November 18, 2007

A tale of two tournaments

It is interesting, if somewhat unsatisfying, to follow the progress of competitions just from the information appearing on the event websites. Still, all credit to those who go to considerable effort to provide the news to those of us around the world who are interested in how 'our' teams are doing, or who just want to follow the progress of the events.

It is also interesting to see how different World Curling Tour competitions go for different formats. There were two very different approaches on show this weekend. In Canada, there was a traditional thirty-two team triple knockout for the men at the McDonalds Invitational Classic in Brantford, Ontario. First games there were on Friday at 10am. The semifinals and final are not due to be played until tomorrow (Monday). The sixteen team women's event also started on Friday morning, with just the final tomorrow.

How did the Scots teams fare? David Murdoch won two games in the A road, lost the third to drop to B, then lost two straight to go out. Played five, won two, lost three. I don't know what his team lineup was, that is one limitation of event websites - they often don't say who really was on the ice. Kelly Wood with Jackie Lockhart, Lorna Vevers and Lindsay Wood won their first game against Lynne Middaugh, lost their second, and then their third in the B road. In C they beat Lynne Middaugh again, won their next before bowing out on their third game of the day. Played six, won three, lost three.

Lucerne took a different approach for their WCT-e event, the Lucerne Curling Trophy. Twenty-four teams played off in four sections, guaranteeing all teams at least five games. A team draw shot distance (called the 'stone game' at Lucerne and carried out following the first section game) was used to decide rankings if teams were tied on points after the round robins. The top team in each section qualified for the quarterfinals. The next eight on the rankings table played a further game to get into the quarters. In other words, finish in the top twelve to be still in contention for the main prize.

Four Scottish teams were in the draw at Lucerne, in different sections. First games for some were on Thursday evening, others at 08.00 Friday. All made it to the quarterfinals. Alan Smith's team got to the qualification round, despite winning only two games in their section. A superior 'stone game' saw them through. They won their game then, but ran up against Norway's Thomas Ulsrud in the quarterfinal who put them out. Incidentally, that match at 10pm Saturday night was their fourth eight-end game of the day! (Smith, played seven, won three, lost four)

Logan Gray and David Edwards both won three games in their sections, and both got through the qualifier. In the quarterfinal Gray beat Sweden's Nils Carlsen. Edwards though came up against Tom Brewsters team who had won all their section games to secure their quarterfinal place. Brewster was 6-1 up after four ends and the game only went six ends. (Edwards, played seven, won four, lost three)

As it turned out, Brewster had to meet Gray in the semifinal. That game went to the extra end, Brewster stealing for the win. (Gray, played eight, won five, lost three)

So Tom Brewster, Hammy McMillan, Ron Brewster and Colin Campbell were in the final against Norway's Thomas Ulsrud. The game went to an extra, Brewster needed to steal, but did not, and it was the Norwegians' game. (Brewster, played eight, won seven, lost one).

All the prizewinners, and their prizes, are here!

Tom Brewster's photo from last season's Scottish Championship is by Bob Cowan. Thomas Ulsrud's pic is from the Worlds in 2006 and was taken by Hugh Stewart.

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