It's a massive week ahead for the Inverness Ice Centre as the rink hosts the World Wheelchair Curling Championship Qualifying Competition, the first time that a World Curling Federation competition has ever been held in Inverness.
Bulgaria was a late withdrawal leaving nine countries to fight it out for the two places at Sursee in February next year. China is the newest country to join the wheelchair curling family. That country's team has travelled from Harbin in northern China to compete at Inverness. In the photo above that's Guangqin Xu practising at the rink this evening.
Play begins tomorrow (Monday) at 10.30 and continues through to Friday. An army of volunteers is on hand to make the visitors' stay as pleasant as possible. If you are near the rink, do drop in and give the players your support too. The results can be found here.
It was the Skins weekend at Inverness. Sponsored this year by Ross-shire Engineering (with lots of other support) the event was a success both on and off the ice! I was pleased to see that Bob Kelly's 'old codgers' team (mentioned in yesterday's blog and containing Scottish Curler correspondent and columnist Robin Copland as well as Gordon Muirhead and Tom Pendreigh) actually managed to reach the semifinals. However, the grand final was between Alan Smith's National Academy team of Neil MacArthur, David Reid and Mark Fraser and an interesting concoction of players skipped by Richard Goldie with Ian MacDonald at third, second duties being shared by Gordon Craic and Neil Hampton, with Brian Binnie, in whose name the team was, at lead.
Skins is a game played best by the wiley and crafty and Goldie's side held Smith to the very last skin of the final. Smith stole that end though and won the game £215 to £85.
Above: Alan Smith and Richard Goldie in the final. David Maclennan of Ross-shire Engineering presents the trophy to (L-R) Alan Smith, Neil MacArthur, David Reid and Mark Fraser. Photos by Bob.
Chuck Hay - Chuck Hay, legend, died last week, aged 87. That's him in happy times on the hack at the Brora rink. You will find the World Curling Federation's obituar...
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