Monthly Archives: December 2013

Weekend Roundup 28-29 December

The penultimate Under 17 Slam of the season was being held at Forfar over the weekend – the final slam will be at Perth in March.

In the High Road final Fraser Kingan beat Katie Murray 6-2 to take the Forfar Slam title.

The Low Road was the battle of the Robins and this one was won by Robin Brydone who had a convincing 8-1 win against Robin McCall.

Pictures of all the winners as well as scores are available here.

Last weekend also saw the start of a Curling Champions Tour event in China – the Yichun International Ladies.

In my preview I mentioned that not a great deal of information was to be found about the event but, sure enough, as the competition has gone on more has become available.

Three Chinese teams are in attendance including 2009 World Champion Bingyu Wang as well as teams Gribi and Tirinzoni from Switzerland, Tracy Horgan’s Canadian outfit, Stephanie Nielsen’s Danes and Cissi Östlund’s Swedish team.

One score that caught my eye was Bingyu Wang beating fellow Chinese skip Yu Xinna 16-1 after just six ends in the first draw – a steal of six in the sixth sealed the big win. In fact, all but one of those sixteen points were stolen.

So far it’s Switzerland’s Silvana Tirinzoni setting the pace as her team have not yet lost a game and sit on top of the table.

More on the event can be found here and here.

Images are © RCCC and CCT

Weekend Curling 28-29 December

With Christmas out of the way, it’s time for the curling to return – here’s what to look out for this weekend.

Forfar is hosting the fourth (and penultimate) Under 17 Slam of the season on Saturday and Sunday.

24 teams are taking part in six groups of four – Ross Whyte and Katie Murray are leading the boys’ and girls’ standings just now so keep an eye out for them.

The leaderboard, draw and place to follow the weekend’s scores is here.

With this event’s proximity to Christmas, I wonder how many youngsters will be sporting new equipment?

Now for an exciting event on this season’s Curling Champions Tour.

Normally I would be bringing you a preview of an event in Switzerland, Scotland or Sweden (or a country in Europe that doesn’t begin with S) but this weekend sees a CCT event taking place in China, a real change from the CCT’s European base.

The 3rd Yichun International Ladies is taking place in Yichun, Heilongjiang province from Saturday 28 until Friday 3 January 2014 – what a great way to see in the new year.

Apart from a wee bit on the event here on the CCT website there doesn’t seem to be a great deal of information out there.

The Curling Zone website and forums provided a little insight into the event, however. Scores should be appearing here during the competition and I am trusting their finish date of 3 January rather than the 1 January date listed elsewhere.

A post on one of the forums suggests that the teams playing are three from China, two from Switzerland and one each from Canada, Denmark and Sweden.

Hopefully as the event progresses, more information should become available.

Images are © RCCC and CCT

Hacky Christmas!

Wishing you a very Happy Christmas from Norway! 🙂

Do you like my new tree ornament? Anyone who says it looks like me will be in trouble…

I hope everyone got a lot of nice new curling gear as we approach the Winter Olympics and all the excitement that it brings – get out there and be inspired when you’ve worked off all the wonderful food.

God Jul fra Norge!

Photo is © Ted Edmunds / TVFTH 2013

Weekend Roundup 20-22 December

Three events to roundup from the last weekend of curling before Christmas.

The 2013 Winter Universiade in Trentino, Italy came to an end over the weekend and Great Britain’s curlers are celebrating after picking up a medal in the men’s competition.

Kyle Smith and his team of Thomas Muirhead, Kyle Waddell, Cameron Smith and alternate Derrick Sloan made it to the gold medal game against a Swedish team skipped by Oskar Eriksson but despite their best efforts lost 9-5 to the talented Swedes.

Canada beat Norway 6-5 after an extra end to take the bronze.

Hannah Fleming, meanwhile, and her team of Lauren Gray, Jennifer Dodds, Alice Spence and alternate Abi Brown lost a closely-fought women’s bronze medal game to Switzerland 8-6.

Russia’s Anna Sidorova (who seems to have been curling as a junior/student forever!) and her team took gold with an 8-4 win over Korea.

Curling has been part of the Winter Universiade since 2003 and before this year’s competition Great Britain had two medals – men’s silver in 2007 and women’s gold in 2011.

With their silver this week, Kyle Smith’s team now make it three medals on the all-time list for Team GB – congratulations to Kyle and his team.

The juniors were in Curling Champions Tour action this weekend as the European Junior Curling Tour stopped in Pinerolo, Italy for the International Junior Bonspiel.

There was no Scottish interest in this one as both the boys’ and girls’ events were made up of teams from Germany, Switzerland and Italy.

Carole Howald’s Swiss team won the girls’ event while her compatriot Michael Brunner won the boys’ competition – another strong showing from the Swiss juniors on the tour.

Lockerbie was hosting the penultimate Under 21 Slam of the season over the weekend.

16 men’s and eight women’s teams were taking part and it was great to see some entries from England and the Netherlands in Lockerbie.

In fact, it was an English girls’ team skipped by Hetty Garnier who made it to the final against Katie Murray – Murray won this one 9-5 despite Hetty’s team being 4-0 up after four ends.

Robin Brydone and Bruce Mouat are two of Scotland’s best junior men’s teams right now and they contested the boys’ final. Bruce and his team took it 6-2.

Fiona Spain and Robert Fawns came third in their respective events.

With just one Slam remaining, I believe Bruce Mouat has taken the overall title by winning the first three events of the season – on a perfect 45 points his team cannot be caught.

If my calculations are correct then Katie Murray and her team have also claimed the girls’ title by winning in Lockerbie.

A nice early Christmas present for both teams who each claim a cool £1000 and the first-ever Under 21 Slam titles – congratulations to Bruce, Katie and their teams.

All the scores from Lockerbie are here.

Images are © FISU, CCT and RCCC

The Curling History Blog

I am spending the festive period in Norway – my third visit this year. I’ll be back in Scotland in 2014.

Am I the only one who can’t say, write or type 2014 without thinking about Sochi? Not long to go…

Now if like me you enjoy a nice relaxing Christmas then I am sure you will appreciate sitting down with something interesting to read, sherry or similar beverage in hand.

Look no further than the Curling History Blog.

I realise that the history of our great sport is not something that everyone is especially interested in or pays much attention to but in a sport like ours I find the history endlessly fascinating.

If you don’t have the Curling History Blog bookmarked by now then you really should!

Now approaching its sixth year, the blog is the project of passionate curling historians David B Smith and Bob Cowan – it was one of Bob’s other blogs, Skip Cottage Curling, that inspired TVFTH.

From time to time I provide links to new content that appears on the Curling History Blog but I realised recently that I haven’t done so in a while.

As luck would have it, some excellent pieces have appeared in the last few months – here is a summary:

Ailsa Craig granite is well-known as a material for making curling stones but how much do you know about other materials that have been used in the past? This article should fill you in on ‘Crawfordjohns’.

‘The mystery of the Traquair painting’ sounds like the name of an old crime film but it is a post from late October about curling and art – have a read here.

These days, outdoor curling is a rare experience yet there was a time when it was the only form of the game. Sadly, the dangers of outdoor curling occasionally became tragically apparent as recounted in this piece here.

Here’s one to get you in the Christmas spirit – a colourful post about curling Christmas cards.

I have saved the best until last.

In early November, Bob posted an extensive piece about curling at the very first Winter Olympics in Chamonix, France in 1924.

Like 2002, Great Britain won curling gold and while plenty of people remember Rhona Martin, who remembers W K Jackson from 1924?

After 1924, curling did not feature officially at a Winter Olympics until 1998 in Nagano, Japan.

Divided into three parts it makes for a gripping read and one that not only sheds some light on Team GB’s ‘other’ curling gold medal but is also a testament to Bob’s research. Excellent stuff.

Part one is here, part two here and part three here.

Weekend Roundup 13-15 December

The Olympic Qualification Event came to an end on Sunday in Füssen, Germany and we now know who will be on the plane to Sochi in 2014.

In the men’s event Germany and the USA booked their places while in the women’s event China and Japan ensured that two more Pacific-Asia teams will be in Russia.

Full details of all the games in Füssen are here.

The Red Sky Challenge event at Braehead was won by Mirjam Ott and her Swiss team – they beat Eve Muirhead and the Team GB girls 11-5 in Sunday morning’s final. In fact, Ott’s team won every game they played over the weekend.

I popped down to catch some of the action on Saturday – pictures to follow.

All the scores are here.

Bruce Mouat and Gina Aitken successfully defended their Scottish Mixed Doubles Curling title in Perth over the weekend. They won all their games to earn the right to represent Scotland at the World Mixed Doubles Championship in Dumfries in April.

All the scores are here.

The Kinross Open, the penultimate event on this season Scottish Curling Tour, was won by David Edwards who saw off Grant Hardie 6-1 in Sunday’s final – this now puts Team Edwards top of the leaderboard with one event to go just ahead of Ross McCleary (assuming I’ve done the maths correctly…)

Scores from the weekend are here.

The third Under 17 Slam was being held in Hamilton on Saturday and Sunday – this one was won by Ross Whyte and his team who beat Robin McCall 6-4 in the final.

Cameron McNay won the Low Road final.

All the scores are here.

David Murdoch and his team made the playoffs at the Curl Mesabi Classic in Eveleth, Minnesota, USA over the weekend.

Having won three and lost one in their group, Team Murdoch secured a quarter-final berth against Ontario’s Trevor Bonot. 3-2 down going into the sixth, the Scots lost a big six which killed the game and knocked them out of the competition.

Bryan Burgess beat European Champion Sven Michel 7-2 after just five ends in the final.

All the scores from Eveleth are here.

Don’t forget that Team GB’s curlers are still involved at the 2013 Winter Universiade.

Kyle Smith and his junior men’s team finished the round-robin with a W6 L3 record to make the playoffs – these begin on Thursday and sees GB taking on Canada.

In the women’s event Hannah Fleming and her team also completed the round-robin on W6 L3 to get a playoff spot against Russia.

Follow the action here.

Images are © WCF, Red Sky Management, RCCC, SCT, WCT and FISU.

Weekend Curling 13-15 December

There is a lot happening in the world of curling this weekend and as you may have gathered from my social media posts I have been moving house hence the lack of content of late.

But fear not! I have an internet connection and I am ready to write once again even if I can’t find my favourite curling/blogging mug for now…

We start in Füssen, Germany where the Olympic Qualification Event is taking place ahead of next year’s Winter Olympics.

This competition began on Tuesday and will conclude on Sunday – it’s the first time such an event has been held before a Winter Olympics.

Eight men’s and seven women’s teams are fighting for the last two places in their respective curling events in Sochi in February. Here’s who is in Füssen:

Men’s teams – Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Japan, Korea, New Zealand, USA
Women’s teams – China, Czech Republic, Germany, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Norway

They are all playing for the right to join the following teams in Sochi:

Men’s teams – Canada, Sweden, Great Britain, Norway, Denmark, China, Switzerland, Russia
Women’s teams – Sweden, Switzerland, Great Britain, Canada, USA, Denmark, Korea, Russia

You can follow all the latest from Füssen here on the official event website and you can watch some of the games live here on the WCF’s YouTube channel.

Now for an event that continues with the Olympic theme but one that had little publicity until very recently.

The Red Sky Challenge might not mean much to you and until 10 days ago I had no knowledge of this event whatsoever.

Sounds mysterious I know so I’d better explain what it’s all about.

Red Sky are a sports management company who look after, among others, Eve Muirhead and her team and they are sponsoring a pre-Olympic challenge event at Braehead arranged by Team GB’s 2002 Olympic Champion Rhona Martin.

The event, which began on Thursday and concludes on Sunday, features four women’s teams who are all heading to Sochi – Great Britain, USA, Sweden and Switzerland.

The games at Braehead are mirroring Olympic conditions to give the teams some top-level practice.

With Eve Muirhead, Mirjam Ott, Erika Brown and Cissi Ostlund all here in Scotland to strut their stuff ahead of Sochi you would think that this event would have been given top billing and the curling community informed about a real spectacle but this does not seem to be the case.

Someone who works at Braehead told me that the event was seemingly kept a secret and that they didn’t know why.

So before this turns into a rant about curling not being given the publicity it deserves, get down to Braehead and watch! Or failing that, games are being streamed according to this post on the Curl Braehead website.

I’ll be heading to Glasgow on Saturday to catch Eve and the girls against Sweden – they are on two wins and one loss so far.

More information about the event is here.

The international curling just keeps coming as Trentino, Italy is currently hosting the 2013 Winter Universiade.

Held every two years, this is the 26th edition of the winter equivalent of the World University Games and some of Scotland’s top young curlers are in Italy representing Great Britain.

Thomas Muirhead, Derrick Sloan, Cameron Smith, Kyle Smith and Kyle Waddell are in the men’s event while Abigail Brown, Jennifer Dodds, Hannah Fleming, Lauren Gray and Alice Spence feature in the women’s.

Cate Brewster, Dave Ramsay and Debbie Knox are in Italy as the coaching team – the RCCC has a full rundown of the Great Britain team here.

After three games, both of Great Britain’s teams have two wins and one loss – follow the action here.

Some domestic action now.

The Scottish Mixed Doubles Curling Championship is taking place in Perth this weekend with sixteen teams in attendance.

Last year’s winners Gina Aitken and Bruce Mouat are back to defend their title – the winners will represent Scotland at the World Mixed Doubles Championship in Dumfries in April.

All the information is here.

The Scottish Curling Tour makes its penultimate stop of the season with the Kinross Open this weekend.

Sixteen teams are fighting for tour points – event information is here and scores are here.

One of the linescores from Friday night suggests that Ewan MacDonald beat Kay Adams 21-5 after seven ends! Can anyone confirm this huge scoreline?

EDIT: I had the scoreline confirmed by Stuart Brand although it was Kate Adams not Kay – apologies.

Finally from a domestic point of view, the third Under 17 Slam is taking place on Saturday and Sunday at Lanarkshire Ice Rink, Hamilton.

24 teams are playing in six sections and you can follow their progress here.

Last but not least, Team Murdoch are in World Curling Tour action in the United States just now at the Curl Mesabi Classic in Eveleth, Minnesota.

They are one of three non-North American teams at the event along with Sven Michel and his European Champions from Switzerland and David Misun from Slovakia.

David Murdoch and the boys have won their first two games and are leading Kent Beadle 4-1 after three ends as I type.

Follow their progress here.

I spotted this tweet from David – it looks like the team are enjoying their pre-Christmas trip abroad!

Images are © WCF, Red Sky Management, FISU, RCCC, SCT and WCT

Weekend Roundup 6-8 December

The qualifiers for the Scottish Junior Curling Championships were taking place in Perth over the weekend and we now know who has made it to January’s Aberdeen finals.

In the junior men’s section it was Bruce Mouat, Grant Barr, Ross Whyte, Cameron Bryce, Kyle Smith, Robert Tait, Stuart Taylor, Robin Brydone and Andrew Callander.

From the junior women’s section Jennifer Martin, Lesley Young, Karina Aitken, Fiona Spain, Gina Aitken, Katie Murray, Kirsty Paterson, Katie Wright and Amy MacDonald are through.

Congratulations to all the teams that made it – full details are here.

Stranraer was hosting the Double Rink Championship this weekend and the scorelines would suggest that Kilsyth ended Musketeers three-year reign as champions – a huge score of seven in one end of one of the final games sealing their win.

Scores are here.

One event I forgot to mention in my preview of the weekend’s action was the US Open International Wheelchair Bonspiel in Utica, New York where Team Scotland skipped by Aileen Neilson were playing.

Happily, I can report that they won the event – more great preparation ahead of Sochi. Details here.

The ICA was holding its Mixed Doubles Playdowns at Dumfries on Saturday and Sunday and this one was won by John Furey and Louise Kerr who will now represent Ireland at the World Mixed Doubles Championship also at Dumfries.

There was to be no fairytale for Katie Kerr on her transatlantic Irish curling adventure but she did make the semi-final with Alan Mitchell before losing out to the eventual winners.

All the reports from Dumfries are here.

Canada now has its two teams for the Winter Olympics after the Roar of the Rings came to an end on Sunday.

Jennifer Jones and her team won the women’s final in front of a home crowd in Winnipeg to seal their place in next year’s Winter Olympics – they saw off Sherry Middaugh’s team 8-4.

Despite being reigning Canadian champions, I don’t believe Brad Jacobs and his team were favourites by any stretch going into the men’s event but, sure enough, they came through the pre-trials and then the trials to earn the right to wear the maple leaf in Sochi.

Jacobs and his team beat John Morris 7-4 in the final.

All the stories from Winnipeg are here.

Images are © RCCC, ICA and CCA

Weekend Curling 6-8 December

The Scottish Junior Curling Championships got underway on Friday with the men’s and women’s qualifiers taking place in Perth.

This event that runs until Sunday sees the best under 21 curlers in the country trying to qualify for the finals in Aberdeen in January.

18 junior men’s teams and 11 junior women’s teams are in action with the top nine going through from each – the top three from each men’s section and the top four from the women’s plus a fifth place eliminator match for the final spot.

All the details of the event are here.

Kyle Smith and his World Junior Champions are in Perth and I would expect to see them qualify along with the likes of Bruce Mouat and Robin Brydone who have both had great seasons so far.

In the junior women’s section Lesley Young, Jennifer Martin, Katie Murray and Gina Aitken should safely progress but with a place at the Aberdeen finals at stake, expect the competition to be keenly fought.

Stranraer is hosting the Double Rink Championship from Friday until Sunday – sixteen teams are in this one.

Musketeers have won this title the last three years running and the other teams will be out to prevent a fourth success.

All the details are here.

The ICA are holding their Mixed Doubles Playdowns at Dumfries this Saturday and Sunday.

All the details of this event are here – the winners will return to Dumfries for the World Mixed Doubles Championship in April.

One story to come out of this event is the identity of one of the competitors.

As the draw says, Alan Mitchell is playing with one Katie Kerr who has travelled all the way from the United States to play in this competition – now that’s dedication.

California-based Katie is part of the ‘Bond Girls’ curling team but it is her Irish grandparents that give her eligibility to play in this weekend’s playdowns.

There is a full interview with Katie here on the ICA website – what a story and the very best of luck to her in Dumfries.

Don’t forget that the final weekend of Canada’s Olympic curling trials is upon us as the Roar of the Rings reaches its climax.

Follow all the action here.

In the men’s event Brad Jacobs, Kevin Martin and John Morris made it to the playoffs – Jacobs and his team went undefeated and are in the final while Martin and Morris, former teammates, play a semi-final.

The major casualty of the group stage was four-time World Champion Glenn Howard who managed just two wins and five losses.

The women’s event saw Jennifer Jones top the table with Rachel Homan in second. Sherry Middaugh and Chelsea Carey played a tiebreaker which Middaugh won meaning its an all-Ontario affair Homan v. Middaugh for the right to play Jones.

I’ll have a roundup of all of the above at the start of next week.

Images are © RCCC, ICA and CCA

Loose Ends – 5 December

If you haven’t been blown away by the bad weather and you still have power then stay indoors and have a catchup of some curling miscellany that I have collected of late – it’s been a while since one of my ‘Loose Ends’ posts so this should keep you interested…

Let’s start with some WCF news.

The November edition of the President’s Newsletter is now available to read online – take a look here.

It rounds up all the international events so far this season as well as providing news of what the various member nations have been up to. There’s also a bit about the perennial topic of Ailsa Craig and the dissolution of the Pacific-Asia Curling Federation.

I was also interested to read that a curling programme at Shanghai University in China has 500 students taking part – I remember years ago at Edinburgh University when we were grateful if we could get eight people to show up never mind 500!

Some sad news from the WCF and that is the death of Ivo Lorenzi at the age of 90.

Ivo is regarded as one of the founding fathers of our sport in Italy and you can read the full story about the pioneering Italian here.

As well as being a developer of the sport, Ivo also represented Italy at the European Championships in Oslo in 1977 where he played lead for Giuseppe Dal Molin’s team – they came fourth.

In Curling Champions Tour news, some new events have been added to this season’s schedule and they are pretty exciting too.

Looking to expand the reach of the Tour, the organisers have announced the Red Square Classic in Moscow, Russia from 19-23 January – a men’s event just before the Winter Olympics.

The women have also been given a new event, the Yichun International Ladies in Yichun, China from 28 December-1 January 2014 – what a way to welcome in the new year.

Find out more here on the CCT website.

Scotland’s David Edwards and his team will be heading to Moscow – watch this space for how they get on.

Some news from Scotland’s governing body next.

A reminder that little over a month remains to get entries in for the Scottish Mixed Championship and the Scottish Pairs Championship – details here.

Applications are now open for the RCCC’s 2014 Curling Camps in Stirling (junior) and Stranraer (adult) – find out more here.

The forty-nine curlers who will represent Scotland at the 2014 Four Nations has been announced – the full list is here.

This season’s event takes place at Lanarkshire Ice Rink, Hamilton over the weekend of 18-19 January with Ireland as hosts.

Time for some 8-enders I think…

Murrayfield has had its first one of the season – see a picture here on the Murrayfield Curling website.

Congratulations to Jenny Bain, Jill Florence, Moira Kinnear and Ruth Addinall who had a hit-and-stick for eight and made it.

Dundee also had an eight on Monday (above).

This was scored in the third end of a Broughty Ferry Curling Club internal league match – congratulations to James Ewart (skip), Jean Clarke (third), Angus McDonald (second) and David Nicol (lead).

You can see more pictures here on the Curl Dundee Facebook page.

In both cases the opponents will, of course, remain nameless.

John Brown’s Toothy’s Curling Blog is a good one to follow and after a long absence he is posting again – his comeback post is here with details of English curling competitions so far this season and also the Welsh International Bonspiel.

More details on the Welsh Bonspiel can be found here on the Welsh Curling Association’s website – scroll down to late October.

John also posted results from the competition formerly known as the Gormac, the Greenacres International Bonspiel – these are here.

I’ll finish with a bit of wheelchair curling news. Thanks to Heather Bell from Star Refrigeration for sending me a report of the National Wheelchair Curling Pairs Championship.

Mo Simpson and Ian Donaldson with Star Refrigeration’s Alan Walkinshaw

A great story of human triumph for another sports champion by the name of Mo. Only this time, it is not the famous Olympic champion Mo Farah, but our National Wheelchair Pairs Curling Champion Mo Simpson, who secured the winning championship title for the second consecutive year with her curling partner Ian Donaldson.

The National Wheelchair Pairs Curling Championship 2013 took place at Braehead Arena in Glasgow over the weekend, where a mix of Paralympians and amateurs competed for the title.

This year, sixteen pairs of curlers took part in the competition which saw participants travelling from all over Scotland, and a couple from Newcastle. The games began on Saturday morning with 24 matches throughout the day that would come to determine Sunday’s Low Road and High Road finals, where Mo Simpson and Ian Donaldson claimed victory.

Speaking about her win, Mo Simpson said: “I always enjoy playing in the Star Refrigeration National Wheelchair Pairs. With the standard of play in the game getting higher, it makes for a more competitive and challenging competition. Especially this year where a lot of the teams were evenly matched.

Winning the competition in 2007 was great. However to win again in 2012 with my current partner Ian Donaldson, and then successfully defend our title this year was – to coin the famous Glasgow phrase – ‘Pure Dead Brilliant!’ Roll on next year for our hat trick!”

The sporting event was streamed live via the Curl Braehead website. This was a first for the event, and it turned out to be a successful addition, with over a thousand sporting fans tuning in over the weekend to watch the games.

David Morgan, Chairperson of the Scottish Wheelchair Curling Association, said: “It was nice to see so many curlers participating this year, with a great turnout of new and old faces getting together to participate in this prestigious event.”

The competition is sponsored by home-grown Star Refrigeration – a household name in Scotland for over 40 years and the UK’s largest independent industrial cooling and heating contractor. Star have been working closely with the leisure industry since 1970, installing 80% of the country’s ice rinks, curling rinks, indoor ski slopes and ice walls, including Braehead Arena.

Star Refrigeration’s Director of Sales, Alan Walkinshaw, said: “I want to congratulate Mo Simpson and Ian Donaldson as the winners of the Wheelchair Pairs National Championships for the second year running. I was impressed by the focus and dedication of all this season’s champions. It was good to see the event continuing to develop – we were pleasantly surprised by the interest in the live webcast.

Judy Mackenzie and Norman Cathcart provided the commentary on the final while it was being filmed, which helped with bringing the contest to a wider audience. The event has brought many wheelchair curlers together over the years, and lifelong bonds have been created through the teamwork and camaraderie encouraged by the games.”

Images are © WCF, CCT and RCCC
Photos are © David Jones and Heather Bell 2013