September 30, 2008

RCCC Adult Camp

I hear great things about the first Royal Caledonian Curling Club adult camp weekend at Kinross. Sixteen curlers took part last Friday to Sunday. The camp was organised by RCCC Development Manager Judith McFarlane, with Ena Stevenson and Sheila Swan.

The ‘Curly Wurly’ team of Avril Glencross, Andy Taylor, Peter Malcolm and Lesley Low were the stars of the weekend!

Judith says, "Thank you to all the staff at the Green Hotel, the Windlestrae and the curling rink for providing great facilities and contributing to the success of the weekend."

The photo is courtesy of Judith McFarlane (that's her on the right) with Sandy Morgan, Les Morgan, Allan MacLennan, Robert Stewart, Keith Anderson, Avril Glencross, Andy Taylor, Jacqui Taylor, Ronnie McDonald, Ian McDonald, Peter Malcolm, Mike Watt, Paul Lyden, Pat Lyden, Marion Malcolm and Leslie Low. Ena is also in the pic, on the left.

September 29, 2008

Remembering a friend

In the formative years of Lockerbie Young Curlers Club I was invited to visit the rink by Liz Smith who had established the club in 1983. She picked my brains on many occasions about junior curling and how it should be promoted. I got to know many of the juniors, and indeed the friendliness I experienced then influenced my decision twenty years on to set up home in the area. Indeed, it was Liz who first saw Skip Cottage, and suggested it might be the place for the Scottish Curler editor!

Local curlers used to joke that Liz had a bed in the ladies' changing room at the Lockerbie rink, she was there that often! That many Lockerbie curlers went on to achieve success on the national and international stage is due in large part to the effort that Liz put in over the years. She was very proud of them all.

Those who knew her know of what she did for the sport, and of her kindness to others in all sorts of ways. Some years ago she fought cancer and won. But a second battle over the last few months she could not win. When I returned from Austria this morning it was to the news that she had died last Wednesday.

The photo, from the Scottish Curler archives, is of Liz with L-R Ricky Burnett, Craig Wilson, Craig Strawhorn, Neil Murdoch and Stuart Byers, the 1993 World Junior Champions from Lockerbie.

September 28, 2008

World Curling Tour Europe Oslo

Kelly Wood, Eve Muirhead, Lorna Vevers and Karen Addison, team GB, won the Radisson SAS Oslo Cup, a World Curling Tour Europe event, beating Sweden's Annette Norberg 5-4 in a close final. The teams were tied at four all after seven ends but Wood had the last stone advantage in the final end, scoring one shot for the title.

In the semi final the Wood team beat Claire Milne. Gail Munro's team made it to the quarters to lose out to Milne.

In the men's event the GB team skipped by Warwick Smith got to the semi finals but lost out to Norway's Thomas Ulsrud. Peter Loudon lost a tie break to Pal Trulsen.

In a short final Ulsrud beat reigning World Champion Kevin Martin 8-2 in just five ends to win the event.

Posted by Christine Stewart

September 27, 2008

Kitzbuehel roundup

Don't they scrub up well: Team Scotland ready to party! L-R: Alan Smith, Gillian Howard, Karen Strang; David Mundell. Finished fifth in the rankings at the event.

Today's caption competition photo is from the final of the European Mixed Curling Championship 2008!

Let's hear it for the runners-up. This is second Martin Snitil.

A good coach knows how to make his team smile at the fourth end break!

One has to feel sorry for the Russian team finishing just out of the medals. This is skip Alexander Kirikov.

Rainer Schopp launches a German missile!

Let's hear it again for the silver medalists - skip Jiri Snitil!

This is what I was trying to explain in the previous post. Snitil has to raise the red stone his brush is beside to split out the red German stone on the tee.

These are the winners of the Fair Play awards at the championship: Jaana Hamalainen from Finland (I hope I got this right) and John Jo Kenny, skip of the Irish team.

The eyes have it. Melanie Robillard, the German lead.

Let's hear it for the runners-up - Czech third Hana Synackova.

And lead Karolina Pilarova. She's the shy one who doesn't like looking up for the camera!

Pics by Bob. That's it from Kitzbuehel. Hope you enjoyed the week seen through Curling Today's eyes!

Final in Kitzbuehel

The deciding game at the Euro Mixed curling was a tight affair. Rainer Schopp, Andrea Schopp, Sebastian Jacoby and Melanie Robillard did not get the opportunity to establish early dominance in the final against the Czech Republic, as they had in the semi and in their playoff game against Scotland. The teams went into the fourth end break at 2-2.

The Czechs (Jiri Snitil, Hana Synackova, Martin Snitil and Karolina Pilarova) were in trouble in the fifth - there were four German stones counting at one point, and they gave up a single against the head.

Snitil drew the button for his single at the seventh. Schopp's side were one up coming home with the hammer.

It wasn't over. Czech third player Hana Synackova played a perfect draw to the button behind cover and then guarded it well. Andrea Shopp, forced to attempt an angled raise takeout, was perfect and the Czechs were on the back foot again.

Snitil's only hope with his last was an raise clearance at an angle, if he had any hope of forcing play into an extra end. He was perfectly played - too perfect, and jammed it. Germany were the champions. Rainer Schopp's first gold of a long career!

Sweden beat Russia for the bronze medals.

Photos of gold, silver and bronze by Bob. More later.

Semifinals in Kitzbuehel

The semifinals of the European Mixed Curling Championship saw a classic matchup between youth and experience. Hotshot Swede Niklas Edin and his youthful team lined up against Rainer Schopp's Germans, who eliminated Scotland yesterday. It was no contest, the Swedes only scored in one end and conceded after six when they were 7-1 down!

In the other game, the Czech Republic were always in charge against the Russians. Jiri Snitil's side led 8-3 after six and the result was not in doubt.

All the results and standings are here.

Top: German skip Rainer Schopp

Can they be stopped?

The Czech team in action

Swedes work hard in vain

"Can you hear me?"

Pics by Bob

September 26, 2008

Friday's hot picks from Kitzbuehel

"Scotland. The End."
or "Did you have to use a wide angle lens for that pic, Bob?" (submitted by David Mundell)
or "What a funny place to park your stopwatch."
or "Who was it that wanted to see more pics of Karen Strang?"
or "One opinion of the Scottish Curler magazine"

Thanks to Karen for being a good sport and not minding being the butt of the jokes tonight!

"Scottish fan in the stands"

Alan Smith

The German team in action against the Scots today.

Andrea Schopp

Germany v Denmark. Captions required!

This is some sort of bonding ritual within the Danish team!

The two sheeter that is Kitzbuehel's curling rink.

Blonde of the day is umpire Katja Weisser!

Here she is again, and can I just say that some people get all the good jobs!

There was a time when the Scottish Curler editor enjoyed vertical rock too, so Bob was impressed with Katja's performance on the speed climbing wall at the Mercedes Benz Sportpark!

Playoff decider at Kitzbuehel

Alan Smith, Gillian Howard, David Mundell and Karen Strang had a long lie this morning and a frustrating wait for the 2pm start of their playoff decider against Germany, who had beaten Denmark earlier. At stake was a place in the semifinals of the European Mixed Curling Championship.

Rainer Schopp and his German team came out aggressively as they had played this morning, drawing around short stones at every opportunity, and making good use of the free guard zone. They took two at the first. So tight was the position in the house that the German skip elected not to play his final stone, there being no way to count a third. Then Alan was forced to play his last stone through a port to the button just to get a single at the second.

Germany took a single in the third. The fourth was blanked.

The Scots tried to get something going in the fifth, but Rainer Schopp played a raise takeout to leave his side lying four. Alan's last stone takeout just had to curl a millimetre more to get shot, but it didn't and the Scots were down 4-1.

The Scots had a chance, though not an easy one, to get at least two back in the sixth, but it was not to be Alan's day, and they lost another single against the head. They DID get their two at the seventh, but the rally was a little late. They were 5-3 down in the eighth, without the hammer.

The Germans did not change tactics to keep things clear in the last end, at first anyway, and the Scots were able to get something of a guddle underway. The most extraordinary thing then happened. The German skip decided not to play his first stone!

Alan then played a cracker, hitting an edge of his own at speed to move it sideways to push the hidden German stone out of the house (did you understand that explanation?) The Scots lay two.

But Rainer Schopp had an open takeout for the game, and this he made!

Semifinals and final tomorrow, Saturday. Sweden plays Germany; Russia plays the Czech Republic. Find all the results here.

Top: The Scots in action against Germany. Pic by Bob.

A quick update

Scotland will meet Rainer Schopp's German side in the last qualifier for the fourth semifinal place at the European Mixed Curling Championship in Kitzbuehel, Austria.

In a bizarre game this morning, the German and Danish sides swapped big ends, Joel Ostrowski conceding when he came up short in the seventh to go 12-8 down!

The Sco-Ger game is at 14.00 local time.

The results are all here.

Pic by Bob of the German team in conference!

September 25, 2008

Tiebreaker v Switzerland

What a game!

Swi 101 000 01 - 3
Sco 010 110 10 - 4

Looking at a linescore really tells you not a whit about the good shotmaking. With last stone in the first end Christian Moser hit on the nose for a single. With the Swiss playing perfectly in the second, Alan had an early test of his mettle with a hit against two, which he made perfectly.

The third end could have been the key one, but the Scottish skip produced an inch perfect freeze with his first to get the team out of trouble. That's the shot sliding into place in the photo above, and it kept the Swiss to a single.

More mettle testing in the fourth, when Alan had to make his last stone count with three lying against him. It was 2-2 at the break!

Christian Moser, Niki Goridis, Stephan Luder and Michele Moser were playing with a confidence they had not shown in their last couple of games. Could Alan, Gillian, David and Karen pull something out the bag to shake that confidence?

The Scottish skip had a dilemma in the fifth. With one already hidden, does he try and hide another or whip away the Swiss stone lying in second position. He decided to do the latter to put pressure on the Swiss skip, and lay four. Moser was quick into the hack to play the draw to the button but he was overswept, and the Scots stole one.

Up 3-2 in the seventh, a rare miss from David put the pressure on the team. But, as always, Alan had a special in his armoury. Not easy to do on the swinging ice, he played a delicate hit and roll behind cover. Moser tried the raise to count two, but got the wrong angle. Scotland had stolen and were two up coming home, without.

It was textbook perfect all the way in keeping the last end clear - almost! Alan freshed his clearance of a lone Swiss guard with his first. Moser came perfectly behind to the front of the four foot. Alan made up for his miss by drawing the button partly hidden. The Swiss removed the Scots counter but rolled out, and Scotland were in the mix with Denmark and Germany for the last semifinal place. These games tomorrow.

Scotland with the better average draw shot distance get the bye, and will play the winner of the Denmark-Germany game to reach the semifinals on Saturday morning.

Pic by Bob.

Thursday's medley from Kitzbuehel

The tiebreaker against Switzerland goes ahead at 5pm local time. This is Scotland's Gillian Howard. Can we reveal the secret now? I think so. Gillian very nearly didn't make it here. Her recovery from knee surgery, complicated by a stress fracture in her foot, saw her still doubtful a few days before the event in Kitzbuehel got underway. She's looked sore at times, but has played well. A real star!

And here are our other stars: Alan Smith, David Mundell and Karen Strang! Win or lose tonight, they have worn the saltire with pride.

Iveta Stasa-Sarsune, Latvia's skip

A close measure

Scottish ex-pat Brian Gray is the Latvian team coach

Team Russia have yet to lose a game in Kitzbuehel

The Swiss beat Scotland in the round robin. Can they do it again?

Even the mountain goats get blinged up in Kitz!

A French highland fling as they opened the doors for Scotland

The media and coaches' bench!

Hungary's Ildiko Szekeres is today's choice of Blonde of the Day!

Grrrrrrrrrr! Germany's Adrea Schopp. Pics by Bob.

Find all the results and standings here.

Scotland game 6 v Latvia

Alan Smith, Gillian Howard, David Mundell and Karen Strang were definitely up for this one, a game they had to win! Alan drew perfectly to count two at the first, and the team were again off to a good start.

Every game has a turning point. Today it was the second end. Latvian skip Iveta Stasa-Sarsune had played a super hit and roll with her first. Alan corner froze it. An accurate hit would have given Latvia a big three. But the vice skip competely messed up the calling of Iveta's final stone and allowed it to catch a front guard. A very close measure gave the Scots a single.

They stole three more at the third to be 6-0 up, and that was it. Keeping concentration and focus for another three ends was all that was required and the Latvian side conceded after the sixth, with the score at 10-2.

A tiebreaker against Switzerland is next to decide who finishes second in the section. The Czech Republic finished top and are already in the semis.

Find all the linescores and rankings here.

Top photo of the skips by Bob. More later.

French throw Scots a lifeline

Vive la France! France beat Switzerland in this morning's Group A match at the European Mixed Curling Championship in Kitzbuehel.

Swiss skip Christian Moser could not buy himself a draw in the latter half of the game against Lionel Roux's side.

So, where does that leave us. Scotland must now beat Latvia in their last round robin game. If they were to do so, that would set up a tiebreaker against the Swiss, to get into the playoff games for the fourth semifinal slot. There's a long way to go, but Scotland is not out of this yet.

This was a double takeout in the last end of the Fra-Swi game as the French recorded their second win of their six matches. Pics by Bob.