January 31, 2008

Stats at Scottish Curling Championship

Now, this is interesting. For the first time in a number of years there are plans to have statisticians working at the Bruadar Scottish Championship and the Columba Cream Gold League, the women's finals!

It would seem that the contract for providing the stats service has gone to CurlingZone. Dallas Bittle is the person behind the name, and many will know of him as the main author of the Black Book of Curling (above), which has everything you ever wanted to know about curling stats, and more beside!
The Royal Club is looking for volunteers to be the statisticians at the event. If you would like to be involved - and it would seem that some expenses will be available - you should check out Nancy Murdoch's post on the RCCC website here.
Nancy says, 'The initiative was driven by Colin Grahamslaw (the RCCC CEO) in partnership with British Curling to add value to the Scottish Finals for teams, players, coaches and spectators alike. It is also anticipated to be a fantastic development and promotion opportunity for all volunteers and coaches who wish to assist. Also the other benefit looking ahead towards the future for the Aberdeen Europeans in 2009 is the legacy of training up volunteers to assist at this event.'
I must admit that I think this is an exciting development, coming as it does when the time for Olympic squad selection is drawing closer, so I expect to be posting more about all this as the Scottish Championships get closer.
This weekend of course the men have the second leg of the qualifiers at Perth and the women have another round of the Gold League at Kinross. Sunday night there is Wood v Munro, a repeat of the Glynhill final game. That might be fun to see! All the results will be on the RCCC website.

A curling weekend in Aviemore in 1978

Forgive a little nostalgia. I was reminded yesterday by an old curling friend, Brian Alderman, that it was thirty years ago to the day that we set out to compete in a competition at the old rink in Aviemore. The event was sponsored by the Rowanlea Hotel in Carrbridge, and that was where we all stayed. If I recall correctly we played a game on the Friday, then a couple more on the Saturday.

It started to snow on the Saturday night, and the pics I've posted here show what it was like when it eventually stopped on Monday morning. Needless to say, the competition was never completed.

The snow paralysed transport throughout the Highlands for several days. There are a couple of pics of what Newtonmore, a little down the road, was like here. I got home the following Friday! It certainly was a curling 'weekend' to remember.

The top pic is a bulldozer on the main street through Carrbridge. It was from the new A9 road construction that was ongoing at the time. The second pic is of Brian attempting to dig out his car. I cannot remember whose camera it was! Apologies for the lack of a proper photo credit.

Interested in the Aviemore of old? Lots of pics and memories are here. And Carrbridge has its own website here.

January 30, 2008

Do YOU want to influence the future of curling in Scotland?

The governing body of curling in Scotland, the Royal Caledonian Curling Club, regularly comes in for criticism from all manner of people and for all sorts of reasons. Are you one of the critics? Could you make a difference? If you simply feel that you could contribute to how our sport is governed, then here is your opportunity!

The Royal Club is overseen by a Board of Directors - that's them in the photo above. Two of the elected director positions fall vacant in June. These are currently held by Mike Ferguson (who is the Chairman) and Jeanette Johnston.

Both Mike and Jeanette are eligible to stand for re-election, although at the moment we do not know if they will do so. The Board is seeking additional candidates to stand for these positions. Could this be YOU? Details of how to apply can be found here. February 14 is the closing date for applications.

Back L-R: Lockhart Steele, Anne Malcolm, Irene Hird, Bob Tait
Front: Colin Grahamslaw (CEO), Tommy Hinnigan (RCCC President), Mike Ferguson and Jeanette Johnston.

January 29, 2008

Team Norberg will not be Sweden's representatives at Worlds

Sweden's representatives at the Ford World Women's Curling Championship in Vernon will NOT be Anette Norberg's European Champions. Norberg and her team, who beat Scotland's Kelly Wood in the final at Fussen, have lost out to Stina Viktorsson of Skellefteå in the battle to become Sweden's representatives at the World event.

Swedish Curling Association's General Secretary Hakan Sundstrom reports that former World and Olympic Champion Norberg played Viktorsson three times in Karlstad. Viktorsson won all three games, first in the round-robin 10-4, then in the first game in the page play-off 7-6, and then in the final 9-3.

Maria Prytz plays third stones for Viktorsson, the second is Maria Wennerström, and lead is Margaretha Sigfridsson who skipped the team that was runners-up to Jackie Lockhart's Scotland in Bismarck in 2002.

Anette Norberg's photo was taken by Bob at the Euro Championships.

January 28, 2008

Scotland's wheelchair curlers head for Sursee

Michael McCreadie, Aileen Neilson, Tom Killin, Jim Sellar and Rosemary Lenton set off for the World Wheelchair Curling Championships in Sursee, Switzerland, tomorrow (Tuesday). The Scots official practice is on Saturday morning and their first game is against the host nation, Switzerland, on Saturday at 6pm. Scotland's last round robin game is against Canada. Medal games are on Saturday, February 9.

See Curling Today's previous post about the Scotland team here.

You will be able to find the draw and all the results here. Good to see Curlit being the results service provider again! For more on wheelchair curling don't forget to check out wheelchaircurling.com, particularly the News pages.

Team Scotland. L-R: Michael McCreadie, Aileen Neilson, Tom Killin, Jim Sellar and Rosemary Lenton. Photo courtesy of Tom Pendreigh.

Ena is new RCCC development officer at Kinross

The Royal Caledonian Curling Club has announced that Ena Stevenson has become the Development Officer for the Kinross rink at the Green Hotel. Ena will be employed on a part-time, seasonal basis.

Ena has headed up the Kinross Curling School for some years. Find the official announcement with Ena's quote here.

There are currently ten area curling development officers in post covering thirteen rinks in Scotland. Two more part-time posts are to be advertised shortly for the Greenacres and Waterfront rinks.

Ena's photo by Bob.

Call for RCCC to run adult camp

Another Royal Club masterclass was held at the Lanarkshire Ice Rink, Hamilton, yesterday. The first was at Kinross in December, described here. The objective of a Royal Club Masterclass is to let club curlers experience something of what performance players are taught and learn during their training sessions.

The Hamilton masterclass was organised by RCCC Development Manager Judith McFarlane with Jim Morrison, the local ACDO. Coaches on the day were Lynn Cameron, Nancy Murdoch, Lynne Robertson, Claire Milne and Logan Gray. Lockhart Steele fielded questions on many topics, and the tactics session was run by Nancy and Logan (photo here).

So popular have the masterclasses proved that Judith is considering the possibility of running an Adult Camp, over a weekend. The World Curling Federation has successfully piloted such an event in Prague, and details of the WCF camp May 31 - June 3 can be found here.

The photo shows Logan Gray with his group on the ice at Hamilton. Photo courtesy of Judith McFarlane.

Aberdeen Invitation update

I've just been asked who won, as the results of the Aberdeen Ladies Invitation are not on the web. Not that Curling Today wishes to become a results service but here is what I have, courtesy of Anne Malcolm.

First place went to Shona Watt (Murrayfield) with Lisa Mackellaich, Abby Brodie and Morven Bridges; second was Claire Hamilton (Lockerbie), Claire Macdonald, Lindsey Spence and Jennifer Priestley; third - Kay Gibb (Aberdeen), Trudie Milne, Phemie Phillip and Janette Graham. In fourth place were Liz Paul (Braehead) with Linda Stevenson, Doreen Mainds and Nanette Davidson. Well done all.

Here are the winners with sponsor Lynne Gerrard (on right). Photo courtesy of Anne Malcolm.
Top photo is Shona Watt by Bob.

January 27, 2008

On the ice at Curl Aberdeen

Dropping in to Curl Aberdeen yesterday, I was reminded by manager Tom Brewster that the rink will hold the biggest international curling event in the world NEXT YEAR! Yes, the European Championships will be held in the city in December 2009. The website is here.

The rink was a hive of activity this weekend, staging the Aberdeen Ladies Invitation, a multi-sponsored event involving twenty-four teams, from juniors to masters! Shari Leibbrandt's team from the Netherlands provided an international dimension. That's Shari above. I was struck though just how many past and present RCCC Ladies' Branch office bearers there were on the ice. And there was even a World Curling Federation Vice-president, Kate Caithness, and a Royal Club Board member! And another member of the Board, Anne Malcolm, was heading up the organising committee. Good to see those who spend so much of their time immersed in the politics of the sport enjoying time on the ice.

Here are a few pics.

WCF VP Kate Caithness (in front) was not having the best of afternoons against Norma Brown. Best not ask her the score!

RCCC Board Member Irene Hird.

Kay Gibb is the RCCC Ladies Branch Junior Vice-president.

Ladies Branch President Patricia Thomson. Great to see her on the ice at Aberdeen. Pity she's not joined the Black OUT campaign, and if I cannot convince the important people in Scottish curling that black tops have no place on a curling rink, then we are not going to make much progress in reclaiming our colourful sport. Incidentally, Scotland is not the only country to have the problem of all black outfits. See Al Cameron's Sack the Black blog post here.

Photos by Bob.

January 26, 2008

Henderson wins YARA

Billy Henderson, Roy Henderson, Robin Anderson and Will Davidson-Gall won the Yara Farmers Championship at the Dewar's Rinks in Perth yesterday. In the final of the 25th anniversary event, Henderson's team beat Robert Clark, Jim Strang, Neil Sands and Johnny Johnstone at the last stone of the final.

Linda Young (skip), Margaret Scott, Hazel Swankie and Carol Dawson won the Ladies' prize.

Good news last night, amidst the anniversary celebrations, is that the sponsors are looking forward to the 26th championship next season!

Photo at top: Billy Henderson.

Above: Tove Andersen, Managing Director YARA UK, presents the trophy and prizes to L-R Will Davidson-Gall, Roy Henderson, Billy Henderson and Robin Anderson.

L-R: Linda Young, Margaret Scott, Hazel Swankie and Carol Dawson.

Pics by Bob.

January 25, 2008

Scotland's representatives at the World Mixed Doubles

It has been a difficult week for Logan Gray, the Scottish Mixed Doubles Curling Champion. His partner in the event, Kelly Wood, has been advised by National Coach Derek Brown that if her team was to win the Columba Cream Gold League she would not be able to go to Vierumaki for the first World Mixed Doubles event. Logan and Kelly won the title at Murrayfield the weekend before Christmas. That report is here.

It was just not practical to wait to see if Team Wood does win the Scottish, so Logan has had to decide whether he should ask another player, or waive his opportunity to compete in Finland. He decided on the latter course of action and informed the Royal Club. The governing body then offered the runners-up at Murrayfield, Dillan Perras and Judith Carr, the chance to go, and they have accepted.

Judith is excited by the prospect. She said that she and Dillan are, "Prouder than you could ever imagine, to represent Scotland in Finland!" And now they are going! The mother and son combination will be great representatives, and if they play like they did at Murrayfield they will do very well indeed.

January 24, 2008

News of the future of the Glynhill Ladies International

I must admit that I enjoyed the Glynhill Ladies International at the Braehead curling rink last weekend. A note from the organisers today confirms that feedback from competing teams has been positive, and that plans are already underway for next year. A move to twenty-four teams, up from this season's twenty, is planned. Judith McFarlane, co-chairman, says she hopes the competition will continue to grow and be a valued addition to the WCT-e calendar.

The Glynhill competition was the last WCT-e event of the season. Top of the money list is Mirjam Ott of Switzerland. Ludmila Privivkova is in second place with her fifth place finish at Braehead.

Meantime, if you would like to look back at the event, you can watch some of the final here. This was filmed by Stable Recordings of Beith. This was the company that put together the promotional DVD Curling from a Wheelchair for the WCF. It is also available to watch on You Tube here.

Below are a few Scottish Curler memories of the Glynhill competition. There are more photos and a report in February's magazine which has already gone to print. Subscription form is here.

It was good to have Kelly Scott and her World Champions take part in the event. Photo by Bob.

Good to see some Russian smiles, caught by Richard Gray.

So what do you do if you don't make the playoffs. You go see a little of Glasgow and do some shopping, all made possible by one of the event sponsors, Arriva, who really helped out with event transport. Pic by Bob.

I really should not single out any of the organising committee and the volunteers, but these two I think had the hardest job, yet one that is absolutely essential to get right in any major event. Andrew Cousar and Ranald Findlay's remit was TRANSPORT. Pic by Bob.

It was a hard weekend for all the staff at Braehead, on and off the ice! The bar and catering coped admirably, although if we have 24 teams next year chef will need a bigger kitchen! Photo by Bob.

Stable Recordings at work ...... recording. Photo by Bob.

Gail Munro and Kelly Wood in the final. Photo by Richard Gray.

January 23, 2008

Pacific Junior Championships

The Pacific Junior Curling Championships were held January 16-20 in Jeonju, South Korea. China, Japan, Korea and New Zealand contested both junior men and junior women's titles, with one slot available in each division for the World Junior Championships.

So who will be going to Ostersund, Sweden, March 1-9? In the junior men's event, China beat Japan in the gold medal game. In the junior women's competition, Japan defeated China to go through. You can find all the scores from Jeonju here.

Scotland's Dor Borthwick was umpire at the event. Actually, if you look closely you can see her in the photo above!

Scotland's teams for Ostersund will be decided at the Scottish Junior Championships at the Dewar's Centre, Perth, February 6-10. The draw for the event is now on the RCCC website here.

Thanks to Dor Borthwick for the photo, which was taken by one of the volunteers at the event.

January 22, 2008

Presentation to Eve Muirhead

The photo shows Eve Muirhead being presented with a new chanter by Bill Wilks, representing Atholl Province curlers, at the Atholl Curling Rink, Pitlochry. This was in recognition of her success at the World Junior Curling Championships in Eveleth last season.

Now 16 years old, Eve's curling career started in the Atholl rink seven years ago and she uses the facility for regular practice with her brothers Glen and Thomas.

Eve is a piper with the Pitlochry and Blair Atholl pipe band and the chanter was specially hand crafted for her by David Naill and Co of Somerset who are regarded as the finest bagpipe makers in the world. The chanter was designed by Eve and has an engraved silver inscription. Most recently multi talented Eve piped the finalists of the Ramada Perth Masters on to the ice at the Dewars Centre! Here she is.

Presentation photo courtesy of Alister Walker.

The two Kellys on Sports Weekly

Did you hear the two Kellys - Scott and Wood - on John Beattie's Sports Weekly programme on BBC Radio Scotland last Saturday? You can find a listen again link here.

It is always good to hear our sport being discussed on national radio. Kelly Wood is no stranger to the programme, and it was great that the Canadian World Champ got up early to go in to the studio and help promote our sport. Mind you she may have regretted it later in the day, as her team lost two games and crashed out of the tournament!

Well done to both girls, they were great ambassadors. If you will allow me an observation though, I thought that John and co-presenter Katie Still were just a bit too 'nice' in their questioning, and I nearly fell of my seat when John said to Kelly Wood that her media training was very evident!

Minister for Communities and Sport Stewart Maxwell was also on the programme and his comments on the sportscotland and Scottish Institute of Sports reorganisation make interesting listening. He also said he would like to give curling a go. I hope the invitations have already gone out from Cairnie House. He would be most welcome on the ice anywhere in Scotland!

The photo of the two Kellys with John Beattie and Katie Still is courtesy of Donald Garden, Producer BBC Sport Scotland.

January 21, 2008

Yara Farmers Championship

With eighty teams, the YARA Farmers Championship is the largest curling event in Europe. First games were played today at the Dewar's Centre in Perth. Largest? Doesn't really matter - those who take part in this event (which reaches its climax on Friday) swear it is the most enjoyable!

This is the twenty-fifth year of the event, which makes it one of the longest running sponsorships and most sought after invitations on the curling calendar!

The competition has been organised faithfully by Alan Wood (Woodie to everyone) for centuries (or so it seems). Perth director David Hay, whose father Chuck was one of the instigators of the event, says of Woodie, "No review of the YARA Farmers Championship would be complete without mention of one man who has been at every event. Woodie is a great character and is loved by all competitors. He handles all the day-to-day organization of the event in a calm professional manner and has always kept the championship running smoothly."

Here he is throwing the first stone. I'll be up to see the action as soon as I get February's Scottish Curler off my desk this week! But I wonder if I'll be lucky enough to see an 8-end this year.

Alan Wood with Jenny Bain, Helen Meikle, Susan Meikle and Joyce McCluskey who scored an eight-ender last year.

January 20, 2008

Weekend roundup

Gail Munro, Lyndsay Wilson, Karen Addison and Annie Laird won the inaugural Glynhill Ladies International at Braehead today, defeating the Scottish Champions Kelly Wood, Jackie Lockhart, Lorna Vevers and Lindsay Wood in the final. Wood's team fought back from 5-1 behind to be in a tied game in the last end. To keep her unbeaten record over the weekend, and to collect the £2500 first prize for her team, Gail made a perfect hit with her last stone.

Verdict on Scotland's first women's WCT-e event? Top class. Well done to all involved. Thanks to legacy funding from the 2005 World Women's Championship in Paisley, and hopefully continued support from the sponsors, the event will definitely go ahead next year. Incidentally I counted twice as many spectators watching the final than at the recent Ramada Perth Masters!

Elsewhere at the weekend, defending champion Keith Prentice has qualified for the final of the House of Bruar Scottish Seniors Championship. Also through from the Aberdeen group are Bob Kelly, Andy McGlynn, Barton Henderson, Graeme Govan and David Clydesdale. The results are here. The finals are at the Lanarkshire rink, February 14-17.

The qualifying rounds for the Scottish Junior Men's Championship were held at Ayr this weekend. The results are on the RCCC website here. The qualifiers: John Penny and Lindsay Gray from Section 1; Glen Muirhead and Ally Fraser (after a tiebreaker) from Section 3; Jamie Dick and Graeme Black from Section 4. Paul Russell finished top of Section 2, but there was a three way tie for the second qualifying spot. Ian McClune beat Stuart Dodds in the first tiebreaker but lost the second to Greg Drummond 3-2, so Drummond and his team go through.

The Scottish Junior finals are at the Dewar's Centre in Perth, February 5-10.

L-R: Lyndsay Wilson, Gail Munro, Karen Addison and Annie Laird with the Ladies International Curling Kettle.

Playoffs at the Glynhill

So who were the protagonists who won the right to play at 8.0am Sunday morning at Braehead in the first Glynhill Ladies Curling International? Who progressed to the semis? Find the results here.

Team of the weekend award goes to Gail Munro, Lyndsay Wilson, Karen Addison and Annie Laird. Undefeated and still going strong!

Eve Muirhead (above), Kerry Barr, Vicki Adams and Sarah Macintyre. Good performance from this junior rink.

Anna Hasselborg's junior team from Sweden gave a good account of themselves, but Sunday morning's game was just an end too much. I played against her dad, Michael, in the Silver Broom in 1983! Just thought I'd mention it.

Gillian Howard and her team are playing with such confidence - wanting too to show just what an unsupported team can do, given the opportunity! Well deserve their place in the semis.

Sarah Reid and Edith Loudon here at auditions for Women in Black 2. Will Smith is in negotiations for a cameo role. The supporters in the bar are hoping to be cast as aliens. Seriously though, what other sport in the world would allow two teams dressed identically, in black, to compete against each other. It's a nonsense. It is making the sport look stupid. It has to stop. RCCC, Scottish Institute of Sport, Glynhill Organisers, Umpires, WCT-e, WCF, anybody... ARE YOU LISTENING? (Glad I got that off my chest. New Year Resolution - say what you really think, Bob).

Nearly forgot, the Loudon team are still contenders for the big prize today! Having a good weekend.

Kelly Wood, Jackie Lockhart, Lorna Vevers and Lindsay Wood are working away!

Ludmilla Privivkova, much to the disappointment of her many fans on the organising committee, made the quarters but not the semis, downed by the Wood machine.

Mind you, there were forces other than physical at work in the Braehead rink this morning. Can you spot the fourth Russian in this picture. (No it's not umpire Ian Addison.) Look top right, on the poster board! It's the WCF promotional poster (below) with the lovely Anastassia Skoultan, sadly no longer competing (it's a long story). Note to Les Harrison. Time for a new WCF promotional poster. Suggestion, get Ana Arce to chose a model (anybody else missing the Fire on Ice calendar this year?). Suggestion to Ana, a certain Hungarian skip might be a good choice. And yes, look forward to Helen Wilson's article about Ildiko in the February Scottish Curler magazine. Find out how to subscribe here.

All pics by Bob. Update late tonight. It's been a fun weekend.

January 19, 2008

Qualifiers at the Glynhill

What an interesting day it has been at the Glynhill Ladies International at Braehead! Kelly Scott's world curling champs failed to qualify. All the results are here.

But who did get through? It took two tiebreakers, but the lineup for the quarterfinals Sunday 08:00 is:

Privivkova v Wood
Hasselborg v Howard
Reid v Loudon
Munro v Muirhead

More pics tomorrow, hopefully.

Out and about at the Glynhill International curling at Braehead

Why is world champ Kelly Scott looking so glum at the Glynhill Ladies Curling International at Braehead? The clue may be found in the scoreboard below. This photo is by Richard Gray, all the others are by Bob.

Oops, that wasn't on the agenda. Find all the other scores here.

Here's who did the damage. Gillian Howard is shown delivering. Sweepers are Jill Donald and Rosemary Arkley, and Alison Kinghorn is in the head. That's a result for the team CV.

In Scotland, when crossing the road you should look right.

Then look left! Yulia Svetova's young Russian team shows how it is done. Love the colour!!

Sarah Macintyre, here with Vicki Adams and Kerry Barr, are in Eve Muirhead's team.

That's Yulia Svetova on the left in this Russia v Germany encounter.

Pretty in pink. Jennifer Priestley and Barbara McFarlane work hard on Sarah Reid's last stone to pick out that front red for a big three.

Team Denmark.

Madeleine Dupont is asking nicely for some sweeping.

Edith Loudon and her team are enjoying the weekend. Here Edith is doing a quick promotion for Duck tape. (Other manufacturers of tape are available.)

Women in Black: the Braehead event. Mairi Milne uses her magic brush to attract the aliens on Saturday.

Playoffs tomorrow. Should be good.