Monthly Archives: March 2014

Beijing – Days 1 & 2 (Saturday & Sunday)

Scotland opened their campaign at the 2014 World Men’s Curling Championship in Beijing, China with a game against Oskar Eriksson’s young Swedish team on Saturday – their only game on the first day of play.

That’s Scotland skip Ewan MacDonald above with Euan Byers and David Reid the sweepers.

The game against Sweden did not start well for the Scots as Eriksson and his team took a three with the hammer in the first end putting Scotland on the back foot from the off.

A single in the second should have been a two when Ewan’s final draw came up short and when the Swedes took their two in the third for a 5-1 lead things were already looking ominous.

6-2 down at the break had become 8-3 going into the eighth and when Scotland could again only score a single in nine they decided to call it a day.

Ewan later talked about struggling to get used to the ice conditions, something that several of the teams have cited as an issue so far.

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

Saturday’s results:

Switzerland 7-8 Russia
USA 7-9 Czech Republic
Germany 11-5 China
Scotland 4-8 Sweden

Denmark 3-6 Canada
Russia 5-9 Germany
Sweden 8-6 USA
Norway 9-5 Japan

Standings after Day 1 (W-L)
2-0 Germany, Sweden
1-0 Canada, Czech Republic, Norway
1-1 Russia
0-1 China, Denmark, Japan, Scotland, Switzerland
0-2 USA

Not the best of starts for Scotland but they were up against tough opposition on Saturday in the form of Eriksson’s Sweden.

Big end of the day went to Norway who scored a four against Japan.

Sunday was the second day of play at the World Men’s and saw Scotland face the two Pacific-Asia teams in the tournament – first up was Rui Liu and China on home ice.

That’s Scotland’s third player Duncan Fernie and skip Ewan MacDonald above.

This game saw a great comeback from the Scots, battling back from four down to twice level the game and force an extra end, but it wasn’t enough and they suffered defeat number two.

After a close first half that saw China 3-2 up at the break, the game then stepped up a gear. Duncan played a spectacular quadruple clearout in the sixth end (take a look here and scroll to 1:35:00 to see it) but the Chinese still managed to score a three and lead 6-2.

The game swung again in the eighth when a real guddle of stones in the house made life difficult for China – when Liu failed to remove some Scottish counters it was a steal of three after a measure and game on.

Twos were traded in the ninth and tenth but China picked up a three in the extra end when Liu hit out Ewan’s last stone which had finished slightly too open.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7  8  9 10 11     Total
CHN* 1 0 2 0 0 3 0 0 2 0  3         11
0 1 0 1 0 0 1 3 0 2 0          8

Sunday’s early results:

China 11-8 Scotland (EE)
Switzerland 9-4 Czech Republic

Sweden 5-7 Germany
Japan 9-6 Canada
Denmark 3-8 Norway
USA 6-5 Russia (EE)

Scotland’s second game on Sunday came against Japan skipped by Yusuke Morozumi.

With two defeats from two, Scotland were keen to not finish the opening weekend without a win but Morozumi and Japan had other ideas.

The Japanese took a two with the hammer in the first end and never really looked back from that initial advantage – Scotland were not able to even draw level at any point.

The sixth end was the real killer when Japan stole a two to take a 6-2 lead and although Scotland did keep in touch with a two of their own in eight, it was a three in nine that handed Scotland their third-straight loss.

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

Sunday’s late results:

Czech Republic 5-9 Norway
Denmark 5-6 Switzerland (EE)
Japan 9-4 Scotland
China 6-9 Canada

Standings after Day 2 (W-L)
3-0 Germany, Norway
2-1 Canada, Japan, Switzerland, Sweden
1-2 China, Czech Republic, Russia, USA
0-3 Denmark, Scotland

Well, it goes without saying that the table does not make happy reading for Scotland as they are currently propping up the field with Denmark – not a situation many will have predicted.

Germany are the surprise package so far and Canada have already tasted an early defeat – we could be in for a really close week as teams fight for the playoffs.

Calling games on the third day of play ‘must-wins’ may seem a bit premature but if Scotland don’t pick up at least one win on Monday then you have to feel that their playoff hopes are already in serious jeopardy.

Switzerland (0700 UK time) and Denmark (1200) await for Ewan and his team on Day 3 – let’s hope it’s third day lucky for the Scots.

Sunday’s big end went to Norway again who scored another four, this time against the Czech Republic. In fact, Norway are the only team to have scored over a three in one end so far.

Remember, the official website is here and you can catch select live games here.

Photos are © WCF/Richard Gray 2014

2014 World Men’s Curling Championship

The eyes of the curling world are currently on Beijing, China as it hosts the 2014 World Men’s Curling Championship.

This is the very first WCF World Championship event to be held in China and only the third time that such an event has been hosted in the Pacific-Asia region after World Women’s Championships in Aomori, Japan (2007) and Gangneung, Korea (2009).

Welcome to my event preview.

The Essentials

The two websites you will need to follow the event in full are the official event site and the Facebook page – get them bookmarked, favourited or liked and you won’t miss a thing.

Beijing operates China Standard Time which, until 0100 on Sunday 30, is eight hours ahead of the UK and is seven hours ahead thereafter – do bear this in mind if you want to watch any live games or keep track of scores.

I’ll have more on the timings later when I rundown Scotland’s games.


This edition of the World Men’s, the 56th overall, is being staged at the Capital Indoor Stadium, an indoor arena with a capacity of 17,345 that was built in 1968 and renovated in 2001 for the World University Games – it was expanded and renovated once more in time for the 2008 Olympics where it hosted the volleyball events.

The City

Beijing is the capital of China and was also the seat of the Ming and Qing dynasty emperors until the formation of a republic in 1911.

The city is the political, educational and cultural centre of the country and boasts a population of 21,150,000.

Find out more here.

Curling in China

Despite being the most populous nation in the world with 1.35 billion inhabitants, China has approximately 500 registered curlers (including 200 juniors) and five ice facilities where curling is played.

The Chinese Curling Association recently launched a website for the first time – take a look here.

Chinese curling teams have traditionally come from Harbin in the north-east but it is the city of Yichun that has been earmarked as the ‘heart and soul’ of curling in China and a new four-sheet facility opened there recently.

The CCA has only been around since 2002 but in that time China has made its mark on the world stage with a women’s world title in 2009 and a Winter Olympic bronze in the following year.


In this World Championship, ten ends are scheduled and a minimum of six ends must be completed in the round-robin and tie-breaker games. A minimum of eight ends must be completed in all playoff/final stage games.

Round-robin play takes place from Saturday 29 March until Thursday 3 April with tie-breakers (if needed) and playoffs on Friday 4, remaining playoffs on Saturday 5 and medal games on Sunday 6.

Qualified Teams

Here are the twelve teams who will be battling it out in Beijing and how they got to the World Men’s:

China – Host Association/Federation
Japan – Finished second at the 2013 Pacific-Asia Curling Championships
Canada and the USA – Automatic qualification due to no challenge from other Americas zone members
Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Norway, Russia, Scotland, Switzerland and Sweden – top eight finishers at the 2013 European Curling Championships

Something new for this next Winter Olympic cycle, each WCF Member Association with a team competing at any of the 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017 World Curling Championships will be eligible to enter teams for the next WCF Olympic Qualification Event scheduled for December 2017 (should they not gather enough points to qualify directly based on their final ranking at the 2016 and 2017 World Championships).

World Men's Curling Championship 2014, Beijing, China-7081

That’s the 2014 Opening Ceremony above and here are those competing teams again, this time with their skip’s name:

Canada – Kevin Koe
China – Rui Liu
Czech Republic – Jiří Snítil
Denmark – Rasmus Stjerne
Germany – John Jahr
Japan – Yusuke Morozumi
Norway – Thomas Ulsrud
Russia – Andrey Drozdov
Scotland – Ewan MacDonald
Switzerland – Peter de Cruz
Sweden – Oskar Eriksson
USA – Pete Fenson

Five of these teams (China, Denmark, Germany, Norway and Russia) were competing in Sochi at the Winter Olympics.

For the full team lineups check out this page on the official website.

Team Scotland

Scotland (L-R): Ewan MacDonald (Skip), Duncan Fernie (Third), David Reid (Second), Euan Byers (Lead), Glen Muirhead (Alternate), Tom Pendreigh (Coach, not pictured)

Here’s the team representing Scotland over in China and they are there because they won the 2014 Scottish Men’s Curling Championship in Perth in February where they went undefeated.

With three world titles to his name, Ewan MacDonald is Scotland’s most successful international curler and his team in Beijing bring a mix of youth and experience to the tournament – we could see them go far this week.

Here’s their full schedule:

All times are UK

Sat. 29 – 0600 – v. Sweden
Sun. 30 – 0200 – v. China*
Sun. 30 – 1200 – v. Japan
Mon. 31 – 0700 – v. Switzerland
Mon. 31 – 1200 – v. Denmark
Tue. 1 – 0200 – v. USA
Tue. 1 – 1200 – v. Czech Republic
Wed. 2 – 0200 – v. Norway
Wed. 2 – 0700 – v. Russia
Thu. 3 – 0700 – v. Canada*
Thu. 3 – 1200 – v. Germany

Not the most fan-friendly times here in Europe but we should still be able to get a good idea of how things are progressing for Ewan and the boys.

*These games are available live on the WCF’s YouTube channel along with others – full listings are here.


If history is anything to go by in the World Men’s then the likelihood is that Sweden, Canada or Scotland will provide the winning team as the last time a team outside these three were crowned World Men’s Champions was Switzerland in 1992.

But history can never be relied on when it comes to curling!

That said, I believe that the winners will come from one of four teams – Canada, Norway, Scotland or Sweden.

Kevin Koe took Canada to World Championship glory in 2010 and he and his team will no doubt be hungry for a repeat performance. They are a rink I admire but it has already been announced that they will not play together next season – could this be unsettling?

Thomas Ulsrud is coming to the end of his playing career and it would be great to see him on top of the podium with his Norway team come the end of the week. The last time we saw the Norwegians win a World Men’s was 1988.

Team Ulsrud certainly stand out as one of the most experienced teams in the field and they easily have the capabilities but can they see the games out when they really matter? Ulsrud has three World bronzes to his name – can he upgrade in China?

Scotland may not be playing with a familiar or established lineup but they have a real chance of going far in this tournament with some hugely experienced players. Medals are not beyond them but they are going to have to beat the best if they want the big prize – if things go their way, Ewan could claim his fourth world title.

Sweden come into this tournament as reigning World Champions but it is not Niklas Edin who is back to defend his nation’s crown. Instead, Sweden have sent Oskar Eriksson and his youngsters to represent them in Beijing – a decision that has surprised many in the curling world. They are an outfit with huge potential and frequently take big wins against big teams on the tour events both in Europe and further afield.

Just a few weeks ago they beat Brad Jacobs and his Olympic Champions 8-1 after three ends during a Grand Slam event in Canada – rule this team out at your peril.

If you are looking for surprises, however, then consider keeping an eye on hosts China after their great Winter Olympic run, Rasmus Stjerne’s tricky Danes, Switzerland’s talented youngsters and the experience of the USA’s Pete Fenson.

But as I always say before (and during) these big events…


Photos are © WCF/Céline Stucki and WCF/Richard Gray 2014
Image is © WCF

Weekend Curling 28-30 March

The season feels like it is almost over but there are still a few events, both big and small, to get through before we can put the curling shoes away for the summer.

Events don’t come much bigger than the World Men’s Championship which gets underway on Saturday in Beijing, China – watch this space for my guide to the tournament.

Here’s what to look out for closer to home…

Braehead is hosting the National Virtual Club Challenge on Saturday and all twelve of the RCCC’s virtual clubs will be represented.

24 teams are competing in a two-section Schenkel and you can find out more about the event here and here.

Braehead was the first rink to pilot the virtual club idea back in 2006 and it seems to have proved very successful – long may it continue.

The Edinburgh International Curlers’ Gathering began today (Friday) at Murrayfield and runs until Sunday.

This event has been running since 2005 and the 2014 edition features teams from Sweden, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Slovakia, Norway, Canada and Russia. With more foreign teams in attendance than ever before it is set to be a fine social occasion and I’m sure Murrayfield will put on a great show and afford the visitors a very warm welcome.

Keep an eye on the Murrayfield Facebook page for more information.

Finally, the Canadian Senior Curling Championships conclude this Sunday in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories.

You can follow all the weekend’s playoff action here.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, the winners will not be heading to Dumfries for the World Seniors but will instead be going to the 2015 event – Canada does things differently because the competitions used to overlap.

Images are © RCCC and CCA

Weekend Roundup 21-23 March

It’s about time I provided a catchup of all the events that were taking place towards the end of last week and over the weekend.

Team Switzerland © CCA/Michael Burns

Sunday saw the conclusion of the 2014 World Women’s Curling Championship in Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada.

Canada v. Switzerland was the gold medal game and as you can see it was Binia Feltscher’s Swiss rink who were celebrating on Sunday night after they beat Rachel Homan’s team 9-5 in nine ends.

I don’t think many people had given this team much of a chance coming in to the tournament but they had a great run and were worthy winners in the end. This is Switzerland’s fourth World Women’s title after previous successes in 1979, 1983 and 2012.

For Canada, the wait goes on – 2008 was the last time they lifted that magnificent trophy.

There was a piece of international curling history made in the bronze game where Anna Sidorova’s Russia beat Korea skipped by Jisun Kim 7-6 after an extra-end.

This is the first time that a Russian team has won a medal at this level and they did it in some style as they were 6-4 down going down the last, picked up a two and then stole in the extra – exciting stuff.

So the final standings from the 2014 Women’s Worlds looked like this:

1. Switzerland (Gold)
2. Canada (Silver)
3. Russia (Bronze)
4. Korea
5. Sweden
6. USA
7. China
8. Germany
9. Czech Republic
10. Denmark
11. Scotland
12. Latvia

For all the scores and other information from the event take a look here and you can relive the final in full here.

Canadian MD Logo © Canadian Curling Association

Staying in Canada and Ottawa, Ontario was hosting the Canadian Mixed Doubles Curling Trials from 19-23 March – the second time this event has been staged.

32 teams were competing in this one including Olympic medallists Kaitlyn Lawes and John Morris but it was the husband and wife team of Wayne and Kim Tuck who won the event after seeing off Charley Thomas and KaLynn Park – we’ll be seeing them in Dumfries in April for the World Mixed Doubles.

The event website was here.

I’ve been giving Canadian curling a lot of attention so far – just one more event I promise.

The Canadian Senior Curling Championships began in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories on Saturday and runs until this coming Sunday – you can follow this one here.

The winners will also be heading to Dumfries for the Worlds in April.

EDIT: I had emails from three different senior ‘home’ nation curlers explaining that this year’s Canadian Seniors’ winners will, in fact, be competing at the 2015 World Seniors while the 2013 Canadian Senior Champions are headed to Dumfries – thanks for the information!


Some event news from a little bit closer to home now.

The Maxwell Trophy was being played for last Tuesday (18) in Hamilton and it looks like Ayr won this competition by beating the local Lanarkshire team in two of the three final games – you can find all the scores here.

The Sir Richard Waldie-Griffith Inter-Province Competition was won by Border this season who had an impressive average of 12.25 – more information on this event is here.

Braehead was hosting the Funspiel finals on Sunday 23 for Under 13s and 15s and this did indeed sound like a lot of fun for the youngsters who were competing with some great prizes on offer – a full report is here.

Finally, Stranraer was hosting the Scottish Pairs Championship last weekend where 24 teams from 19 different rinks were taking part.

Eight teams made it to Sunday morning’s quarter-finals and they were narrowed down to two for the afternoon’s final – The Peak (Lee and Judith McCleary) v. Braehead (Alan Hannah and Alasdair Schreiber).

It was the husband and wife combo of Lee and Judith McCleary who won the final 5-2 making them only the third team in the competition’s 33-year history to include a female in the lineup – many congratulations to the McClearys.

A full report of the weekend’s event is here.

Photo is © Michael Burns/CCA 2014
Images are © CCA and RCCC

Saint John – Day 6 (Thursday)

Thursday was the final day of round-robin play at the 2014 World Women’s Curling Championship in Saint John, Canada.

Scotland, skipped by Kerry Barr, were already out of playoff contention and were now looking to enjoy their final two games and maybe pick up some more wins to head home on a high.

It was also an opportunity to give Hannah Fleming (above) some more Worlds experience.

The first game of the day was against Allison Pottinger’s USA team and with the Americans making an early steal to go 3-1 up after three ends and the Scots only able to pick up singles with the hammer this was always looking like an uphill task. With the USA’s lead ever increasing the handshakes were offered after the ninth end with the score at 8-4.

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

Thursday’s early results:

Korea 8-6 USA
Russia 8-5 Switzerland
Germany 6-4 Latvia
Sweden 10-5 China

Czech Republic 5-9 Switzerland
USA 8-4 Scotland
China 4-6 Canada
Denmark 5-10 Germany

And so to the final game of Scotland’s World Championship campaign against Jisun Kim’s high-flying Korean team – Hannah made an appearance in this one too.

Like so many of the Scots’ recent games they were chasing from early on as the Koreans established a 4-1 lead after three ends that became 7-3 after six. Despite Scotland managing to steal twice in this contest it was not enough and Korea ran out 10-5 winners inflicting a seventh successive defeat on Kerry and her team.

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

Thursday’s late results:

Latvia 4-10 Denmark
Canada 9-6 Sweden
Scotland 5-10 Korea
Czech Republic 8-7 Russia

Final Round-Robin Standings (W-L)
1. Canada (10-1)
2. Switzerland (9-2)
3. Russia (8-3)
4. Sweden, Korea (8-3)
6. USA (6-5)
7. China (6-5)
8. Germany (3-8)
9. Czech Republic (3-8)
10. Denmark (2-9)
11. Scotland (2-9)
12. Latvia (1-10)

Scotland leave the tournament with something of a whimper, scoring only singles on Day 6, despite their previous good wins and great performances against some top opposition – I am sure the whole team are immensely proud to have worn those Scotland shirts and I hope they had a wonderful time in Canada.

Kerry, Rachael, Rhiann, Barbara and Hannah can now say that they played for Scotland at the 2014 Women’s Worlds and nobody can ever take that away from them. Well done girls!

Big end of the day on Thursday was shared by several teams who all scored fours – Korea, Sweden and Denmark. In fact, Denmark should get the award because they did it twice and one of them was in a defeat.

So what do those final standings mean?

Well, Canada and Switzerland play the 1v2 game late on Friday night while Russia advance to Saturday’s 3v4 playoff.

Fourth place, however, was up for grabs in a tie-breaker on Friday evening between Korea and Sweden and it was the Koreans who took this one 7-5 so, somewhat surprisingly, we won’t be seeing Sigfridsson and co. in the playoffs.

The final games look like this:

All times are UK.

Friday 21 – 2230 – Canada v. Switzerland (1v2)
Saturday 22 – 1200 – Russia v. Korea (3v4)
Saturday 22 – 1700 – Semi-final (Loser of 1v2 v. Winner of 3v4)
Sunday 23 – 1500 – Bronze game (Loser of 3v4 v. Loser of semi-final)
Sunday 23 – 2230 – Gold game (Winner of 1v2 v. Winner of semi-final)

All clear?

You can keep track of these final, decisive games here on the official website or watch them live on the WCF’s YouTube channel.

Photo is © CCA/Michael Burns 2014

Saint John – Day 5 (Wednesday)

With slim hopes of making the playoffs fast disappearing, the last thing Scotland wanted was to face any of the fancied teams at the 2014 World Women’s Curling Championship.

On Wednesday they had to confront two of them in the form of Switzerland and Sweden.

As you can see from the photo above Hannah Fleming has now made her debut at a World Championship – she came on after the fifth-end break against the Swiss in place of Rachael Simms.

I would strongly suggest that this is not the last World Women’s that we see Hannah participate in.

Anyway, back to Wednesday’s action and first up for Scotland was Binia Feltscher’s Swiss team.

Switzerland were on the front foot from the very beginning and had established a 3-0 lead by the second end. Some singles in reply from the Scots kept it close but the real killer came in the fifth end when Switzerland scored a five to take an 8-2 lead into the break. Twos were traded after the restart but when Scotland could only score a single in eight handshakes were offered. This result, coupled with China’s defeat of Denmark meant that Scotland were now unable to claim a playoff spot.

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

Wednesday’s early results:

Canada 7-5 Germany
China 9-3 Denmark
USA 7-6 Czech Republic (EE)
Switzerland 10-5 Scotland

With qualification for the playoffs now beyond them, Scotland went into the game against Margaretha Sigfridsson’s Sweden with nothing to lose and they took the Olympic silver medallists all the way – it was good to see a tight game again after some big defeats.

Hannah started this game in place of Rachael Simms and the game began well with the Scots taking a two with the hammer but they immediately conceded a three. Scotland responded well with another two and with the Swedes only taking one in the fourth end the score at the break was level at 4-4.

A steal in the sixth was cancelled out by a single from Scotland in seven but when Sweden took a two in the eighth and Scotland could only reply with a single in nine Kerry and her team were heading down the last end a shot down and without the hammer. Some good build up play from the whole team, however, meant that Maria Prytz (last stone player for Sweden) was left with a pressure shot which was ultimately too heavy and it went to an extra end.

Sadly, after coming so far, Kerry’s last shot in the extra was long leaving Sweden shot without having to play their last stone.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7  8  9 10   11    Total
SCO* 2 0 2 0 0 0 1 0 1 1 0        7
0 3 0 1 0 1 0 2 0 0 1        8

Wednesday’s late results:

Scotland 7-8 Sweden (EE)
Czech Republic 10-2 Latvia
Russia 7-4 Denmark
Canada 10-3 Korea

China 2-10 Russia
Germany 4-9 Korea
Sweden 3-5 Switzerland
USA 7-3 Latvia

Standings after Day 5 (W-L)
8-1 Canada, Switzerland
7-2 Russia, Sweden
6-3 China, Korea
5-4 USA
2-7 Czech Republic, Scotland
1-8 Denmark, Germany, Latvia

So Scotland bow out of this year’s Women’s Worlds after a brave effort against some of the best teams in the world and they can be very proud of running Olympic medallists and the like very close in several games.

No real surprises about the teams at the top and Thursday’s play proved interesting as teams were not only looking to secure a playoff berth but also a spot in the coveted 1v2 game – with Russia v. Switzerland and Canada v. Sweden on Day 6 the stakes could not have been higher.

Big end of the day on Wednesday was that five that the Swiss scored against Scotland.

You can find out how the final round-robin scores went on the official event website here and remember that you can watch select live games here.

Photo is © CCA/Michael Burns 2014

Saint John – Day 4 (Tuesday)

After plenty of close games and a few good wins, Tuesday at the 2014 World Women’s Curling Championship brought Scotland back down to Earth with a bump.

That’s Kerry Barr in action above calling on the sweepers Barbara McPake and Rhiann Macleod.

Their first game of the day was against the Russian team skipped by Anna Sidorova and while they started brightly enough they were unable to keep pace with Russia’s scoring and when Sidorova picked up a three to go 5-2 up at the break it was always looking like a tough task.

An immediate steal of three after the restart effectively ended the contest and although the Scots responded by taking a two with the hammer it was a two in the eighth from the Russians that finally sealed it.

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

Tuesday’s early results:

Russia 10-4 Scotland
Korea 8-5 Czech Republic
Denmark 2-7 Sweden
Latvia 4-8 Canada

Switzerland 2-9 Korea
Sweden 11-4 Germany
Latvia 5-9 China
Russia 8-5 USA

Next up for Scotland on Tuesday was Rachel Homan’s Canada – the home-nation and one of the pre-tournament favourites.

This game began with a degree of consistency in the scoreboard as Scotland were only able to take singles while Homan’s team made good use of last stone advantage to take twos and a 5-2 lead at the break. The three point margin was still there going into the eighth and when Canada managed a steal of one after Kerry’s tap back was too heavy and another steal in the ninth it was all over.

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

Tuesday’s late results:

Denmark 4-8 Czech Republic
Switzerland 8-6 USA
Canada 8-3 Scotland
China 6-4 Germany

Standings after Day 4 (W-L)
6-1 Canada, Sweden, Switzerland
5-2 China, Korea, Russia
3-4 USA
2-5 Scotland
1-6 Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Latvia

Four wins behind the leaders with four games left to play made it a tough position for Scotland to find themselves in and it was only going to get harder on Wednesday with games against Switzerland and Sweden.

Big end of the day went to Korea who picked up a five against Switzerland on their way to a 9-2 win – quite a result.

How Scotland could do with a big end – they haven’t scored more than a two in one end all tournament.

The event website is here and live games can be found here.

Photo is © CCA/Michael Burns 2014

Saint John – Day 3 (Monday)

Scotland started the working week with a mixed set of results at the 2014 World Women’s Curling Championship in Canada.

That’s skip Kerry Barr above with Barbara McPake and Rhiann Macleod the sweepers.

Having picked up their first win of the event on Sunday evening against Germany they went into their first game on Monday against Anna Kubešková’s Czech Republic with a more positive outlook and this helped them get their second win on the board.

It was another low-scoring affair against the Czechs with only singles being scored after Scotland’s initial two with the hammer. The Czechs drew level after an early steal and they went into the break at 2-2. Scotland got a steal of their own in the eighth meaning they could carry hammer into the final end and when Kerry had a nose hit for one the game was Scotland’s.

Kerry summed it up by saying: “That was a good start for us today, we got out of the right side of the bed this morning.”

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

Monday’s early results:

Korea 6-8 China
USA 5-8 Sweden
Switzerland 8-2 Latvia
Germany 3-7 Russia

Latvia 3-10 Sweden
Denmark 2-8 Canada
Korea 6-5 Russia (EE)
Scotland 6-4 Czech Republic

Scotland’s second game on Monday was against Sijia Liu’s Chinese team and even though this wasn’t against the usual lineup of 2009 World Champion Bingyu Wang and her team China always prove tough opponents.

I’m beginning to sound like a broken record when I say that Scotland’s games have been close so far and, sure enough, the Chinese game proved no different with no steals and only singles and twos being scored.

An early miss from Kerry meant the Chinese got a two on the board with hammer at the first time of asking but a good tap up from Kerry meant that the score was 4-4 at the break. China established a 7-5 lead going into the ninth but with Scotland splitting the house early and Kerry being left with a hit and stick the game was tied again. Scotland tried hard to get the steal in the last but China were left with a relatively simple hit with hammer to take the game.

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

Monday’s late results:

USA 3-9 Canada
Scotland 7-8 China
Czech Republic 5-8 Germany
Switzerland 7-3 Denmark

Standings after Day 3 (W-L)
5-0 Switzerland
4-1 Canada, Sweden
3-2 China, Korea, Russia, USA
2-3 Scotland
1-4 Denmark, Germany, Latvia
0-5 Czech Republic

Good to see Scotland staying in contention but their remaining games are against teams above them – Russia, Canada, Switzerland, Sweden, USA and Korea.

It looks like being a tough few days ahead but I’m sure Scotland can pick up some more wins.

Switzerland have certainly been the team to beat so far although the halfway stage doesn’t come until Tuesday – plenty of time for things to change.

Monday’s big end was scored by Canada and the Czech Republic who both managed fours – interestingly, though, the Czechs lost their game.

Don’t forget to check out the official website here and any live games that are being shown here.

Photo is © CCA/Michael Burns 2014

Weekend Roundup 14-16 March

As the picture above suggests, Team GB had a good weekend in Sochi as the Winter Paralympics came to an end.

Aileen Neilson and her wheelchair curling team had made the playoffs where they faced Russia in the 1v4 game early on Saturday morning.

This one did not go to plan for Great Britain, however, as they lost 13-4 largely due to a Paralympic record seven scored by Russia in the fourth end. Believe it or not, the Russian skip had a draw for eight which he missed by wrecking on a guard.

So Russia advanced to the final against Canada while Great Britain faced China for bronze and they dug deep after the heavy defeat to the host-nation to win 7-3 and claim a brilliant bronze and finish on a won six, lost five record – well done guys!

A great effort from Aileen, Gregor, Bob, Jim and Angie as well as coach Tony Zummack in bringing home Great Britain’s second Winter Paralympic curling medal to add to the silver from 2006.

You can welcome the medal-winning team home today (Tuesday) in Edinburgh – full details are here.

You can also relive the moment that the bronze was won here – scroll through the Best of GB section until you find the curlers.

Canada, meanwhile, claimed their third-straight Winter Paralympic curling title with an 8-3 win over Russia.

For more pictures and reaction check out the WCF’s Paralympic website.

Back home, the Scottish Schools’ Curling Championship was being played at Murrayfield over the weekend.

The final was contested between Forfar Academy 3 and Lockerbie Academy 2 with the Lockerbie team winning 5-2 after seven ends.

Congratulations to the winning team skipped by Cameron McNay who had Ryan McCormack, Matthew Reive and Angus Naysmith in his team – all the scores from Murrayfield are here.

Forfar was hosting the Rink Championship over the weekend and this one saw a very closely-fought final between reigning Champions Forfar 1 and Kinross 2 but despite home advantage it was Kinross who came through 6-5 to take the title.

Well done to Ross McCleary, Craig Gudmundsson, Hugh Thomson and Gavin Baird – presentation pictures can be found here on the Forfar Indoor Sports Facebook page.

By the way, I don’t know if you’ve seen this shot from Jeff Stoughton yet but it certainly gets my shot of the weekend.

Photo is © WCF/Alina Pavlyuchik 2014
Image is © RCCC

Saint John – Day 2 (Sunday)

The second day of play at the 2014 World Women’s Curling Championship ultimately proved to be a step in the right direction for Team Scotland after a shaky start.

Kerry Barr (above with Rhiann Macleod and Barbara McPake) faced Madeleine Dupont’s Denmark in the morning game and, like the first game against Latvia, this was a tight affair.

Singles with the hammer were traded right up until the seventh end when Scotland made a breakthrough with a steal of one but, like the Latvia game, they immediately conceded a three before the Danes stole a one to go 7-4 up. Kerry was left with a double takeout in the final end that didn’t come off meaning she could only take a one instead of the intended three to force an extra-end.

After the game, Kerry said: “That was a bit of a disappointment for me personally, the girls played really well – they really upped their game, I just couldn’t finish it off. I need to play a bit better.”

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

Sunday’s early results:

Canada 8-4 Czech Republic
Scotland 5-7 Denmark

Sweden 4-7 Russia
China 3-6 Switzerland
Germany 5-6 USA
Korea 7-4 Latvia

Team Barr’s second game of the day was against Imogen Oona Lehmann’s German team.

Right from the off the Scots were in a more controlling position than they had been in their first two games claiming two steals early on and taking a 4-2 lead at the break. An unfortunate pickup for Kerry’s final stone in seven meant Scotland missed out on a two but still lead 5-3 and when Lehmann got a two of her own in eight the decision was taken to blank the ninth to have hammer coming home – a wise move as Kerry had a tap for a single in the tenth to win the game.

Kerry was clearly delighted to have got Scotland’s first victory: “It’s really nice to be able to finish a game off. I’ve been frustrated with myself but I’m glad we’ve got the first win on the board. This is a massive boost to the confidence and I hope it’s the start of more to come.”

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

Sunday’s late results:

Denmark 2-13 USA
Germany 5-6 Scotland
China 11-5 Czech Republic
Canada 2-8 Switzerland

Standings after Day 2 (W-L)
3-0 Switzerland, USA
2-1 Canada, Russia, Sweden, Korea
1-2 Denmark, Latvia, China, Scotland
0-3 Czech Republic, Germany

A much better day from Kerry and the girls and hopefully they can carry this into Monday’s games against the Czech Republic and China – two wins would be a great boost just now.

Big end on Sunday went to the USA who scored a five against Denmark.

The official website is here and you can catch live games here – a full broadcast schedule is now available on the WCF website.

One Scotland game yet nine featuring a Chinese team that isn’t Bingyu Wang’s outfit – make of that what you will…

Photo is © CCA/Michael Burns 2014