Here we are in Murrayfield at the Edinburgh International Championships, sponsored by Belhaven Best. This is Hammy McMillan.
Andy Kapp's German team in action.
Finland is here, as you can see!
David Sik's Czech team are one of eleven countries competing in this WCT-e event.
Today's Caption Competition. They say Organising Committee chairman Trevor Dodds had hair before he started to organise the event! Here talking to David B Smith, Scotland's curling history guru.
Here is the webcasting crew. Bob Kelly and Kenny Edwards doing the commentary this morning. That's Colin Mouat working a camera. Alex Mitchell i/c production in the background. Find the stream here. Scores here.
Pics by Bob.
Scottish Curler team member Robin Copland has these thoughts about yesterday's play. Good with words is our Copey. (But please don't expect full reports like this from every competition from now on! Unless of course every event recruits a good press officer who knows about the game and is willing to write for Curling Today!). Over to Copey....
A great day’s curling in Edinburgh
The first day of the Edinburgh International sponsored by Belhaven Best threw up some interesting games and provided a lively audience with a couple of shock results.
Perhaps the toughest section is A, with three fancied teams – and only two quarter-final places available. A key game in this section pitted David Edwards against the impressive Swedes skipped by Niklas Edin. Niklas himself has an impressive four Swedish Junior titles to his credit and an even more impressive haul of one Gold and three Silver medals in the World Junior Championship to his name. His three team mates, Sebastian Kraupp, Fredrik Lindberg and Viktor Kjall also have recent International experience, including a brave bronze medal at the 2007 World University Games in Pinerolo, playing with three players after one of their number fell ill at the start of the competition.
Niklas won this game, in the end fairly convincingly and Edwards found himself under pressure after only one game. Both he and Edin won their second section games and, in the third round, Edwards faced David Murdoch, cruising after two wins (although his second was only after an extra end final draw to the four foot against an impressive Dutch foursome, skipped by Mark Neeleman).
The first four ends between these two normally attacking teams was a dour (though impressively so!) affair until Graham Sloan managed to place a guard in end 5. Thereafter, it was 'game on' with a lot of excellent attacking play culminating in an eighth end steal for Team Edwards. This result brings them right back into contention; their two last games in the section are against an unlucky Jamie Dick - he lost an agonising 'last stone, last end' game against England’s Andrew Reed - and Mark Neeeleman.
Edin and Murdoch play off at 5.30pm on Saturday in a game that might very well become a 'must win' for David - especially if David Edward manages to win his last two games.
Meanwhile, in Section B, Pete Loudon and his team of Logan Gray, Richard Woods and Al Guthrie had a mixed day at the office, though they are still in contention on one win and two losses. They had the beating of Göran Carlsson, but a four shot swing when Pete’s attempted hit and roll for three turned into a horror jam for a lost one did for them in the end. They were lacklustre against a rampant Seb Stock but managed to get a score on the board with a tight win against Italy’s Joel Retornaz. Carlsson leads that section on three straight wins; Warwick Smith lost to both Colin Hamilton and Carlsson and finds himself in a dogfight that he probably thought he would avoid!
Sections C and D only had two games on Friday and each team faces three games on Saturday. In Section C, Tom Brewster won a tight game against Kalle Kiiskinen, who in the earlier session had taken the scalp of John Hamilton. John went on to lose a game that he probably will have felt he should have won against David Sik from the Czech Republic and thus finds himself propping up the table on zero wins and two losses. Strange to report, he is not out of it as Tom Brewster is the only team on two wins – everyone has else has dropped a game.
In Section D, the crowd was witness to some vintage Hammy McMillan play. Fresh from his Galleon Mini Tour victory, he accounted for John J Kenny’s Irish team, skipped in John’s absence by P J D Wilson, and the young Swiss team, skipped by Florian Meister. He sits alone at the top of the table with the only senior team in the competition, the former World Champion Rink skipped Keith Prentice, propping up the bottom of the table. That said, Keith forced Andy Kapp to play a difficult four foot draw for the game. Kapp had earlier lost to Graham Shaw in another tight game that went to an extra end.
The planned webcast of the first game was hijacked by technical difficulties – a shame, because it would have been good to see the team of the moment, Niklas Edin, in action. The second game seemed to be received, but in some cases without sound. The third game suffered a similar plight! Eventually, by draw four in the afternoon, the gremlins were put to the sword. Kenny Edwards, on a long hard road to recovery after a horror motor cycle accident at Knockhill, teamed up with Keith MacLennan to provide commentary on the Hammy McMillan v Florian Meister game; Robin Copland and Bob Kelly took over the commentary duties for the last round of the day game between the Davids Edwards and Murdoch.
Alex Mitchell oversaw things and Samantha Mooney, Stuart Dodds and Lesley Arrowsmith waggled the cameras!
There should be some cracking games tomorrow. There was a grand atmosphere in the bar, but there was more room down in the ice hall - take your pick!
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