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

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