September 19, 2008

Juniors and seniors

I look at my diary from now to the end of the season, and I see curling events of all sorts waiting for a mention on Curling Today! I'll be doing my best - but apologies in advance if some competitions seem to get short shrift. I should probably have made mention before that the Greenacres Junior Masters is on this weekend, an earlier than usual date for the competition this year with the Renfrewshire rink having a packed programme.

For Scotland's junior men the weekend is the first step of a road that will lead four of them towards holding the very large trophy in the photo above! That's the TB Murray trophy which is now awarded to the Scottish junior men's champions.

Why is Royal Caledonian Curling Club competitions manager Colin Hamilton in the pic too? Well, he probably didn't want to make a big thing about it, but he's playing in the Scottish Seniors Championship this year. Having now made it to that crossroads of his life, he'll be having a tilt at one of the very few trophies he hasn't had on his mantlepiece as yet. He has been recruited by Braehead's Gary MacFarlane, Don Rutherford and Gordon Crawford to be their skip this season. Gary has been knocking on the door of that Senior Championship for a while as skip. With Colin in the head, the team have a skip with the best possible credentials, and huge experience. The draw for the qualifiers in January is already on the Royal Club website here.

Before then, I'm not sure if this team are in the draw for the Edinburgh International Senior Curling Championship which has been running successfully in parallel with the Edinburgh International Curling Championship since 1997 and has a loyal base of competitors who have returned to Murrayfield - in some cases year after year - to compete in friendly competition alongside the main event.

The press release for this event came in today. I had wondered what would happen to the seniors, now that the Edinburgh International itself is now a WCT-e event, see here. But the Edinburgh Seniors International is to continue, as a mid week event, and is sponsored by the Braid Hills Hotel!

The release says, "This year, the Edinburgh International Curling Championship has been accepted as a member event of the World Curling Tour - Europe and this has necessitated a change in the arrangements and draw schedule for the Seniors event.

The competition draw will have sixteen teams competing in round-robin leagues of four teams per league over four draw times on Wednesday 26 November (10.00 and 3.00) and Thursday 27 November (again 10.00 and 3.00 draw times). Every team is guaranteed three games of curling over the four draws. Section winners will progress to the semi finals of the High Road and Section runners-up will progress to the semi finals of the Low Road. Semi finals will take place alongside the main event semis at 12.30pm on Sunday 30 November and the Finals will take place at 3.00pm on the same day.

The competition is now full and the draw will be published presently. Competitors include teams skipped by former World Senior Ladies Champion and current Silver medallist Kirsty Letton, former Scottish Seniors Champions Ronnie Peat and Robert Smellie, as well as regular supporters of the event like Iain Hamilton, David Porteous and Jimmy Green. Some teams are travelling from afar - Alan Durno from Buckie and Billy Nairn from Dumfries to name but two."

What with the first European Seniors Invitations going ahead at Greenacres, I'm going to declare this a Silver Season!

Me, I'm off to see the donkeys (here).

Top pic of Colin Hamilton by Bob at the 2008 Scottish Junior Finals.

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