October 31, 2007

Junior teams for Canada

Two of the country's top junior teams, skipped by Jamie Dick and Greg Drummond, are in Canada this weekend. The National Academy sides are supported for one overseas trip as part of their training.

Jamie, Andrew Williamson, Colin Dick and Andrew Noble (team photo here) will play in the Ultima Curling Classic in Kitchener Waterloo. The competitors will play at the Westmount Golf and Country Club and at the Granite Club. I was interested to read that the Westmount rink, where the Scots play their first games, has a dress code (no jeans) which will be enforced! This apparently applies to coaches, parents and 'others', as well as the curlers. I wonder if they have a 'jeans policeman' who forces offenders to remove illegal clothing? The Granite Club has no such policy. Anyway, the results should be found here.

Greg, James Dunn, Tom Pendreigh and Kerr Drummond (photo here) will compete in the OVCA Junior Superspiel hosted at a number of clubs in the Ottowa Valley area. The Drummond team line up in a sixteen team triple knockout event. The results should be found here.

The value of teams competing in events abroad is well recognised. I read recently that this has been taken to the extreme by Bingyu Wang's Chinese team who have actually bought a house in Edmonton as a base for their practice and competition in Canada. I smiled at Doug Mcconachie's turn of phrase that the Wang rink are 'in Canada for seasoning'! Salt and sauce then for Drummond and Dick this weekend!

Jamie Dick's photo is by Richard Gray. Greg Drummond's pic is by Bob Cowan. The photo (below) of Bingyu Wang and her team during a timeout is from wwcc05 at Paisley's Lagoon Centre, and was taken by Richard Gray.

October 30, 2007

Inverness hosts world wheelchair qualifying competition

The Inverness Ice Centre is the focus of the wheelchair curling world next week, as the rink hosts the prequalifying competition for the World Wheelchair Curling Championship, set for Sursee, Switzerland, February 2-9, 2008. Ten countries (Bulgaria, China, Czech Republic, Denmark, England, Finland, Germany, Italy, Poland and Sweden) will battle for two places at the world event.

Norway, Switzerland, Scotland, Canada, Japan, USA, Korea and Russia are already qualified for Sursee by virtue of finishing in the top eight at the most recent World event at Solleftea, Sweden, last season.

Improvements to the Inverness rink have included the installation of a lift and that will allow wheelchair access to the lounge area.

The Inverness rink also holds the popular Skins competition this weekend, and no sooner has the final of that event finished than the ice becomes available for the wheelchair teams to practise on Sunday evening. The complete wheelchair results should be available here on the World Curling Federation site, and the individual game results should be on the Inverness Ice Centre site (follow link to News). The first round games are at 10.30 Monday morning. The draw is Bulgaria v China, Czech Republic v Denmark, England v Finland, Germany v Italy, Poland v Sweden.

The Italian team in action at last season's world wheelchair championship prequalifying event at Braehead. Photo by Hugh Stewart.

By the way, have you noticed that the WCF site has had a makeover?

October 28, 2007

Team Murdoch for Fussen

Now here's the story. End one - Warwick Smith loses a four to Gordon Muirhead. The only positive to that is, if you are going to lose a four, then the first end is the best end to lose it in. But it was going to be an uphill battle and it only went seven ends when Warwick conceded, down 10-4.

On the adjacent sheet Tom Brewster and his team of Hammy McMillan, Ron Brewster and Colin Campbell were playing their best game of the weekend. David Murdoch and his team were on top form too - it was a pity that it didn't really matter. With Warwick getting beaten, Murdoch was going to Germany anyway. Still it was enthralling to watch. It was just everything a great game of curling should be. David drew the button to save losing a two at the sixth, Tom did likewise at the seventh. The sides were in the eighth when Warwick conceded on the next sheet, so with the score at peels at 5-5, they shoot hands!

David Murdoch, Graeme Connal, Pete Smith and Euan Byers will be Scotland's representatives at the European Championships.

Top: L-R Euan, David, Pete, Graeme
Above: David Murdoch delivery; Hammy shouts as David and Graeme watch; Tom Brewster
Photos by Bob Cowan

PS Final verdict on the ice. Good! You could play curling on it, and that's how it should be in every rink in Scotland! Pity it's not. Yes, I am getting old and crabbity. Well done to the Scottish Institute of Sport for arranging to bring Hans Wuthrich across. The staff at Perth certainly took the opportunity to learn from him.

Murdoch or Smith for Europeans

Five games gone and it's down to two teams, one of which will be Scotland's representatives at the European Championships in Fussen in December. This morning's session was marred by frosty ice, lots of pickups and questions on whether the Perth rinks dehumidifiers had been working satisfactory overnight, with the warm humid conditions outside.

Team Murdoch was 3-0 up after three ends against Gordon Muirhead's team, and a big three at the seventh finished that game. With one round still to play, Murdoch has four wins, and the event can only be his to lose now.

Brewster's side went head to head with Warwick Smith this morning. Tom was too heavy with a draw attempt at the seventh, gave up two against the head and, 5-1 down, was in a hole. Still, the team fought on with a single at the eighth and a steal at the ninth, and made Warwick play his last stone in the tenth. The Scottish Champion was accurate with his hit to win his third point, and now the Smith rink are the only team able to stop Murdoch. The linescores are here.

Murdoch plays Brewster and Smith is against Muirhead in the last round of games. If Murdoch wins, his team goes to Germany. If he loses and Smith wins, then there will be an extra game tonight.

Above: Warwick Smith considers his options. Photo by Bob Cowan.

October 27, 2007

Kelly Wood wins three in a row

Kelly Wood with Jackie Lockhart, Lorna Vevers and Lindsay Wood will represent Scotland at the European Championships in Fussen in December. Team Wood beat Edith Loudon, Mairi Milne, Katie Loudon and Judith Marshall 8-5 in their third game this afternoon. It made it a clean sweep over three games in their playdown at Perth.

In the men's qualifying competition David Murdoch hit to stay to beat Warwick Smith in an extra end of the fourth round of games. Murdoch has three wins, Smith and Brewster have two, Muirhead one. Two more rounds to go (tomorow, Sunday).

Top: L-R Lindsay Wood, Lorna Vevers, Jackie Lockhart and Kelly Wood. Photo by Bob Cowan.

Loudon v Wood at Perth

As I write this, Kelly Wood and her team are two thirds of the way to Fussen. An extra end victory last night, and a close game this morning, leaves Lindsay Wood, Lorna Vevers, Jackie Lockhart and Kelly Wood needing just one more win to see them as Scotland's representatives at the European Championships 2007.

As for the men....... too close to call yet, but I was impressed with David Murdoch's last stone of the game dead draw through a port to the one foot to beat Tom Brewster this morning. We'll see what happens. The curling is great. Ice is good. And if you get bored you can always go and look at the exhibits in the flower arranging conference that's running in parralel with the curling at the Dewar's Centre this weekend!

Top: Team Wood in action.
Above: Coach Sheila Swan on a timeout with Team Loudon at 11pm last night! And no, this is NOT a caption competition!

October 26, 2007

Men in Black at Perth

What's really needed here are some captions. Top: Hans Wuthrich is saying to Paul Martin, "The difficult I can do today, the impossible may take me until tomorrow." Middle: Gordon Muirhead is thinking, "If I just shut my eyes for a moment, perhaps the situation might get better." Above: Hammy is saying, "Well Tom, there's two things you can do......."

I wasn't really intending to blog from up here in Perth - I don't really get as much chance as I would like to sit down and really watch good curling games - but I thought perhaps you might like to get a feel of what it is like here! So here are some photos and a couple of thoughts.

The opening games of the men's qualifying competition saw David Murdoch draw the one foot to count two at the second end of his game against Warwick Smith. Two at the sixth gave the Murdoch side a 4-1 lead and control of the game.

Brewster edged a Muirhead stone away in the second end of their game, for a 3-1 lead, but the game was broken open in the fourth. With lots of stones in play, and a time clock no longer working due to 'operator error', Duncan Fernie played a howler, removing his own stone and leaving Brewster a hit for a four. He could not have done it better had he been playing last stones for Team Brewster. Tom played the hit perfectly, and 7-3 up, the result was not in doubt.
Peter Loudon is in the Muirhead side in place of Graeme Prentice.

Hans Wuthrich and Paul Martin are making the ice, and the rink has new stones this season. Is it playing well enough? Early days yet.

Pat Eddington is the Chief Umpire.

And 'Men in Black'! Three of the men's teams are dressed in black. Only Team Brewster are in something colourful, with red tops. Curling is a colourful game. You would not think so with so many players dressed as if they were going to a funeral!

OK, so I'm getting old and crabitty! Right, I'm off to watch the curling.

October 25, 2007

European qualifiers at Perth

So, what's going to happen this weekend? Four men's teams fight it out in a double round robin to decide who will represent Scotland at the European Championships in December. Warwick Smith's side are the Scottish Champions. Tom Brewster was beaten in last season's Scottish Championship final. Gordon Muirhead, with Duncan Fernie playing the last stones, placed third in the Scottish. David Murdoch's side was fourth in the round robin and out of the playoff stages of the Scottish. His team is here at the Euro Qualifying as a wild card entry.

Which team is shouldering the most pressure? Surely the Murdoch four. The team is without regular third Ewan MacDonald, hoping now that a further operation for a knee injury will see him back on the ice by the New Year. With Graeme Connal, 'borrowed' from Peter Loudon's side, Murdoch, Peter Smith and Euan Byers have been playing well in Europe so far this season. Still, David and Euan will feel they have to provide results to justify their UKSport funding as the country's only full time curlers.

Whichever team wins has got to do well at the Europeans to qualify for the World Championships where Olympic qualifying points are at stake. Currently, following Warwick's eighth equal placing at Edmonton, GB has 3.5 points.

Brewster plays Muirhead, and Murdoch plays Smith at 3pm Friday. Follow the results here.

Just two teams are involved in the women's playoff. Kelly Wood's side are the Scottish Champions and their bronze medals at the World Championships in Japan put a goodly number of Olympic qualifying points (10 of them) into the GB pot towards 2010. As Rhona Martin's team, losing finalists last season, have split up and Claire Milne's and Lynn Cameron's new team is not eligible for this event, Kelly is playing the best of five games against Edith Loudon's side, who placed third in the Scottish last season, to find the team to go to the Fussen Europeans.

Their first game is at 8.30pm Friday. You will be able to follow the results here.

Check back on Monday for some pics and my take on how it all went!

Top clockwise: Duncan Fernie, Tom Brewster, Warwick Smith and David Murdoch
Above: Edith Loudon and Kelly Wood
Photos by Richard Gray and Bob Cowan

Rhona in UKSport's Elite Coach programme

UK Sport today unveiled the identities of seven coaches singled out for development, and Rhona Martin is one of the names. The UK’s high-performance sports organisation revealed the 2007 intake of its innovative ‘Elite Coach’, which aims to accelerate the development of the nation’s most exciting coaching prospects. Rhona is the first coach from the sport of curling to be included in the programme.

The scheme will see tailor-made programmes developed for each of the seven coaches, which will not only allow them to develop their technical skills by working with and observing the best in action, but also to develop the leadership skills which are the hallmark of the best operators in high-performance environments in the world of sport, business, industry and the arts.

Colin Grahamslaw, Royal Caledonian Curling Club CEO commented, “We are delighted that Rhona has been selected for UK Sport’s Elite Coach programme. The opportunities that this offers her are tremendous and the athletes Rhona is working with in the West Institute now and in the future will benefit from the experiences she receives through the programme.”

The coaches named today are : Alex Perry (Table Tennis), Stefan Trofan (Table Tennis), Audrey Cooper (Volleyball), Rick Velati (Triathlon), Mark Wood (Bob-Skeleton), Paul Green (Taekwondo) as well as Rhona. UK Sport hopes that the £500,000 per year programme will have over fifty elite British coaches by 2012.

The full press release can be found here.

Hew Chalmers is RCCC representative on WCF

At the end of August the Royal Caledonian Curling Club advertised for a suitably qualified individual to become one of the four Scottish representatives on the World Curling Federation. The Club were seeking someone with a 'good understanding of Scottish, European and World curling matters, and have the time to commit to ensuring Scotland and the Royal Club’s voice is heard on the European and World stage'. Interested parties were urged to put themselves forward.

An appointment has now been made. Hew Chalmers, who was GB Olympic Team Manager in 2002 and Team Co-ordinator in 2006, will join the other three RCCC representatives, Jeanette Johnston, Bill Marshall and Tommy Hinnigan, at the World Curling Federation meetings in Fussen during the European Championships.

Hew is a Director of British Curling Ltd.

October 24, 2007

Hans Wuthrich for Perth Euro Playdown

Hans Wuthrich, who many rate as the world's best curling ice technician, has been invited to the Dewar's Centre, Perth, to help Paul Martin and his team prepare the ice for this weekend's European playoff. Wuthrich will be the chief ice technician for the Olympic curling at Vancouver 2010.

The ice last season at Perth was good, expecially for the Perth Masters and the Scottish Championships, but the rink's Vice-chairman David Hay says, "There is always room for improvement and we are striving to move the boundaries and further enhance the playing conditions to allow the most skilful team to win, as well as adding to the excitement for the spectators."

Kelly Wood and Edith Loudon will play off for the right to represent Scotland at the European Championships in Fussen in December. David Murdoch, Warwick Smith, Tom Brewster and Gordon Muirhead contest the men's event. The draw is here.

The teams that win will carry new sponsorship to the event. A three-year agreement will see Team Scotland sponsored by Tullis Russell in Fussen and also in Ă–rnskoldsvik, Sweden in December 2008, and in Aberdeen in December 2009.

Tullis Russell Papermakers is part of the employee owned Tullis Russell Group, based in Glenrothes, Fife.

CEO Colin Grahamslaw commented on the agreement, "I am delighted to welcome Tullis Russell on board as sponsor of the Scottish teams competing at the European Championships. Scotland boasts a number of world class curlers and this sponsorship agreement partners us perfectly with a Scottish company which produces a world class product."

RCCC CEO Colin Grahamslaw with Tullis Russell's Malcolm Sinclair, Export Sales Director.

October 22, 2007

Adams' team win again

Kay Adams, Annie Barr, Megan Priestley and Nicola MacDonald made it a great ten days when they beat local team Rebecca Kesley, Abigail Brown, Mhairi Baird and Gina Aitken in the Dunvegan Competition at Murrayfield. Team Adams won the Kinross Classic last weekend.

In the junior men's competition, Jay McWilliam, Struan Wood, Colin Smith and Rory McPherson faced Ally Fraser’s Inverness team of Colin Howden, Blair Fraser and Grant Fraser in the final. It was a tight game, which hinged on a fateful last end. Jay’s front end put on the short stones and they had a stone on the button. In the meantime, Ally’s team were piling stones into the house and Jay’s single counter was looking lonelier and lonelier! Step forward Ally’s third player, Colin Howden, who played a magnificent skinny double takeout to completely change the end. As Jay went to play his last his team was looking at the situation in the photo below! There were no miracles and Fraser's team took the title.

Top: Megan Priestley, Annie Barr, Nicola MacDonald, Kay Adams
Above: Blair Fraser, Grant Fraser, Ally Fraser, Colin Howden
Photos and report courtesy of Robin Copland.

October 21, 2007

Lockerbie 2: Women's Mini Tour

Gail Munro and her team won the Lockerbie Mini Tour, beating Sharon Stewart in the final. The linescore is here. Gail's team was Lyndsay Wilson, Karen Addison and Debbie Torbet, the last substituting for the injured Annie Laird. Gail's team, with Fiona Hardie as lead, had won the Lanarkshire Mini Tour two weeks ago.

As overall Mini Tour winners, Gail and her team received the Colin Galbraith trophy from Jeanette and Colin Galbraith who donated the trophy in memory of their son, one of the country's most promising young curlers, tragically killed in a road accident some years ago.

Top: Gail is flanked by Jeanette and Colin Galbraith, with Debbie Torbet, Lyndsay Wilson, Karen Addison and Fiona Hardie. Above: Gail Munro and Sharon Stewart. Photos by Bob Cowan.

Lockerbie 1: Men's Mini Tour

David Edwards, Moray Combe, Gavin Fleming and Graham Sloan won the Lockerbie round of the three event Men's Mini Tour today. The team were undefeated through the weekend, beating Logan Gray in the semi and Colin Hamilton, skipping Graham Patrick's side, in the final. The linescore is here. Hamilton's team was Graham Patrick, Sean Murphy and James Boyd.

Top: L-R Gavin Fleming, David Edwards, Moray Combe and Graham Sloan.
Above: David Edwards and Colin Hamilton in the final. And just to show that not everyone on the ice was wearing black, here's a pic of Gavin Fleming. Photos by Bob Cowan.

Seven games for Eve Muirhead at Kusnacht Masters

Eve Muirhead, Kerry Barr, Vicki Adams and Sarah Macintyre certainly got a workout at the Kusnacht Masters, a new women's WCT-e event in Switzerland. The girls (photo here) won four out of five games in their section, to qualify top for the semifinals. Against Flims PurePower they lost out 4-3 at an extra end, and then were on the losing side of a 9-8 result in the 3rd/4th playoff.

At the Berne Open, David Murdoch's team won their first three games of the 32-team triple knockout before dropping to the B road. One more win matched them against Russ Howard's Canadians. They lost that, dropped to the C road only to find themselves facing Warwick Smith and his team of Craig Wilson, David Smith and Ross Hepburn. The Scotland 2 team had lost their first game in A, won one in B before being dropped to C where they put together back to back wins. Smith's team then made it three in a row to send Murdoch and his rink home.

The win put Warwick through to the quarterfinal which they won before bowing out in the semis. What a contest next weekend's Euro playoff is going to be!

John Hamilton, Phil Garden, Iain Chalmers and Graeme Copland were the other Scottish representatives. They won one, lost one in A. They won two straight in B before being sent down by the Canadians to the C road where they lost their last life.

October 19, 2007

Mini Tour at Lockerbie

The Mini Tour moves to Lockerbie this weekend, following the first round at Hamilton two weeks ago. This is the second and final showdown for the women. Gail Munro, Lyndsay Wilson, Karen Addison and Fiona Hardie won the event at the Lanarkshire rink (photo here). They share top place in the rankings with Sarah Reid's team on thirteen points. Who will take home the Colin Galbraith trophy? Follow the results here.

The men's rankings after Hamilton are here. David Stobo and David Edwards share top place going in to the first games at Lockerbie this evening, with another Mini Tour round, at the Galleon, November 23-25, still to come.

Gail's photo from the Hamilton Mini Tour is by Richard Gray.

October 18, 2007

Curling from a Wheelchair

The World Curling Federation has released a promotional DVD about wheelchair curling. This has come about because the organising committee of the successful World Wheelchair Curling Championships at Braehead in 2005 sought to build on the success created. They approached the WCF who had sourced partial funding from the International Paralympic Committee and agreed to jointly fund the production of the DVD entitiled ‘Curling from a Wheelchair’ which highlights the passion achieved and shows how wheelchair curlers are rightfully very proud of their achievements.

The five minute presentation is the creation of Kirsty Letton and Michael McCreadie, with help and advice from Kenny More of Elite Sports Analysis and Alison Stevenson and Alistair Wilson of Stable Recordings.

Kate Caithness, Vice President of the World Curling Federation, has written the foreward on the cover of the DVD. She says, "Like all other sports, we play the game for the love of it, but achievements gain recognition and drive participants to progress in their chosen sport. It is very pleasing to see the sport develop significantly on the International Stage. The enclosed DVD demonstrates everything we hoped to achieve."

It certainly does that. The DVD is interesting, informative, exciting, uplifting and funny. Check it out when you can! I would expect that it will appear on YouTube soon enough, but it is great on the big screen.

Copies of the DVD can be sourced through each WCF Member Association and here in Scotland through the SWCA or Kirsty Letton on 01292 319407 or k.letton /at/ canna.demon.co.uk.

Elsewhere in the wheelchair curling world, the rink in Prague is the venue for the 3rd International Wheelchair Curling Tournament this weekend, October 19-21. Scotland, Canada, Norway, Germany, Switzerland, Denmark, and the Czech Republic are taking part. Tom Killin skips the Scottish four with Aileen Neilson, Rosemary Lenton and Angie Malone.

This photo of Tom Killin practising at Braehead is by Bob Cowan.

October 17, 2007

Junior teams invited to play at Dumfries

I'm not sure I want to be looking ahead yet to the end of the season, but I note that the entry list has been opened for the Globe Trophy International Junior event at the Dumfries Ice Bowl, April 4-6, 2008!

Graham Sloan, now back as the Dumfries ACDO, heads up the organising committee for the event. Thirty-two places are available, cost £100 per team. Help with accommodation is available if required. Teams may be all male, all female or mixed. Applications can be made now.

Contact Graham at the Ice Bowl or email him at:
Sloan.ranger /at/ hotmail.co.uk.

The event has grown in stature since it began a couple of years back and provides a fun yet competitive event for the juniors at the end of the season.

Top: Fiona Hardie presents the Globe Trophy to last season's winners, Oskar Eriksson, Henric Johnsson, Marcus Franzen and Nils Karlsson from Sweden.
Above: John Wilson showing .... that the event is not taken so seriously by some teams!

Scots teams in Bern

Three Scots teams are among the thirty-two which line up for the Bern Open this coming weekend. David Murdoch's side and John Hamilton's team are on the ice at 8 am on Friday. Warwick Smith's team have a long lie by comparison with a 10.30 start. All three face local Swiss opposition. The WCT-e event will be run as a triple knockout.

The results will be found here.

Eve Muirhead's team are also in action in the Zurich Women's Masters. I haven't found a link to a website yet but will try to find out how they get on.

Today's question? How big a curling nerd are you? Have you watched the complete game between David Murdoch and Ralph Stoeckli, when they met in the final of the Swiss Cup in Basel recently? It can be watched through the U1TV archive, easily accessed from the link on the WCT-e website here.

October 16, 2007

English Mixed Doubles

This post is to record the fact that stalwart Scottish Curler team member John Brown has become English Mixed Doubles champion. John and Glynnice Lauder won the first ever mixed doubles event promoted by the English Curling Association and held at the Kelso rink last weekend. The pair defeated Jane Clark and Steve Amann at the last stone of the final. Well done John! Vierumaki here we come!

You can find the details of the event on the English Curling Association website. Eight pairs took part in two sections of four. According to John in his report for November's Scottish Curler, some initial misunderstandings about the rules were quickly sorted out by the umpires.

Sadly, there is no photo of the winners available, but that gives me the opportunity to reproduce below Richard Gray's prize-winning photo of John from the World Seniors a couple of years ago, one of many interesting curling photographs which can be found in the Scottish Curler Photography site here!

The first Scottish Mixed Doubles Championship will be at Murrayfield, December 21-23.

John Brown competing against the USA in the World Seniors Championship at Greenacres and Paisley's Lagoon Centre in 2005. Photo by Richard Gray.

October 15, 2007

Classic curling at Kinross

On my way north to Pitlochry yesterday I stopped off at the Kinross rink to see a little of the morning play in the Kinross Junior Classic 2007. They make a mean bacon buttie at the rink too!

Anyway, I watched the quarterfinals of the sixteen team junior men's event. Some great curling was on show. There were only six entries for the junior women's event. But what I saw there was encouraging too.

If you want to read the report, Robin Copland will have this in the November Scottish Curler. He writes enthusiastically about Kay Adams' last stone draw to the button to beat Anna Sloan's team. Kay lined up with Annie Barr, Megan Priestley and Nicola MacDonald.

In the men's final Lindsay Gray, Michael Goodfellow, Peter Macintyre and Ian Copland defeated Graeme Black's side in a close game.

I would have liked to have seen the Classic finals, but yesterday the Scottish Senior Mixed beckoned, and, having not yet perfected the art of being in two places at the one time, I headed north suitably refreshed. Yes, curling clubs with good ice and tasty bacon rolls are just where the Editor likes to be!

Top: Ian Copland, Michael Goodfellow and Peter Macintyre work Lindsay Gray's stone into the four foot. Above: Nicola MacDonald and Megan Priestley sweep Annie Barr's stone as Kay Adams calls line. Photos by Bob Cowan.

Scottish Mixed Seniors Championship

The Atholl rink in Pitlochry yesterday had an air of familiarity about it. No, I don't mean the warm and hospitable welcome that all visitors receive there. Check out the picture above. You might have seen it last year .... or even the year before!

Yes, Tommy Campbell, Isobel Waddell, Jim Waddell and Margaret Robertson won the Famous Grouse Mixed Seniors Championship for the third time! The team edged past Lindsay Scotland's side in the semi, then overwhelmed (I think that's the best word) David Hird, Irene Hird, Arthur Beattie and Catherine Beattie in the final.

Three years in a row! What a team, what a record! Congratulations to all.

L-R: Jim Waddell, Isobel Waddell, Tommy Campbell (skip), Margaret Robertson

October 14, 2007

Girls abroad 2

It was a good weekend for our Scottish women at the ReMax Women's Masters in Basel. All three teams, skipped by Kelly Wood, Claire Milne and Edith Loudon, came through the triple knockout event to reach the quarterfinals. Kelly and Edith came through the A road without loss, whereas Claire's team dropped their first game then came through the B flight.

Kelly lost her quarterfinal game against Switzerland's Mirjam Ott, but both Edith and Claire won their ties and faced each other in the semi. Edith won that encounter, but in the final against Sweden's Anette Norberg, went down 6-5 in an extra end. From the scoreline, it seems it was Sweden's stolen two at the fifth which turned the game Norberg's way.

Read more about the event on the Curling News blog here.

Still, the result is an excellent one for Edith and the rink, who receive partial support from the Scottish Institute of Sport to enable them to compete in events abroad. Money well spent if the weekend's results are taken into consideration! With the best of five contest to decide our representatives in the European Championship just a couple of weeks away, the matchup between Wood and Loudon now promises to be less one-sided than some have predicted. Get to Perth for the first game at 8.30pm on October 26! The draw is here.

In Ontario, Eve Muirhead won one game in four at the Southwestern Ontario Women's Charity Cashspiel. The girls played well in their first competitive outing together and Eve was just short in a final draw which would seen the team (Eve, Kerry Barr, Vicki Adams and Sarah Macintyre), win another game against the experienced Patti Lank of the USA in the tenth end of their game at the London Club.

The photo of Team Loudon is from the Basel event website. L-R: Edith Loudon, Mairi Milne, Katie Loudon and Katriona Fairweather. The other team photos are here.

October 12, 2007

Scottish women abroad

Eve Muirhead's National Academy/Elite Scotland Squad team (here) are playing this weekend in the Southwestern Ontario Women's Charity Cashspiel. This World Curling Tour event has been organised by the Southwestern Ontario curling community to benefit the London Health Sciences Centre's London Regional Cancer Program.

Twenty-eight teams are taking part in the competition, played in four different rinks in the London, Ontario, area.

Three Scottish Institute teams skipped by Kelly Wood, Claire Milne and Edith Loudon are competing in the World Curling Tour-Europe event, the Women's Masters in Basel.

Twenty-four teams are playing a triple knockout format.

GB wheelchair curlers wanted!

Just as the 'standy-uppy' curlers had to register their interest in the Olympic selection process recently, British Curling is now seeking registration of interest from athletes who wish to be considered for the Great Britain Paralympic Curling Squad for the Winter Paralympic Games, Vancouver 2010. An athlete information pack is available which covers the BC selection process, timelines and eligibility for Vancouver 2010. The information packs can be obtained by contacting:
Marc Scott
BC Admin Support
Scottish Institute of Sport
Airthrey Road
Stirling FK9 5PH

Tel: 01786 460105
E-mail: marc.scott@sisport.com

Only athletes who are eligible for the Great Britain Team and with a genuine aspiration and realistic ability to compete in the medal zone at the Vancouver Winter Paralympic Games 2010 should return a registration of interest.

The closing date for applications is October 20, 2007.

The photo is of Angie Malone and Michael McCready training at Braehead prior to the 2006 Paralympic Games, and was taken by Bob Cowan.

October 11, 2007

Mixed Seniors Championship at Pitlochry

The Famous Grouse Scottish Mixed Seniors Championship gets underway tomorrow morning (Friday October 12) at the Atholl Curling Rink. There are four sections, some with four teams others with five. You can find the draw on the Royal Club website here.

The top rink in each section qualifies for Sunday's semifinals.
Tommy Cambell is in the draw again and will be looking for a third title in a row. Photo from last year's event by Bob Cowan.

Teams for Perth Masters - blog version 2!

The lineup for the Ramada Perth Masters, Scotland's only World Curling Tour event for men's teams, has been posted on the event website. The competition is scheduled for January 3-6, 2008, at the Dewars Centre.

Sixteen of the teams in the 32-rink field are from abroad, and these include Yosuke Morozumi's team all the way from Japan. Glenn Howard, current World Champion, heads up the Canadian challenge. His rink was runner-up in Perth last season. (Thanks to Scottish Curler Reader for keeping me right, see comment below. It must be an age thing!)

The event goes ahead with title sponsorship from Ramada Jarvis hotels. The West End Garage, Broughty Ferry, is once again the presenting sponsor (more cars on the ice!) and the competition has continued support from Perth and Kinross Council. Peter Loudon is Chairman of the organising committee.

Put the dates in your diary!

Richard Gray's photos of winning skip Randy Ferbey (top) and Glenn Howard (above) are from the 2007 Ramada Perth Masters.

October 09, 2007

British Curling website launched

British Curling Ltd has launched its website: www.britishcurling.com. The press release states simply, "The website will keep curling fans and sports enthusiast abreast of new developments within British Curling, including latest news and information on Britain’s top curlers."

There is a fair bit of content on the site already and British Curling Chairman Chris Hildrey says, "As programmes build and the depth of delivery increases then the site will become more multi functional both in terms of information content and information management."

An initial glitch on the site where the UK Sport supported athletes were listed as Olympic athletes has already been corrected. The Olympic squads have not been selected yet. Registrations of interest have been saught from curlers with Olympic aspirations for Vancouver 2010. This process closed on September 30.

British Curling's performance plan is described here, and see also Curling Today's previous post about the plan here.