December 18, 2008

Mixed Doubles Time

Now that the Curling Today blog has been going for more than a year, events are coming round which I have talked about before. Although it does seem like yesterday, it was in fact a full twelve months ago that the inaugural Scottish Mixed Doubles Championship was held at Murrayfield. The event was won by Kelly Wood and Logan Gray, as described here. That's Logan and Kelly in the photo above from the final last year.

A lot has happened in the interim. Kelly was not allowed to go to the World Championship in Vierumaki because of her other commitments representing Scotland, and Logan felt it the correct thing to do to pull out himself, rather than recruit another player with whom he had not competed before. Dillan Perras and Judith Carr, who had been runners-up in the championship, accepted the invitation to don the Scottish shirts in Finland. I was fortunate enough to be able to be there for part of the event and if you want a bit of nostalgia you can look back at the blog posts in March of this year.

I must say I enjoyed the format of this new game. Vierumaki turned me from a sceptic into a big fan! It has everything that pairs curling has, and more! I really do believe that the WCF has got it right, and that it could... just maybe.... become another Olympic curling discipline somewhere down the line. It needs a bit more publicity and positive PR though. It is only four months to the World Championship in Cortina, Italy, April 18-26. So, where's the event website? There's nothing. "Site coming Soon," it says on the WCF website. So is Christmas.

But hold on, what's this here? Something is happening in Italy, even if the WCF is keeping it a secret! The World Mixed Doubles is being considered as a test event for the Men's World Championship which will be held in Italy in 2010.

If I can just take a quote from the Italian website, "Mixed Doubles, a new formula in the curling scene, is a new discipline that made a successful d├ębut in 2008 with the World Championships at Vierumaki, in Finland, where the title was assigned to the Swiss team of Irene Scori and Toni Muller: a fresh and exhilarating competition that witnessed a challenge on the ice rink between giants of the curling world and new teams of the emerging nations. Technique, pure shotmaking and high-scoring action: these are the paradigms of a discipline capable of arousing and engaging the enthusiasm of the public."

Purple prose - I love it! (And I think that is the first time that the word 'paradigms' has appeared in this blog. We're moving upmarket!)

Has Canadian curling embraced mixed doubles curling this season? They did not last time, and sent two of their Mixed Championship winning team to the World MDs. That wasn't a great success. This season the CCA is again sending two of the winning Mixed Championship team to Cortina, but in the interim they are funding the two players (apparently) on a visit to watch the mixed doubles games at the Continental Cup which are being played, co-incidentally, as I'm writing this (see the results here).

Now, I believe I had a purpose when I began this blog, and it was to highlight the fact that the 2008 Scottish Mixed Doubles Championship gets underway tomorrow (Friday) at 4pm at Murrayfield. Logan Gray will be trying for another title, with his sister Lauren this time. The brother and sister meet a father and daughter combination, Jennifer Dodds and her dad Trevor, in their first game.

The results will be here on the Royal Club website, and Mike Haggerty's preview of the event is here.

I hope the fourteen pairings have fun, because, as I see it, it is an enjoyable, and skilful discipline. And if you would like to be 'aroused and engaged' then hold the Christmas shopping and get yourself along to Murrayfield this weekend. You can always buy your last minute gifts at the rink's shop!

More romance, that's what curling needs!! Mind you I doubt I'll get a photo like this at Murrayfield. This is what you do when you are waiting for the Canadians to decide what shot to play. That's Gyorgy Nagy and Ildiko Szekeres (yes, they're married) of Hungary in the background. And yes, they did beat the Canucks when they met in the round robin at Verumaki.

Pics by Bob.

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