will become simpler in a few days…

The event website is here.

Three ‘home’ nation teams to follow in the final stages – be sure to follow their playoff progress on Thursday and, hopefully, beyond.

Photos are © WCF/Richard Gray 2013

Stavanger – Days 3 And 4

With just one full day of round-robin play left, it’s getting serious at the 2013 European Curling Championships in Stavanger, Norway.

That’s the front-end of Team Scotland’s men above – Michael Goodfellow and Scott Andrews. They are part of a team who had had a stuttering start to these Championships and were on two wins and two losses after Day 2.

On Monday and Tuesday, however, things improved hugely.

David Murdoch and his team had just one game on Monday against the Latvians, skipped by Ritvars Gulbis. This game was close all the way – Scotland were 4-3 ahead at the halfway stage and a crucial draw by Murdoch against six Latvian counters in the eighth prevented a surprise defeat.

The final end featured nearly every stone in play and after the Latvians were warned by umpires for deliberating over a shot for approximately five minutes, they missed their attempt handing Scotland a 7-6 win.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7  8  9 10 Total
SCO* 0 0 2 0 2 0 0 1 0 2 7
1 0 0 2 0 1 1 0 1 0 6

Monday’s men’s results:

Russia 4-7 Denmark
Norway 8-6 Switzerland
France 2-6 Sweden
Scotland 7-6 Latvia
Czech Republic 9-11 Finland (EE)

Scotland’s first game on Tuesday was against Jiri Snítil’s Czech Republic team – the bronze medal winners last year. Jiri himself had missed a few games already in this tournament through illness but was back to face the Scots.

This proved to be an efficient all-round performance from Murdoch and the team as they consistently outscored the Czechs and picked up the only steal of the game to take it 9-5 after nine ends.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7  8  9 10 Total
CZE* 1 0 1 0 0 2 0 1 0 X 5
0 2 0 3 1 0 2 0 1 X 9

Scotland’s second game on Day 4 was against Niklas Edin and his reigning European and World Champions.

With two straight wins under their belts, the Scots were on a roll and they saw off the much-fancied Swedes by the same scoreline as they had defeated the Czechs – 9-5.

The key end in this one was the sixth when Edin wrecked with his last stone leaving David Murdoch a hit to roll out two Swedish counters and take a five.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7  8  9 10 Total
SCO* 1 0 0 2 0 5 0 0 1 X 9
0 0 2 0 2 0 0 1 0 X 5

This all means that Scotland’s men are safely qualified for the 2014 World Championships and are assured of at least a tie-breaker in Stavanger even if they lose their final two games against France and Norway.

Mike Haggerty’s reports are here.

Tuesday’s men’s results:

Norway 10-4 Finland
Denmark 9-2 France
Czech Republic 5-9 Scotland
Sweden 5-6 Russia
Latvia 6-7 Switzerland

Scotland 9-5 Sweden
Latvia 4-7 Russia
Finland 7-9 Switzerland
Norway 7-3 Denmark
France 6-7 Czech Republic

Seven games in and Tom Brewster has still not featured – debate has been heated on the Scottish Curling Forum. It goes without saying that people are equally unimpressed that this team has now got Scotland qualified for the Worlds yet won’t be able to play due to the Olympic/Scottish Championships clash.

Somehow, I don’t think we’ve heard the end of this…

Current Standings (W-L)
7-0 Norway
6-1 Denmark
5-2 Scotland, Switzerland
3-4 Russia, Sweden
2-5 Czech Republic, Latvia
1-6 Finland, France

By the way, you can watch Scotland’s game against Norway live on the WCF’s YouTube channel on Wednesday at 1800 UK time.

On to Eve Muirhead (above with Claire Hamilton and Vicki Adams) and her Scotland women’s team who are in devastating form right now in Norway.

After four days of play they are still undefeated and are looking unstoppable just now although I’m sure a certain Mirjam Ott might have something to say about that.

Monday was Day 3 and saw Eve and her team start against Lene Nielsen’s Denmark – this morning contest did not last long as Scotland saw off the Danes 10-1 after just six ends.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7  8  9 10 Total
DEN 0 0 0 1 0 0 X X X X 1
3 2 3 0 1 1 X X X X 10

The Scotland women’s second game on Monday was against the Czechs skipped by Anna Kubešková and although the scoreline shows a 10-9 win for Scotland, it doesn’t tell the whole story as Muirhead and her team were in control from the very start with a big five and never looked like losing from there.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7  8  9 10 Total
SCO* 5 0 0 2 0 1 0 2 0 0 10
0 2 0 0 2 0 2 0 2 1 9

Monday’s women’s results:

Czech Republic 11-1 Latvia
Switzerland 7-3 Sweden
Germany 14-2 Italy
Denmark 1-10 Scotland
Russia 12-3 Norway

Switzerland 10-1 Italy
Latvia 2-10 Russia
Scotland 10-9 Czech Republic
Norway 5-8 Germany
Sweden 6-4 Denmark

Day 4 started where Team Scotland had left off with another win, this time against Veronica Zappone’s Italian team.

Just like the game against the Czechs, Scotland took a big early lead by picking up a five in the first end – when they stole a further two in the second it was as good as over. Further scoring and another steal meant the game was finished after six ends with the score 12-2.

Scotland were not only still unbeaten in Stavanger by this point but Eve Muirhead and her team of Anna Sloan, Vicki Adams and Claire Hamilton had successfully qualified Scotland for the Women’s World Championship.

Like the men, however, they will be unable to play in said tournament where they would have been defending their title from Riga. We’ll save that for another day I think…

1 2 3 4 5 6 7  8  9 10 Total
ITA 0 0 1 0 0 1 X X X X 2
5 2 0 3 2 0 X X X X 12

Margaretha Sigfridsson’s Sweden lay in wait for Scotland’s women on Tuesday evening – a team who this Scotland side have plenty of previous with having beaten them in a European and World final.

This was a great game to watch – tactical and tense with neither side willing to give an inch.

The game went with hammer all the way to the eighth when the singles that had been traded until then saw the Swedes finally take a two. A final-end steal of one for Scotland gave them the win 6-5 when Maria Prytz, Sweden’s last stone player, caught one of her own stones with her final draw.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7  8  9 10 Total
SCO* 1 0 1 0 1 0 1 0 1 1 6
0 1 0 1 0 1 0 2 0 0 5

This win means Scotland are in the 1v2 playoff game on Thursday evening where they will play Switzerland – they will have already met that morning in the final group game where, assuming Scotland can get past Norway on Wednesday, Eve and the girls will be trying to preserve their 100% record.

Mike Haggerty’s reports are here.

Tuesday’s women’s results:

Latvia 6-8 Denmark
Italy 2-12 Scotland
Sweden 13-6 Norway
Czech Republic 3-9 Switzerland
Germany 2-8 Russia

Norway 7-8 Czech Republic (EE)
Germany 2-8 Switzerland
Denmark 6-5 Russia
Latvia 11-5 Italy
Scotland 6-5 Sweden

Current Standings (W-L)
7-0 Scotland, Switzerland
4-3 Denmark, Russia, Sweden
3-4 Czech Republic
2-5 Germany, Latvia
1-6 Italy, Norway

Scotland’s game against Norway will be live on the WCF’s YouTube channel on Wednesday at 1300 UK time.

B Group News

I won’t fill the screen with two days worth of B Group results so here’s a brief roundup of how the ‘home’ nations fared on Monday and Tuesday.

England’s men picked up a comfortable 10-2 win over Spain on Monday then lost narrowly to Germany 5-4 on Tuesday morning and ended Day 4 with a big win over Romania 11-2.

The Welsh men lost 8-5 to Hungary on Monday morning followed by a 9-2 win over Poland in the afternoon. Tuesday saw them thrash Lithuania 13-2 before losing 8-4 to the Netherlands.

The English women beat Austria 8-7 and Spain 7-5 on Monday then lost twice on Tuesday – 6-4 to Hungary and 7-6 to Estonia.

All the ‘home’ nation teams in Stavanger have one game each remaining.

Current Standings – Men, Yellow (W-L)
6-0 Germany
5-2 Estonia
4-2 England, Italy
3-3 Turkey
2-5 Spain
1-5 Romania
0-6 Slovakia

Current Standings – Men, Blue (W-L)
6-0 Hungary
5-1 Netherlands
4-2 Poland
3-3 Austria, Wales
2-4 Croatia
1-5 Belgium
0-6 Lithuania

Current Standings – Women (W-L)
7-1 Finland
6-2 Estonia
5-3 England, Turkey
4-4 Austria, Hungary
3-5 Belarus
2-6 Poland, Slovenia, Spain

The event website is here.

Photos are © WCF/Richard Gray 2013

Stories From Stavanger

Hugh and Christine Stewart regularly provide me with content for this blog and they often travel abroad for big events – you may remember the pictures they sent me from the men’s worlds in Canada last season.

Well, they are over in Stavanger just now for the European Championships and not only have they been sending me great pictures and impressions but they have been people-spotting in the stands too…

Many thanks to Hugh and Christine for the following words and pictures.

The vast stadium taken into a setting sun

The interior of the arena with the A Group rink to the left, the media / WCTV camera bench in the centre and the B Group rink to the right

The Scotts

Robbie and Kathleen Scott must hold some sort of record – they have been to 31 World Curling Championships, then add to that all the European Curling Championships over the years.

Kathleen was president of the Ladies’ Branch in 2001-02 and Robbie was President of the Royal Club in 2010-11. In that time they’ve seen every final when Scotland took the gold medals.

With so many World and European Championships do they know what country they are in this year?

“Every championship is different,” said Kathleen. “And you get to visit lots of different countries.”

And they have managed to fit in some touring since arriving in Stavanger, including Pulpit Rock, a huge slab which reaches out over the fjord and has great views all round.

At the waterfall they got a glass of water from the spring.

And they are looking forward to 2014, the World Women’s in St. John, Canada then off to China for the men’s championship.

Loyal family support (L-R): Karen Andrews (mother of Scott Andrews), Elsbeth, Claire and Les Goodfellow (mother, sister and father of Michael Goodfellow)

Team Scotland’s men have many supporters and of course that means families in support.

The front end support, the Andrews and Goodfellow family members, have been at every event and they are here in force again – Karen Andrews, plus Elsbeth, Claire and Les Goodfellow. For every game they are out there in the stands with flags and of course cheers for every good shot. They keep the team on their toes and in good heart.

Derek Brown

Derek Brown, national coach for the USA, is in town for the European Curling Championships.

The name may seem familiar and of course we all know Derek from Perth – he has quite a record in Scottish curling both as a player and a coach.

For the last two-and-a-half years he has been coach to Team USA.

He says: “Curling in the USA is booming. There are five or six new clubs and a new curling rink in Minneapolis. It’s a four season curling club, boasting six sheets of ice. Team China have used it for practice and Team Murdoch is heading there in December.”

Derek is still based in Perth, Scotland with his young family, but of course does spend a lot of time in the USA. His accumulated air miles must be very impressive.

From Stavanger he’s back home to Perth for a few days, then he’s off to Füssen, Germany with his US men’s team (John Shuster, Jeff Isaacson, Jared Zezel and John Landsteiner) for the Olympic Qualifiers scheduled for 10-15 December. Eight countries will be playing for the last two places in the Olympic lineup – Korea, Japan, New Zealand, Finland, USA, Czech Republic, Germany and France.

Hugh and Christine also tell me that Joanna Kelly, World Curling Federation Media Officer, would like me to remind you all that games from the Europeans in Stavanger can be viewed for free on the WCF’s YouTube channel.

So get watching!

John Brown, coach of the England men’s team in Stavanger, has also posted his view of the tournament here on his Toothy’s blog – I love the VW curling stones!

Photos are © Hugh Stewart 2013

Weekend Roundup 22-24 November

With the excitement of the Europeans just now, it’s easy to forget the domestic action that has been taking place.

Here’s a quick roundup from home and abroad.

Three Scottish teams were in Switzerland over the weekend for the Thun International.

Bruce Mouat’s team were in the boys’ event while Gina Aitken and Jennifer Martin featured in the girls’ draw.

Bruce Mouat and his team made it to the quarter-finals where they lost out to the Swiss team skipped by Michael Brunner. They finished with three wins and three losses and a final placing of joint fifth out of 12. Switzerland’s Michael Hauser won the event.

Jennifer Martin’s team won four straight games to reach the semi-final where they lost to eventual tournament winners Team Corina Mani of Switzerland – Team Martin’s final ranking was fourth.

Gina Aitken and her team made it to the quarter-finals before losing to, yes you’ve guessed it, a Swiss team, skipped by Carole Howald. Team Aitken finished in sixth place out of ten with one win and four losses.

All the final standings and scores for the boys’ event are here and the girls’ equivalent can be found here.

The Scottish Curling Tour was in Lockerbie at the weekend for the Lockerbie Superspiel.

This one was won by Grant Hardie who beat David Edwards 6-4 in Sunday’s final.

All the scores from Lockerbie are here and the current tour standings are here.

With just two more events to go it’s looking tight at the top.

Murrayfield was hosting the Edinburgh International Senior Curling Championships.

The men’s event was won by Keith Prentice and the women’s event by Christine Cannon – full reports and pictures are here.

Saturday saw the end of the Canadian Mixed Curling Championship in Ottawa, Ontario.

Scotland’s own Kelly Wood was playing in this event as part of Shaun Meachem’s Saskatchewan team – they finished joint-top of the round-robin stage on nine wins and two losses but they lost out to Ontario’s Cory Heggestad in the semifinal.

Alberta’s Darren Moulding skipped his team to the title – all the event information is here.

Images are © CCT, SCT and CCA

Stavanger – Day 2

I’m feeling a sense of déjà vu when I say that Scotland’s teams enjoyed a mixed day on Day 2 of the 2013 European Curling Championships in Stavanger, Norway

So far, the pattern is very similar to Karlstad in 2012.

Let’s start with Eve Muirhead (above) and her team who are enjoying an excellent start to their European campaign.

Having already got one win under their belts on Saturday, Eve, Anna Sloan, Vicki Adams and Claire Hamilton followed this up with two wins on Sunday against Evita Regža’s Latvia and a German team skipped by Andrea Schöpp.

Despite being three shots down against the Latvians, Scotland kept going and picked up a big five in the fourth to get their game going. With the Latvians only able to pick up singles thereafter, Scotland killed the game off with a four in the ninth.

The second game, against Germany, was a much tighter affair. Despite losing a steal of one in the first, Scotland managed to consistently pick up twos with the hammer and when the Germans stole again, Muirhead blanked the ninth to retain hammer for what was to prove a tense final end. With her last stone, Eve just nudged out the German counter to take the win.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7  8  9 10 Total
LAT* 0 2 1 0 1 0 0 1 0 X 5
0 0 0 5 0 2 1 0 4 X 12

1 2 3 4 5 6 7  8  9 10 Total
SCO* 0 2 0 2 0 2 0 0 0 1 7
1 0 2 0 1 0 1 1 0 0 6

Mike Haggerty’s reports are here.

Sunday’s women’s results:

Italy 5-8 Sweden
Russia 6-10 Czech Republic
Latvia 5-12 Scotland
Germany 5-9 Denmark
Norway 2-7 Switzerland

Denmark 9-2 Norway
Scotland 7-6 Germany
Russia 9-4 Sweden
Switzerland 9-7 Latvia
Italy 9-2 Czech Republic

Current Standings (W-L)
3-0 Scotland, Switzerland
2-1 Denmark, Sweden
1-2 Czech Republic, Italy, Latvia, Norway, Russia
0-3 Germany

While Eve and her team are cruising so far, for David Murdoch (above) and his team of Tom Brewster, Greg Drummond, Scott Andrews and Michael Goodfellow things are eerily reminiscent of one year ago when they made a habit of winning one and losing one.

It is worth noting that Tom Brewster has not featured so far.

Scotland’s men started Sunday with a comfortable win over Tomi Rantamäki’s Finland. Despite losing a steal of one in the second end, a big steal of three (after four different measures from two different umpires) put the Scots back on track and they never looked back seeing the game out 9-4 after eight ends.

The second game of the day was against Sven Michel and his Swiss team – this one was a closer game but ultimately disappointing for Scotland. Early exchanges were tight and the Swiss were just one shot ahead at the fifth-end break. It was the ninth end that was to prove crucial as Murdoch wrecked on a guard leaving Michel with a shot for three which he made. The Scots were then run out of stones, losing 8-6.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7  8  9 10 Total
FIN 0 1 0 0 2 0 1 0 X X 4
0 0 2 3 0 3 0 1 X X 9

1 2 3 4 5 6 7  8  9 10 Total
SUI 1 0 0 0 2 0 2 0 3 X 8
0 1 1 0 0 2 0 2 0 X 6

Mike Haggerty’s reports are here.

Sunday’s men’s results:

Finland 4-9 Scotland
France 6-8 Latvia
Switzerland 5-3 Czech Republic
Russia 2-7 Norway
Denmark 9-3 Sweden

Sweden 6-7 Norway (EE)
Russia 6-8 Czech Republic
Latvia 2-6 Denmark
Finland 5-6 France
Switzerland 8-6 Scotland

Current Standings (W-L)
4-0 Denmark, Norway
3-1 Switzerland
2-2 Latvia, Scotland, Sweden
1-3 Czech Republic, France, Russia
0-4 Finland

B Group News

England’s men followed up their win against Turkey on Friday night with victory against the Italians but then suffered a convincing 8-2 defeat by the Estonians. Their female counterparts were already sitting on a W2 L0 record going into Sunday and extended it with a 7-5 win over Poland. The England women’s second game on Sunday saw a disappointing defeat 7-4 to Turkey.

The Welsh men lost their only game of the day 9-4 to Croatia.

Sunday’s men’s results:

Turkey 3-5 Estonia
Spain 2-10 Germany
Romania 7-6 Slovakia
England 6-4 Italy

Estonia 8-2 England
Italy 7-4 Romania

Slovakia 4-7 Spain

Lithuania 5-9 Netherlands
Wales 4-9 Croatia

Belgium 5-10 Austria
Hungary 10-8 Poland
Lithuania 5-7 Croatia

Current Standings – Yellow (W-L)
4-0 Estonia
3-0 Germany
2-1 England, Italy
1-2 Romania
1-3 Spain
0-3 Slovakia, Turkey

Current Standings – Blue (W-L)
3-0 Hungary
2-0 Netherlands
2-1 Croatia, Poland
1-1 Wales
1-2 Austria
0-3 Belgium, Lithuania

Sunday’s women’s results:

Estonia 13-1 Slovenia
Turkey 6-7 Belarus
Spain 1-3 Hungary
England 7-5 Poland
Austria 4-6 Finland

Finland 8-6 Hungary (EE)
Austria 7-6 Estonia
Belarus 9-4 Poland
Slovenia 8-7 Spain
Turkey 7-4 England

Current Standings (W-L)
3-1 England, Estonia, Finland, Turkey
2-2 Austria, Belarus, Hungary
1-3 Slovenia, Spain
0-4 Poland

The event website is here.

Photos are © WCF/Richard Gray and WCF/Jesse Kushneryk 2013