Gail Munro (above) may well be the reigning Scottish Champion with a new team for this season's Columba Cream Scottish Women's Curling Championship, but it will be Kelly Wood's side who I suspect will be feeling the pressure at Curl Aberdeen this weekend. Kelly, Jackie Lockhart, Lorna Vevers and Lindsay Wood are off to the European Championships as Scotland's representatives next month, having edged Edith Loudon's team in a five game playoff, described here.
With Edith now retired, Mairi Milne, Claire Milne, Lynn Cameron and Katie Loudon are the new girls on the block this weekend. They played together in Oslo early in the season and are undoubtedly a team with the potential to be in the mix when it comes to the final rounds of the Championship next February. No prize for guessing who the Milne team plays in their first game at 12.30 this Saturday - it's Team Wood!
Wood's other games this weekend are against Judith McFarlane, Sarah Reid and Gillian Howard.
After Vernon, Gail and Lyndsay Wilson have had to find a new front end. Just who has been a secret until now - mimicking a tactic used by the GB Squad of not naming the team prior to the competition, keeping the opposition guessing. So, who will line up for Munro at Curl Aberdeen on Saturday? Curling Today can exclusively reveal that.............. xxxxx xxxxx will be lead, and xxxxxx xxxxxxx will be second! (I could tell you, but then I'd have to kill you!)
Sadly, getting the December Scottish Curler ready to go to press will keep me away from Aberdeen this weekend. Ah well, I can look forward to the day when such events are webcast to one and all! In the meantime, I'll be following the results on the Royal Club website here, and you can also read Mike Haggerty's preview here.
Actually, I would like to be at Aberdeen for tomorrow's Q&A session (5pm and 6pm Friday evening at the curling rink), an opportunity for members to sit down with Bob Tait, the Royal Club Chairman. There are lots of questions even before this takes place, like 'Why should there be a need for such an event?' As I've said before, I wonder if anyone will turn up?
I found the atmosphere at the last AGM particularly acrimonious, and I would hope that this does not carry forward to what is really a positive and forward looking initiative by the Royal Club Board. It's good to talk!
Elsewhere, life goes on on the ice. I note that Germany and China have qualified for the World Wheelchair Curling Championship from the special ten country qualifying competition that has been going on this week in Prague. Germany and China will now join Canada, Korea, Italy, Norway, Scotland, Sweden, Switzerland and USA in Vancouver.
Sadly, Japan did not. You may remember that it was only the matter of a few centimetres which kept Scotland in the main world event after the competition in Sursee last season when relegation was decided on the basis of the draw shot challenge results rather than extra games. Japan was the country that lost out then. They did compete in Prague, finishing in sixth place with a 4-5 win-loss record. The linescores are here, and the summary report here.
At Greenacres, the qualifying rounds of the men's Scottish Masters Championship (for over 60s) have been taking place. Six sections of five, four games each, to find the top two in each section. Twelve teams progress to the finals next March. Teams skipped by the following have won through: Gifford Rickard, Walter Brown, William Shanks, Jim Stevenson, Ian Dykes, John Phillips, Bob Smellie, Michael Sutherland, Jim Bryson, David Smith, Jack Steven and Sandy Reid. Find all the scores here.
Twelve womens' teams are directly through to the finals which are again at the Greenacres Rink, March 5-8.
This weekend the last of the men's Mini Tour events takes place at the Galleon Centre. Find the draw for that, and follow the results, here. That's quite a section with Hammy McMillan, Alan Smith, Graham Shaw and Andrew Reid. Hammy won in Lockerbie. Can he rack up a second win in Kilmarnock and win the Colin Galbraith Trophy. We shall see!
And did you notice that the GB Squads are going to benefit from sponsorship from Primary General, and were on the ice in a public relations role yesterday? Read the story here.
Gail Munro's photo is by Richard Gray.
Chuck Hay - Chuck Hay, legend, died last week, aged 87. That's him in happy times on the hack at the Brora rink. You will find the World Curling Federation's obituar...
2 weeks ago