Category Archives: European C Group

Zoetermeer Roundup


Saturday saw the final games at the European Curling Championships ‘C’ Group in Zoetermeer.

When I last wrote about the competition, Ireland’s women were struggling on no wins and three losses but, happily, they did not go home winless as they won their last game of the week against Romania 7-6 – the final round-robin table looked like this:

1. Slovakia (6-0)
2. Netherlands (4-2)
2. Spain (4-2)
4. Slovenia (3-3)
5. Croatia (2-4)
6. Ireland (1-5)
7. Romania (1-5)

This meant that Slovakia played the Netherlands in the 1v2 game and it was the Netherlands who came out on top 8-5 after an extra-end, winning the gold medal and gaining promotion to the ‘B’ group.

Spain saw off Slovenia 8-4 in the 3v4 meaning it was Spain v. Slovakia for the silver medal and the remaining spot in the ‘B’ group. This time Slovakia prevailed with a 4-3 win and got themselves promoted.

Congratulations to the Netherlands and Slovakia – we’ll be seeing them in Switzerland at the end of November.

The men’s event proved to be fascinating and you’ll recall that Ireland’s men were doing very well – they continued this form to finish on top of the standings with Belgium after the round-robin:

1. Belgium (7-2)
2. Ireland (7-2)
3. Israel (6-3)
3. Slovakia (6-3)
5. Belarus (5-4)
6. Slovenia (5-4)
7. Iceland (3-6)
8. Serbia (3-6)
9. Luxembourg (2-7)
10. Bulgaria (1-8)

So Ireland qualified for the 1v2 game with Belgium – a fantastic achievement and ‘B’ group qualification in their hands.

They started the game well taking a 3-0 lead after three ends but a steal of three by the Belgians in the fifth proved costly and Ireland were ultimately beaten 7-5.

The second chance for qualification would come against the winners of the 3v4 game and in this one it was Israel who saw off Slovakia 7-6 meaning Ireland would face Israel in their final game of the competition with everything to play for.

Ireland had beaten Israel in the round-robin (6-4) but unfortunately they picked the wrong time to lose two consecutive games as the Israelis proved too strong and took the game 7-3 and with it, promotion to the ‘B’ Group.

Craig Whyte from Team Ireland said he was disappointed to miss out on the qualification but that a medal was a good improvement on last year – watch this space for a report on his experience in Zoetermeer.

So, to clarify, here’s who won what:

Gold medal – Netherlands*
Silver medal – Slovakia*
Bronze medal – Spain

Gold medal – Belgium*
Silver medal – Israel*
Bronze medal – Ireland

*Qualifies for European Curling Championships ‘B’ Group

Many congratulations to Ireland for collecting a bronze medal and I’m sure we’ll be seeing them back in the ‘B’ Group before too long.

A cracking result for Israel too and testament to what can be done when a reformed national association really goes for it.

Photos from the event can be found here.

Image is © WCF

European Curling Championships ‘C’ Group

Sunday 5 October saw the start of play at the 2014 European Curling Championships ‘C’ Group in Zoetermeer in the Netherlands.

Seven women’s and ten men’s teams are in attendance all hoping to secure promotion to the European ‘B’ competition that takes place in Switzerland at the end of November.

The teams are playing a round-robin competition until Friday afternoon when the teams who are ranked first to fourth play a knockout round to decide the four nations (two men’s, two women’s) heading to Switzerland.

Women’s teams: Croatia, Ireland, Netherlands, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain

Men’s teams: Belarus, Belgium, Bulgaria, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Luxembourg, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia

You will see there is ‘home’ nation interest as both Irish teams find themselves in this season’s competition – here’s how they line up:

Men: James Russell (Fourth), Craig Whyte (Third), Alan Mitchell (Second and Skip), Arran Cameron (Lead), John Furey (Alternate), Martin Sutherland (Coach)

Women: Katie Kerr (Fourth), Margarita Sweeney Baird (Third and Skip), Hazel Gormley Leahy (Second), Clare McCormick (Lead), Ailsa Anderson (Alternate)

Did you know that everyone in the Irish women’s team except for Hazel Gormley Leahy is making their first appearance at an international tournament? Katie Kerr, meanwhile, has made the trip from the USA for this event – read more about her here and here.

I would like to wish both Irish teams the very best of luck in the Netherlands not least because in Craig Whyte they have a good friend and clubmate of mine!

I’ll also be keeping an eye on my Slovenian friends hoping they can get themselves promoted this year.

It is worth noting that ‘home’ nation interest also extends to the competition officials where we find Scotland’s Anne Malcolm as Chief Umpire, Ireland’s John Burns as a Game Umpire and Mark Callan from Scotland as Chief Ice Technician.

A special mention should go to the men’s team representing the Israel Curling Federation in Zoetermeer – Israel was a member of the WCF from 1999 to 2008 but rejoined the international curling community in 2013.

I have previously linked to this article about a recruitment drive that the ICF had in North America and it seems to have worked – see here.

If you follow the World Curling Tour at all then you may have noticed that a certain Team Freilich, listed as being based in Jerusalem, Israel, now appears on the WCT website – the very same team currently in the Netherlands.


So from Israel to Ireland and a review of how the tournament has gone so far.

Ireland’s women have found it tough going with no wins and three losses after three days of play – they were defeated by Slovakia 10-1, Croatia 12-6 and Spain 8-6.

The men, meanwhile, have been enjoying more success than their female counterparts and are sitting on four wins and one loss going into Wednesday’s draw – they have beaten Belarus 12-8, Serbia 9-7, Israel 6-4 and Iceland 9-4 while their only defeat was against Slovenia 8-3.

For all the latest scores, news, pictures and information I suggest you visit the comprehensive event website here.

Zoetermeer is one hour ahead of the UK if you are planning to follow games as they happen.

It wouldn’t be an international event post without me mentioning some kind of statistic, interesting scoreline or piece of trivia so spare a thought for the Dutch women’s team who, on home ice, scored a five against Slovenia but still lost 10-7.

Images are © WCF, ICF and ICA

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

WCF Loose Ends – 27 May

Instead of simply listing random links to everything on my ‘to write about’ list I thought it would make sense to have some thematic posts – this one concerns news from the World Curling Federation that I haven’t shared in the last few months.

Looking ahead to next season, some competition venues have been announced…

The 2014 European C Group Curling Championships will be held in Zoetermeer in the Netherlands between 6-11 October – more information is here.

Tallinn, Estonia will host the 2015 World Junior Curling Championships from 28 February to 8 March and this represents the first time that Estonia will have hosted a World Championship event.

The 2015 European Junior Curling Challenge is taking place in Prague, Czech Republic between 3-8 January and this will be the sixth time the country has staged this event.

Tårnby, Denmark is set to host the 2014 European Mixed Curling Championship from 13-20 September.

The World Wheelchair Curling Qualification Event will be hosted by Lillehammer, Norway from 1 to 6 November 2014 – the World Wheelchair Championship itself will be in Lohja, Finland in February 2015. The event in Lillehammer will be used to test the venue before the Winter Youth Olympics in February 2016.

Details of all the events above can be found here.

It’s great to see Estonia being awarded its first hosting duties and I’m sure you remember another Baltic nation, Latvia, hosting the Women’s Worlds in 2013. Of course you do – Scotland won gold.

Have a read of this article to find out more about curling in Latvia and the progress they are making.

Three of the biggest names in men’s curling were inducted into the World Curling Hall of Fame during this season’s World Men’s in Beijing, China.

Randy Ferbey (Canada), Patrick Hürlimann (Switzerland) and Eigil Ramsfjell (Norway) all join this list of curling’s elite – find out more about their achievements here.

The WCF has also published its latest World Rankings following the conclusion of this season’s Winter Olympic and World Championship events.

Here’s where the ‘home’ nations currently stand:

3 – Scotland/Great Britain (-1)
21 – England (+1)
27 – Wales (+1)
29 – Ireland (-6)

The biggest movers were Romania (+7) and Ireland (-6)

4 – Scotland/Great Britain (No change)
19 – England (No change)
31 – Wales (-2)
32 – Ireland (-2)

The biggest movers were Belarus and Slovenia (+4) and Germany and the Netherlands (-3)

You can view the full rankings here.

Finally, the latest World Curling Federation Newsletter is now available to read – take a look here.

Image is © WCF

Loose Ends – 6 March

I’ve been saving up plenty of wee stories from the world of curling and I think it’s about time I put them up on the blog.

First of all, the Winter Paralympics are just around the corner and I’ll have more information about that in the coming days. For now, you can find out about a team change for Team GB here.

It seems that Tom Killin fell ill last week and will not be travelling to Sochi for the Games – we all wish him a speedy recovery.

Louise Kerr pointed me in the direction of this nice story about a man from Belfast who jumped on a ferry to try curling for the first time at Stranraer – now that’s dedication!

It seems he’s pretty good too…

Sticking with ‘home’ nation news, it was the English Men’s Championship at Fenton’s in the last weekend of February.

Alan MacDougall and his team won their fifth-straight national title after beating Michael Opel 10-2 in the final.

A full report of the Championship is available here.

Fenton’s also appears in this Dyson advert. Make of it what you will…

While we are on English curling, I hope you have been following the progress of what could become only the second curling rink in England. The proposed facility just north of Bracknell, Berkshire featured in this news item, is live on the local council’s planning pages and the project website is here.

It would be great to see this rink in action in the near future – stay tuned for more information.

The World Curling Federation has announced that the 2016 World Men’s Curling Championship will be held in Basel, Switzerland.

You may recall that in August I had heard that Edinburgh’s bid for this Championship had failed and it seems that this was indeed the case.

Basel held the Europeans in 2006 and the World Men’s in 2012.

More information on the 2016 event is here.

Israel rejoined the WCF in 2013 having previously been a member association from 1999 to 2008 but not much information seems to exist about the Federation or curling in the country itself.

Recently, I came across this article which made for a really interesting read about the recruitment of Jewish curlers in North America as well as giving some more details about curling in Israel.

The piece says that Israel are hoping to compete in the European C Group in the near future – best of luck to them.

Talking about the Europeans brings me on nicely to this post from John Brown on his Toothy’s Curling blog where he reminisces about his own European Championship experiences.

I love John’s star-rating of the various European cities that have hosted the Championships.

Nominations are being sought for the 2014 Scottish Curling Awards in four categories:

  • Young Curler of the Year
  • Team of the Year
  • Grassroots Coach of the Year
  • Ice Diamond Award

For more details on the criteria and to make your nominations take a look at this page on the RCCC’s website. The awards will be presented at the RCCC AGM on Saturday 14 June in Perth.

With Sochi still fresh in our minds, another Winter Olympic cycle has begun and the selection policies for the World Class Performance programme are now available to read here.

Selection for the 2014-15 Royal Club Academy is now open as well – all you need to know is here.

Since I last pointed you in the direction of the Curling History Blog two new posts have appeared.

The first builds on Bob Cowan’s extensive research into the 1924 Winter Olympics and here we find him investigating a mystery woman…

The second piece is about one James Ritchie, an Inspector of the Ice.

While Bob no longer runs his Skip Cottage Curling blog he does have another blog which is still active – take a look here to see how one of our Olympic medallists looked when she was just twelve!

I bumped into Bob at the recent Scottish Finals in Perth where he told me about a new e-book that has come out called End Game.

This digital title was written by the author of the Curl With Math blog, Kevin Palmer, and it claims to be the essential guide for watching curling. If anyone fancies reading it and sending me a review then I would be glad to publish it here on the blog. Or send me a Kindle so I can read it, whichever you prefer…

Images are © ICA, ECA, WCF, ICF and RCCC

October – The Month So Far…

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

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

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

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

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

Next, it was the women’s turn…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Event info is here.

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

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

The report is here and pictures are here.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Romania’s silver was their first ever medal too.

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

The event website is here.

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

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

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

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

All the scores from Kinross are here.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A full report can be read here.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sweden’s Isabella Wranå claimed the girls’ title.

All the scores are here and a report is here.

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

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

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

All the event information is here.

Better things were to come…

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

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

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

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

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

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

Loose Ends – 20 May

Some curling-related news and information to enjoy this week.

The Curling History Blog is continuing its theme of World Juniors nostalgia with a post about the 1981 tournament. Have a read and enjoy some old footage here.

Robin Copland has a new post on his blog about big events being held in Scotland in the near future – you can find his latest thoughts here.

Fans of Norway’s Team Ulsrud should check out their Far From Home video here. I especially liked the Led Zeppelin-soundtracked intro.

For those of you unfamiliar with Buzzfeed, it is a website that collects viral content that is currently being viewed online across the world. Curling doesn’t feature too often but I had to share picture number 29 on this post with you.

One of the questions about our sport that frequently crops up is Why do curling stones curl? Well, it would seem that some researchers in Sweden have a new theory – have a read here.

The WCF have announced that the 2013 European C Group Curling Championships will be held in Tårnby, Denmark in October. Full details are here.

Continuing with news from the WCF, our sport’s governing body has announced a new Green facilities initiative which is designed to help curling nations reduce their carbon footprint – find out more about the scheme here.

The latest WCF Newsletter (May) is now available to read here.

Finally, a reminder of a date for your diaries. The 175th RCCC AGM will take place on Saturday 15 June at 1400 in Perth. Members are encouraged to attend this significant AGM as commemorative pins will be available as well as a drinks reception and a display of curling artefacts. Full details are here.

European C Group Review

The European C Group Championships came to an end on Wednesday and it was double medal success for host nation Turkey.

In the women’s event, Belarus won their first ever gold medal in international curling and only their second of any colour in their fifteen years of playing the sport. Turkey took the silver and the Dutch got the bronze.

On home ice, the Turkish men went one better than their compatriots and won gold. Croatia got the silver and Slovenia the bronze.

Congratulations to all the winners and especially to my Slovenian friends who won their nation’s first medal in international curling. For a country that only gained admission to the WCF in 2010, this is a great achievement. Zvone, Matjaz, Domen, Mitja and Gregor – this picture is for you: