The first games in the Bruadar Scottish Championship are this evening (Monday) at 7 pm at the Dewar's Rinks in Perth. The draw is here. I am looking forward to seeing how the week will unfold! Who will be the men's champion at the end of the week? Warwick Smith again? David Murdoch, the Euro Champs? Could it be Tom Brewster's year? Gordon Muirhead? Or will one of the younger teams come forward?
I think though that this is the first time that we have had a father (Colin Hamilton) skipping a team in the finals, where his son (John Hamilton) is also taking part.
Mention of Colin, the RCCC Competitions Manager, allows me to say something about the changes that are being proposed for future Scottish championships. One part of the suggested proposals is that next year there will be one long weekend qualifying competition involving just twenty teams. These will play in two sections of ten, and the top five in each section will go forward to the finals week. I must say that's a better system than what happened this season, with the three sections, and seems to have found favour.
However, the problem for Colin - and this is why he would like to get feedback from ALL those playing competitively - is how to get these top twenty teams. One suggestion is that the top eight from this season's Scottish Finals will go directly to the top 20 qualifier next year. The remaining twelve could be the top four from the Mini Tour and the rest from a prequalifier OR the Mini Tour could act as the prequalifier to find all twelve teams.
I must admit that this latter idea is the one I would favour (for what my tuppence is worth). It would make the Mini Tour something really worth playing in, and, assuming the venues all provide good ice, that would be a good thing.
There are cost considerations in all this, as without the sponsorship to cover ice fees, playing in the Scottish is expensive!
A further suggestion is that the two Scottish Junior Finalists would be offered berths in the top 20 qualifier.
Can I stress that Colin H is really looking for feedback on this. Contact him through Cairnie House. There is a thread on the Scottish Curling Forum this morning. Contribute here.
The final round of the Columba Cream Gold League, the women's championship, gets underway at Perth on Tuesday.
John Hamilton at this year's prequalifying competition. Pic by Bob.
Colin Hamilton at last year's Scottish Championship. Pic by Richard Gray.
Rhona Martin and Scottish Liqueur Centre's Kenny MacKay show another of the '101 things to do with a curling stone' as they launched the second year of the Centre's support for Scottish curling recently! RCCC photo.
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