Category Archives: Curling Champions Tour

Weekend Roundup 17-19 October

I am out of the country from tomorrow so I thought I’d get in a roundup of this weekend’s action before I go.

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The European Playdowns in Perth proved to be very exciting and we now know which teams will be representing Scotland in Champéry, Switzerland at the end of next month.

The women’s event was won by Eve Muirhead after she won all four round-robin games and then beat Lauren Gray twice in the final round to secure her team’s place at the Europeans.

Hannah Fleming’s team lost all their games in Perth – not something we are used to seeing from the young skip.

The men’s competition, meanwhile, went right to the wire after David Murdoch qualified from the round-robin alongside David Edwards, the latter needing a tie-breaker against Tom Brewster on Saturday afternoon.

So the best-of-three final was between David Murdoch and David Edwards and it was Edwards who won the first game 6-4 before Murdoch took the event to a deciding game with a 5-4 victory on Sunday morning. The teams met for the crucial decider in the afternoon and it was 6-6 after ten ends meaning the place in Switzerland would come down to an extra-end, Murdoch with hammer.

Sensationally, Team Edwards stole a two against Team GB’s Winter Olympic Skip from Sochi and earned themselves a well-deserved place at the upcoming European Championships – well done boys!

All the scores are here and you can read a report with pictures of the winning teams here.

The European Junior Curling Tour was in Oslo, Norway this weekend for the International Junior Bonspiel.

All four teams from the Royal Caledonian Curling Club’s Academy were in attendance – that’s rinks skipped by Cameron Bryce, Robin Brydone, Karina Aitken and Katie Murray.

Twelve junior men’s and fifteen junior women’s teams from Norway, Russia, Switzerland, Germany, Italy and Sweden were taking part alongside the Scottish representatives.

Despite Karina Aitken scoring a seven in one of her team’s games it was Katie Murray and Robin Brydone who managed to make the quarter-finals – Karina missed out in a tie-breaker.

Ultimately the quarter-finals proved to be as far as any of the Scottish teams would go but great to see them making the latter stages of these tournaments. Switzerland’s Yannick Schwaller took the junior men’s title while Isabella Wranå of Sweden won the junior women’s tournament.

Full results are here.

Finally, Kyle Smith and his team are in Canada just now for the World Curling Tour’s Canad Inns Men’s Classic in Portage la Prairie, Manitoba.

As I type, they are fighting to stay in the tournament against Reid Carruthers of Winnipeg – watch this space to find out how they get on.

Event scores and lineups are here.

Images are © WCF, CCT and WCT

Weekend Roundup 10-12 October

There was plenty going on both at home and abroad last weekend but before I come to my roundup some of you may be aware that the ice rink at The Peak in Stirling (above) is currently closed after cracks were discovered in the wall.

If you weren’t already aware of the issue then you can read more about the closure here on the RCCC’s website, here on the BBC and here on the Active Stirling site.

The Peak is without doubt one of the finest facilities we have in Scotland and it is where our top curlers spend a great deal of time training so I hope that we will see the rink up and running again as soon as possible.

A post on the Scottish Curling Forum suggests that Waterfront in Greenock is also without curling at the moment – let’s hope local curlers from both parts of the country can get back on the ice again soon.

So, back to the recent action.

Basel, Switzerland was hosting the latest event on the Curling Champions Tour, the Women’s Masters.

Teams from nine European countries and one from the USA were competing in the ninth edition of this tournament and three Scottish teams featured in the lineup – Teams Muirhead, Fleming and Gray.

Happily, all three teams made the quarter-finals where Eve Muirhead was rewarded with an all-Scottish tie against Hannah Fleming while Lauren Gray faced Switzerland’s Silvana Tirinzoni.

Team Gray were unable to see off the Swiss team and missed out on the chance to face the winners of the Muirhead v. Fleming clash in the semis. As it was, Team Muirhead faced Tirinzoni in the last four but lost out 8-5.

The three Scottish teams won an impressive fourteen games between them over the weekend, only losing seven – our women’s teams would appear to be in good shape just now.

The event was ultimately won by Binia Feltscher and her World Champions in an all-Swiss final against Silvana Tirinzoni.

For all the scores check out the event website.

The Curling Champions Tour’s junior competition, the European Junior Curling Tour, was in Härnösand, Sweden for the Livechannel Cup and two Scottish teams were playing in this one as well – our teams really are getting around this season aren’t they?

Gina Aitken had her team of Naomi Brown, Rowena Kerr and Rachel Hannen in Sweden while Stuart Taylor was there with Ross Fraser, Bobby Lammie, Gregor Cannon and Alasdair Schreiber.

Team Taylor won all five of their group games which earned them a semi-final spot against Sweden’s Team Zip-Up(!) which they lost 7-6 after an extra-end.

The junior men’s competition was won by Norway’s Gaute Nepstad while Team Taylor lost the bronze game 7-2 to Sweden’s Team Riteice.

Gina Aitken’s team won all three group games which also got them a semi-final spot where they won 5-3 against Team Byman from Sweden. They then faced Sweden’s Team Rilea in the final which you can watch in full here.

As you can see (if you watch until the end) the girls lost out 6-4 to the Swedes but should be very proud of their performance – that’s first place and second place so far on the EJCT.

All the scores are here.

Stranraer was hosting the Scottish Senior Mixed Curling Championship over the weekend – the first national championship of the season.

Archie Craig and his team of Marion Craig, Robin Aitken and Yvonne Aitken won the event after beating Jim Cannon’s team 4-3 despite being 3-1 down with two ends to play – Robin Aitken was injured for the final and was replaced by David Hardie.

All the scores are here and a report is here.

The National Super League Finals were being played at Forfar and more information about the event was available here.

Dundee 1 (Cameron Bryce, Frazer Shaw, Callum Macfarlane and David Jones) beat Forfar 2 skipped by Duncan Menzies in the final.

Finally, Aberdeen was hosting the first of this season’s Under 14 Slam events on Saturday.

The final saw James Craik’s team taking on Lisa Davie and it was Team Craik who came out on top 5-3 after an extra-end.

A full report is here.

Photo is © Ted Edmunds 2011
Images are © CCT and RCCC

Weekend Roundup 3-5 October

Three Scottish men’s teams were in Basel, Switzerland over the weekend for the Swiss Cup, part of the Curling Champions Tour.

Kyle Smith’s team did not make the playoffs and David Murdoch’s rink lost out to Norway’s Thomas Løvold (7-2 in five ends) in a game that would have seen them make the final stages but for Tom Brewster and his team of Glen Muirhead, Thomas Muirhead, Ross Paterson and Hammy McMillan Jr. their weekend could not have gone any better.

Team Brewster beat Jiří Snítil of the Czech Republic 6-5 after an extra-end in the quarter-finals before seeing off Sweden’s Niklas Edin 5-3 in their semi-final.

This meant that Sunday’s final was between Team Brewster and the Swiss outfit skipped by Sven Michel. After the first end was blanked, Team Brewster stole a two and never looked back from there seeing the game out 5-2 – well done boys!

This means that Tom Brewster and co. have become the first Scottish team to win this event since David Murdoch in 2007.

Team of the weekend for sure and how great to see them adorning the event homepage here.

Be sure to ‘like’ their Facebook page too – this team could go far.

The Scottish Curling Tour was in Dumfries for the Sulwath Open and this event was won by Team David Edwards after they beat David Hardie 4-1 in Sunday’s final.

If you don’t already follow Team Edwards’ excellent and entertaining blog then I highly recommend it – you might spot that they have a new lead for this season in Billy Morton.

Some pictures of the boys with their trophy and smart new playing kit can be seen here.

A report on the event is available on the SCT website here.

The latest leg of the Under 21 Slam, the Kinross Junior Classic, was being played over the weekend and there were prizes to be won for both junior men’s and junior women’s teams.

Robin Brydone and his team of David Baird, Callum Greenwood and Thomas Halder won the junior men’s final 4-1 against Team Kerr Sands while the junior women’s title went to Rebecca Morrison who had Amy Bryce, Carolyn Baird and Becca Baird in her team – they saw off Team Sarah Wood 7-5.

Pictures and a full report are available here.

Images are © CCT, SCT and RCCC

Weekend Curling 3-5 October

There is plenty of curling action to follow this weekend including the start of the European ‘C’ Group Championships but I will cover that in a separate post.

32 of Europe’s top male curling teams are engaged in Curling Champions Tour action this weekend with the Swiss Cup in Basel, Switzerland that began on Thursday and concludes on Sunday.

Eleven of the teams are local but there is good representation from the rest of the continent with teams from Austria, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Latvia, Netherlands, Norway, Russia, Sweden and, of course, Scotland.

Teams Brewster, Murdoch and Smith are all flying the flag over in Basel and here’s how they have been getting on:

Tom Brewster and his team beat Team Ruch of Switzerland 4-2 and Team Wunderer of Austria 7-3 before losing 4-2 to Norway’s World Champions skipped by Thomas Ulsrud. They have since followed this up with three straight wins (8-4 and 8-5 v. Teams Baumann and Kapp of Germany) and most notably against Team Murdoch 6-4 – no doubt a very satisfying victory for Team Brewster that saw them make the playoffs.

Team Murdoch have been doing things the hard way despite starting with three wins against Switzerland’s Team Attinger (6-4), Team Løvold of Norway (6-1) and Germany’s Team Kapp (4-2). A 7-5 loss to Ulsrud’s Norwegian World Champions was followed up with a win against Team Snítil from the Czech Republic (5-2) but then they lost the aforementioned battle of the Scottish teams. They are currently playing Team Løvold once again to stay in the tournament – it’s 2-2 as I type.

Kyle Smith’s team have unfortunately already been eliminated from the event after collecting just two wins (7-1 v. Team Šik from the Czech Republic and 5-3 v. Switzerland’s Team Hess) and three one-point losses to Team Schwaller of Switzerland 7-6, Germany’s Team Kapp 6-5 and Team Baumann of Germany 4-3.

You can follow the event here and here.

The Scottish Curling Tour is in Dumfries this weekend for the Sulwath Open.

Sixteen teams are in attendance including two from China – great to see I’m sure you’ll agree.

You can find all the latest scores here and more information here.

Finally, the second of this season’s Under 21 Slams, the Kinross Junior Classic, is being played at the newly-refurbished Kinross Curling.

Sixteen junior men’s and eight junior women’s teams are playing and you can follow all the action here.

Images are © CCT, SCT and RCCC

Weekend Curling 26-28 September

The first women’s event on this season’s Curling Champions Tour began yesterday (Friday) in Stockholm, Sweden.

The Stockholm Ladies Curling Cup sees twenty of the world’s best female teams competing in the Swedish capital and apart from the likes of Feltscher, Homan, Jones, Sidorova and Sigfridsson there are two Scottish teams to be found in the lineup.

Eve Muirhead is there with her team of Anna Sloan, Vicki Adams and Sarah Reid while Lauren Gray skips a team consisting of Jennifer Dodds, Vicky Wright and Mhairi Baird.

The teams have been split into four groups of five with the top two in each group progressing to the playoffs.

Team Muirhead began with a 7-3 win over Ontario’s Sherry Middaugh but then lost two games in succession – 7-5 to Switzerland’s Michèle Jäggi and 5-4 in an extra end to Anna Hasselborg of Sweden.

Team Muirhead’s final game was against Sweden’s Jonna McManus and they won that one 6-3.

Lauren Gray’s team started with a 7-2 defeat to Switzerland’s Silvana Tirinzoni but followed this up with a win against another Swiss team, skipped by Melanie Barbezat, 5-3. They then lost 7-6 to Germany’s Imogen Oona Lehmann and 9-2 to Margaretha Sigfridsson of Sweden.

This means that Team Muirhead finished on W2 L2 and Team Gray on W1 L3 – sadly we will not be seeing either team in the playoffs.

Something that really caught my attention was the game between Olympic Champion Jennifer Jones and Isabella Wranå’s young Swedish team. The local girls had a day to remember as they defeated Jones and her team 8-1 after just four ends – incredible stuff when you consider that this was the Swedish team’s only win of the weekend.

The event website is here where you can find links to live games.

EDIT: The event was won by Sweden’s Margaretha Sigfridsson who defeated Rachel Homan of Canada in the final.

The first event on this season’s Scottish Curling Tour calendar is being played at Braehead this weekend with the Braehead Open.

28 teams from Scotland, Sweden, China, Wales, Ireland and Estonia are in attendance playing in a Schenkel format and there have been some big scorelines already – 18-0 and 21-1 for example.

I’ll let you find out who was on the wrong end of those though! Scores from Braehead are here.

EDIT: Tom Brewster’s team of Glen Muirhead, Thomas Muirhead, Hammy McMillan and Ross Paterson won the event after seeing off Stuart Taylor in the final.

Finally, I should be bringing you details of the Under 17 Slam from Lockerbie but the RCCC’s website appears to be offline at the moment.

Watch this space…

EDIT: Norma Lockhart was very kindly keeping me updated over the weekend while the RCCC’s website was offline – Team MacNay won the Low Road while Team Whyte took the High Road. Full results are here and a report is here.

Images are © CCT, SCT and RCCC

Weekend Roundup 19-21 September

The European Mixed Curling Championship came to an end on Saturday in Tårnby, Denmark and my last report saw the event heading into the semi-finals – here’s how they panned out:

Norway 5-4 Scotland
Sweden 4-2 Switzerland

This meant that Scotland dropped to the bronze medal game where they would play Switzerland while Norway and Sweden contested the final.

The bronze game was close all the way but the Swiss were able to make better use of last stone advantage and they came away with a 7-5 win in a match that featured no steals.

By contrast, the gold game was virtually over before it started as Sweden took a 5-0 lead against Norway after two ends thanks to a steal of four in the second – the game ended 9-2 after six ends.

Sweden become the sixth nation to win the European Mixed and also the last as next season sees a World Mixed Championship being added to the calendar.

Pictures from the final day’s play are here.

Officially, the ‘home’ nations finished in the following positions (out of 25 teams):

4 – Scotland
14 – England
18 – Wales

Reports on all of Scotland’s games can be found here.

Teams Muirhead and Murdoch were in World Curling Tour action over the weekend at the Shorty Jenkins Classic in Brockville, Ontario.

Team Murdoch won four and lost one to make the playoffs where they faced Team Adam Casey of Prince Edward Island in the quarter-finals but they would go no further as the Canadians took it 6-3. The men’s event was won by Olympic Champions Team Brad Jacobs from Ontario who beat the aforementioned Casey 7-1 in just four ends.

Team Muirhead, like Team Murdoch, won four and lost one to qualify for the playoffs and after seeing off Ontario’s Rachel Homan 6-4 a place in the final was their reward.

Another Ontario team, skipped by Sherry Middaugh, were the opponents and despite Eve and the girls battling back from 4-1 down to lead 5-4 it was a four for Team Middaugh in the seventh that killed it and the Canadians won 8-5.

All the men’s scores from Brockville are here and the women’s are here.

Finally, the first leg of the Curling Champions Tour’s European Junior Curling Tour, the Braehead Junior International was taking place in Glasgow.

It may have been the advantage of home ice but Scotland came away with both the boys’ and girls’ titles at Braehead as well as both third-place spots – well done all!

Bruce Mouat and his team of Duncan Menzies, Derrick Sloan and Angus Dowell saw off reigning World Junior Champion Yannick Schwaller from Switzerland 4-3 after an extra end while Gina Aitken’s team of Naomi Brown, Rowena Kerr and Rachel Hannen beat Switzerland’s Elena Stern 6-5.

Pictures of the winning teams can be found here.

Cameron Bryce and Karina Aitken claimed third place in the boys’ and girls’ events respectively.

Not a bad weekend’s work for Scotland’s junior teams I’m sure you will agree.

Images are © WCF, WCT and CCT

Weekend Curling 19-21 September

Two of Scotland’s teams find themselves in Canada this weekend for the Shorty Jenkins Classic – a World Curling Tour event in Brockville, Ontario.

Play got underway on Thursday with the final games scheduled for Sunday.

Sochi Team GB skip David Murdoch is there with Greg Drummond, Scott Andrews and Michael Goodfellow and they find themselves in a formidable field of 24 teams from around the world – look out for the likes of de Cruz, Edin, Gushue, Howard, Jacobs, Ménard, Michel and Stoughton.

Oh and don’t forget Dumfries-born William Lyburn playing with his Winnipeg, Manitoba team.

Team Murdoch started with a defeat (10-5) to Ontario’s Mark Kean but bounced back with a 6-4 win against another team from Ontario, skipped by Jeff McCrady, despite being 4-2 down going into the seventh.

Their third game is against Rob Rumfeldt from (you guessed it) Ontario and you can watch it LIVE here right now.

Keep track of all the scores from the event here.

In the women’s competition, Eve Muirhead is skipping the only non-Canadian team in a field of twelve which includes Rachel Homan.

If you weren’t already aware, Eve has a slightly different team to the one we have been used to seeing for the past few seasons after lead player Claire Hamilton decided not to continue with the team for the 2014-15 season.

You can read Claire’s statement here (scroll to 1 May) and I’m sure we all wish her well in any future endeavours.

EDIT: Andy Macpherson got in touch with a link that should shed some light on what Claire is up to now – it looks like she is swapping the brush for a bike!

Team Muirhead’s new lead player is a familiar face in the form of Sarah Reid – read what she said of the move here (scroll to 15 August).

Sarah made her first international appearance ten years ago skipping Scotland at the World Juniors where she finished seventh but just three years later she won the event with a certain Eve Muirhead at third. Sarah was also alternate for Eve when she won silver at the Women’s Worlds in 2010 and the same colour medal at the Europeans in 2012.

So back to the here and now where the new Team Muirhead started with a 6-3 win against Lauren Mann of Quebec which was followed up by a big 10-1 win in five ends against another Quebec team, skipped by Kimberly Mastine – a steal of five in the fifth ended the game.

Their next game is against Ontario’s Lisa Farnell and you can follow all the scores from Brockville here.

The first leg of the European Junior Curling Tour, part of the Curling Champions Tour, begins this weekend with the Braehead Junior International in Glasgow.

Ten junior men’s and six junior women’s teams are competing including nine from Scotland, five from Switzerland and two from Sweden – disappointing numbers given the event was hoping to attract twelve teams of each gender.

Scores are nowhere to be found on any of the official sources but Forfar Young Curlers’ Facebook profile is doing a grand job of keeping us all up to date – the final games at Braehead are on Sunday.

Images are © WCT and CCT

Baden Update

Two Scottish teams are out in Switzerland this weekend for the Baden Masters – the inaugural tour event of the season.

Team Brewster won two of their round-robin games:

7-3 v. Team Bangerter (Switzerland)
6-5 v. Team Gulbis (Latvia)

But they did not make the playoffs as they lost two as well:

2-6 v. Team Ulsrud (Norway)
4-7 v. Team Pfister (Switzerland)

Team Murdoch had a more successful run in the competition picking up three wins and one loss in the round-robin to make the quarter-finals:

3-4 v. Team Ruch (Switzerland)
5-2 v. Team Freiberger (Switzerland)
6-3 v. Team Stjerne (Denmark)
7-2 v. Team van Dorp (Netherlands)

They then faced Swiss outfit Team de Cruz for a place in the semis and while this one started simply enough with blanks and a single Team Murdoch lost a big six in the fourth and they never recovered, going down 8-3 in six ends.

Four very strong teams make up the semi-finals – Edin, Michel, Ulsrud and de Cruz.

You can follow the remaining action here on the event website.

EDIT: The event was won by Norwegian World Champions Team Ulsrud and with seven victories out of seven they have started the season in fine form.

Image is © CCT

Let The Season Begin…

It may still be August and I’m sure all our curling gear is in a cupboard or bag somewhere but for the pros out there, the season begins today (Friday) with the first event on the tour calendar.

Talking of calendars, look out for mine for the coming season as it will be online soon.

Europe’s premier season-long curling competition, the Curling Champions Tour, is back this weekend with a competition in Switzerland – the Baden Masters in, you guessed it, Baden.

Twenty teams are competing from early on Friday morning until the final on Sunday afternoon and there are two Scottish teams among them.

The big news, unless you have been checking the World Curling Tour website over the summer, is that Tom Brewster and David Murdoch are in Baden but skipping separate teams. In fact, a quick glance here down the list of team lineups shows that there have been plenty of changes this summer as we enter a new Olympic cycle.

Bear in mind that the RCCC have still not yet announced their World Class Performance athletes for the coming season so I think it’s safe to assume that we are in for a season of some great Murdoch v. Brewster clashes.

If you follow the European scene you will see that teams such as those skipped by de Cruz, Edin, Michel and Stjerne for example are displaying different (and in some cases very different) lineups to those that we saw last season. That said, it’s good to see World Champions Team Ulsrud from Norway keeping things familiar.

So who are the curlers representing Scotland out in Switzerland?

Well, David Murdoch is skipping Greg Drummond, Scott Andrews and Michael Goodfellow – the team that won that wonderful silver in Sochi.

Tom Brewster has Glen Muirhead, Ross Paterson and Hammy McMillan Jr in his team according to the World Curling Tour but Thomas Muirhead, Ross Paterson and Hammy McMillan Jr if you believe the Baden Masters website. A bit of digging sees Thomas down as the alternate on the WCT site so let’s just assume there are five men over in Switzerland.

All the teams have been divided into four groups of five which you can see here.

The Curling Champions Tour will be streaming some of the action from Baden here on their YouTube channel.

Odds on an early-season Brewster v. Murdoch game in the knockout stage anyone?

Images are © CCT

Scotland On Tour

With the 2013-14 season almost over, the final tour events on the curling calendar have been played over the past few weeks.

Several Scottish teams have been taking part both in Europe and further afield.

St. Gallen, Switzerland was hosting the final event on the Curling Champions Tour from 9-12 April with the European Masters.

This event saw the teams ranked in the top eight of the Tour standings play for the overall Tour title – Sweden, Scotland and Switzerland were all represented.

Scotland had teams skipped by Logan Gray and David Murdoch out in Switzerland. Glen Muirhead was replaced by Grant Hardie in Team Gray’s lineup for this competition.

Olympic silver-medallists Team Murdoch won their first game but then lost three straight, including a defeat to Logan Gray, but they won their final game to claim third place in the event.

Team Gray went one better by winning three and losing one to make the final where they lost out 4-1 to the Swiss outfit skipped by Pascal Hess.

A great effort from the two teams and you can see all the scores and stats from the event here and pictures here.

One last trip to Canada was in store for two of our top teams as they competed in the final Grand Slam event of 2013-14, the Players’ Championship in Summerside, Prince Edward Island 15-20 April.

Team Murdoch and Team Muirhead were two of the 24 teams competing and for Eve Muirhead there was the added incentive of going in as reigning champion but the likes of Rachel Homan, Jennifer Jones and Margaretha Sigfridsson stood in her way.

Olympic bronze-medallists Team Muirhead began really well with four wins and one loss to set up a quarter-final meeting with Jennifer Jones and her Olympic Champions but the Canadians proved too strong for Eve and the girls, winning 7-5 after stealing a two in an extra-end – Team Jones went on to win the women’s event.

Full details here.

The men, skipped by David Murdoch, won two and lost three which meant they just missed out on the playoffs. Kevin Martin’s team won the competition and this proved to be Martin’s last game as he had earlier announced his retirement. He leaves the game having been Canadian Champion four times and with World and Olympic titles to his name.

All the men’s scores and stats from Summerside are here.

Did you know that was the sixth North American tour event that Team Murdoch played in this season and the eighth for Team Muirhead?

I bet they are looking forward to a well-earned summer break.

Images are © CCT and GSOC