August 29, 2009

New curling blog

Bob's new curling blog is here.

April 13, 2009

Skip Cottage

Bob's blog is now here.

Become a blogally today!

April 02, 2009

Scottish Curler future

The Scottish Curler magazine has been saved! The reaction of subscribers to the news that it would not be published after this season has led to a change of mind at Clyde and Forth Press.

The publishers have made the following statement:

"Following the recent announcement that the Scottish Curler was to close, its publisher Clyde & Forth Press Ltd, has received a huge amount of feedback from readers disappointed that the magazines was to cease publication after the May edition.

In light of this feedback it has been decided to continue the publication next season.

With Bob's impending retirement after a tremendous tenure as Editor we will work to create a new editorial perspective and the Curler will emerge for the 2009/10 season full of life and raring to go."

However unexpected this news, I welcome it and I am delighted that the title is to continue as a print magazine. The first Scottish Curler was published in January 1954.


March 24, 2009

The End

If you are missing Curling Today, please go here.

I refer to my previous post here. The April Scottish Curler magazine goes to print tomorrow with the following statement from the publisher, Clyde and Forth Press:

"Despite our exhaustive efforts to find a new publisher for the Scottish Curler we have not been successful. Therefore, regrettably, the Scottish Curler will cease to be published after the forthcoming May edition. Subscribers who have paid for editions into next season will have outstanding amount from their subscriptions refunded. Readers will receive a direct communication to this effect in due course."

I would like to thank all those who have supported the magazine during my tenure as Editor over the past seven years, and to all who have contributed, especially the Team - you know who you are!

This news means that this is the last post on the Curling Today blog, whose purpose has been to promote and support the magazine.

This link is to my own personal blog (it's an addiction) if you want to follow what the future holds for me. There may even be the odd piece of curling news there. If you want to contribute to discussions on the future of curling communication in Scotland, then the Scottish Curler Forum is where to go.

Curling Today's old posts (all 864 of them) will stay live for a while.

David Smith and I intend to continue with the Curling History blog, and maybe I'll have time soon to contribute more to this.

I'm still looking for your memories of the Scottish Curler, which was first published in January 1954, for the final May issue. These and personal messages can be sent to: Hoglinewamphray /at/, or to the addressses in the front of the printed magazine.

Thank you to all who have read and followed the blog, and goodbye for now.


March 23, 2009

Cupar progress

The Fife Curling Trust are progressing their plans for a curling facility in Cupar. Our previous post about the project is here. The news today is that a site has been secured in Duffus Park in partnership with Cupar Cricket Club. The cricket club will utilise the building in the summer months, thus giving the facility year round activity and revenue and fostering a sense of community round the facility. They will obviously use it for changing and clubhouse facilities and also use the ice hall for indoor practice during inclement weather.

Both Elmwood College and Bell Baxter High School, which are close by, are keen to utilise the curling rink for their students!

The prospectus is now available, see here. Now really is the time for curlers in the local area, and throughout Scotland, to get behind the project! I'm going to buy a brick, I hope you will too.

The Trust Chairman, David Steel, says, "Now we have a definite timescale to work to and hopefully all going well, we will be operational for Sept 2010."

April 09 - issue building tender
May 09 - appoint preferred main contractor
May 09 - stage 1 sportscotland application
June 09 - detailed planning application
Oct 09 - Stage 2 sportscotland application
Dec 09 - sportscotland decision
Spring 2010 - Start construction
Sept 2010 - Open new ice rink

Best wishes to all involved. Make the dream a reality! Scottish curling needs this to happen.

Scottish Wheelchair Curling Championship

The Scottish Wheelchair Championship was held at Curl Aberdeen at the weekend.

The semis matched Gregor Ewan’s Moray team against Mo Simpson’s Highland side, and Michael McCreadie, Braehead, faced Jim Sellar of South Lanarkshire. All the results and linescores can be found here. Ewan and McCreadie progressed to contest the final.

Gerald Pocock, Jim Elliot, Aileen Neilson and skip Michael McCreadie stole a single at the fifth to lead 5-3. But the title was decided on the last stone in the eighth end. The Braehead skip had to tap back an Elgin shot to win, and did so. Gregor Ewan, Norman Anderson, Jim Gault and Michael Mackenzie were the runners-up.

Above L-R: Aileen Neilson, Michael McCreadie, Gerald Pocock and Jim Elliot with the trophy. Photo by Judy Mackenzie. Thanks to Judy for this and the report.

March 22, 2009

Pairs and Gatherings

Royal Club Manager of Competitions, Colin Hamilton, not only organises the main events, but he usually plays in them too. And wins them. Today at Stranraer, with Sean Murphy, he captured the National Pairs title, for the third time, following previous success with Vic Moran in 1989 and Trevor Dodds in 1991. Find all the results here.

Now, thanks to Scottish Curler team member Robin Copland for the following:

"For the past five years one of the highlights of the curling year in Edinburgh has been the International Curlers Gathering organised by Colin McCall and the Penicuik Curling Club. This year’s competition was no exception and curlers travelled to the event from Canada, St Petersburg in Russia, Switzerland, Sweden, Denmark, Spain, Slovakia and Germany. There were eleven foreign teams in total, the other seventeen teams being Scottish.

All the teams were asked to identify themselves. Some did so in traditional style – thus the Musketeers and Merchiston; others tried a mix of the old and the new, for example the Inverkeithing Royals; then there was the plain eccentric – the B-52’s, Medved, the Corrie Fisters, Puigcerda and the unpronouncable AnderChristalwake!

The Musketeers (Hamish Lorrain-Smith, Alan Chalmers, Struan Macnee and John Munro) successfully defended their title.

This competition is about much more than winning and losing; it really is a celebration of curling and the making and renewing of curling friendships. A successful ceilidh was enjoyed by many of the competitors on the Saturday night. The rink was filled to bursting throughout the weekend and even the prizegiving ceremony – traditionally attended these days by one man and his dog – was a celebration of the event with the upstairs bar at Murrayfield filled to capacity. The ceremony was chaired by Colin McCall and the prizes were presented by the Rt Hon George Grubb, Lord Provost of the City of Edinburgh."

Top: Janet McMillan presents the Pairs trophy to Sean Murphy and Colin Hamilton. Photo courtesy of Gail McMillan.

Above: The winning Musketeers with the Lord Provost. L-R: Alan Chalmers, John Munro, Rt Hon George Grubb, Lord Provost of the City of Edinburgh, Hamish Lorrain-Smith and Struan Macnee. Photo courtesy of Robin Copland.

March 20, 2009

"Haggis gets a bad rap"

If you have a spare twenty minutes this weekend, then have a listen to Dean Gemmell's interview with David Murdoch on The Curling Show.

The relaxed Murdoch talks about team selection, practice, his daily routine as a professional curler, promotion of the sport in Scotland, blue blazers, and representing GB, as well as many other things. How do you think he responds when asked about Vernon - the Watergate of Scottish Curling? Listen in and find out!

If you have heard The Curling Show before, you will be used to Gemmell's style. If not, then you might find the whole thing a bit odd. But David handles the interview with his usual professionalism, and listening to it will be revealing to those who don't know him as a person.

David Murdoch pic by Bob.

March 19, 2009

How to speak Korean

The end of the curling season is rushing towards us. This weekend sees the Scottish Wheelchair Curling Championship at Curl Aberdeen, and the National Pairs at Stranraer. I'm relegated to following the results from the Royal Club website, as I suspect many of you will too.

Of course, it's all happening on the other side of the world. Gangneung, Korea, is the venue for the Mount Titlis World Women's Championship. That's our team above - Isobel Hannen is coach, Jackie Lockhart is alternate, Anne Laird lead, Rachael Simms second, Karen Addison third and Eve Muirhead skip. And the event mascot is on the left!

No-one is really expecting the team to be in the medal zone. For many of us, it will be entirely satisfactory if the women put up a good show, enjoy themselves on and off the ice, and come home as a team without any controversy! RCCC Ladies' Branch President Sheila Miller has been learning a few words of Korean. When I saw her at the airport on Tuesday, as we met the Juniors home from Vancouver, she was practising some Korean phrases (see here). For those interested in language studies, and how the language is written, see more about Hangul here.

"Jjimjilbangeun iyonghaji aneulgeomnida" - I don't want to use the sauna room
"Yogi kyesanso chom kacho-oseyo" - Please bring me the check
"Matsaji seobiseureul batkko sipseumnida" - Our team has four players this year.

Anyway, enough nonsense. The Scots open their account against the home favourites on Saturday. The event website is here (beware sound). Mike Haggerty will be in Korea, and his first words are on the Royal Club website here, with reports after every one of the eleven Scottish games.

This is the venue. It houses two ice rinks, one on the ground floor, the other in the basement.

And this is the hotel where the officials and VIPs are staying. Yes, it does look like a ship which has run aground. Is there some sort of hidden inference here?

Team pic by Bob. Others from the event website.

March 18, 2009

How the Gold was won

Two years ago I was able to watch the World Junior final from Eveleth, as a webcast on my computer. Last year, the game was also available as a webcast, a joint venture between the WCF and Curlingkanalen. This year... nothing!

Is this progress? No it is not. We are going backwards in the promotion of the sport. We should all be bombarding the World Curling Federation and telling those in charge that they really should be getting the finger out, and thinking about the junior game, and thinking about us fans!

But Grumpy here is digressing. What brought on this morning's rant was that someone has gone to the trouble to post a video of the last couple of stones of the final on You Tube. Well done, and many many thanks to GoF for this. The link is here. And I've embedded it below. Enjoy.

Jim Law's photo above shows the position after Eve's last stone, and before Kaitlyn's final delivery. The Canadians are in a timeout. The video shows how the Scotland stone got there and what happened next.

March 17, 2009

Welcome home

In all my years involved with this great sport of ours, nothing gives me more pleasure that to be at the airport when a team comes back home from international duty with medals around their necks. So there I was at Edinburgh this evening to see our teams back from the World Junior Championships in Vancouver. Not all have come home - Eve Muirhead and Isobel Hannen are on their way to Korea for the Mount Titlis World Women's event. However, here are the others, tired yes, but looking great after their trip.

Back L-R: Alan Hannah, Graeme Black, Thomas Sloan, Steven Mitchell, Ally Fraser, Glen Muirhead. Front: Kay Adams, Sarah Macintyre, Vicki Adams, Anna Sloan, Rhona Martin.

Graeme Black, skip of the boys' team, was still disappointed that his team finished in seventh equal place, but he has learned much from the experience. And of course Scotland's junior men have a place at next year's event in Flims. All the team were full of praise for the girls who captured the gold medals.

And here are four of them: Kay, Sarah, Vicki and Anna.

A lot has made made of the fact that Eve Muirhead has won three gold medals at consecutive World Championships - the skip after all tends to get the attention - but let's celebrate Sarah's achievement tonight. The Strathclyde University student has three golds too, from Eveleth, from Ostersund and from Vancouver. Many congratulations Sarah, it is quite an achievement and makes all members of the front end union very happy!

Pics by Bob.

March 16, 2009

World Junior Champions

Eve Muirhead (skip), Anna Sloan (3rd), Vicki Adams (2nd), Sarah Macintyre (lead), Kay Adams (alternate), Isobel Hannen (coach). We salute you! Well done to you all. Proud of you, we all are!

The results and stats are all here (as well as whole albums of photos, just follow the Sevices link on the sidebar). Read Mike Haggerty's report of the final against Canada here, and the WCF reports are here.

Photos and report of the Championships will be in the April Scottish Curler, courtesy of Jim Law, as is the pic above.

March 15, 2009

Rink Championship

So what has this fuzzy old pic got to do with anything? Read on, and it should become clear!

Allan MacLennan (lead), Graeme Adam (skip), Ken Horton (3rd) and Stuart Naismith (2nd), representing Reform CC from Greenacres, with the RCCC Rink Championship trophy which they won today at the Galleon Rink, Kilmarnock. All the results are here.

The runners-up, from Keir CC, Stirling, were John Dewar (lead), Judith McFarlane (skip), Barbara McFarlane (3rd) and Andrew McAughtrie (2nd).

Judith, who is the Royal Club's Development Manager, skipped a great game in the final, making a number of fine doubles too. Adam was one up with the hammer playing the last end and had an open hit for the game.

This was the shot in the sixth end which changed the game. Jude had just made a great double takeout and lay beind the corner, with another counter in the house, and last stone advantage. Allan and Stuart are horsing their skip's stone, to make it lie perfectly frozen. And Judith had no choice but to play a straightforward draw for a single. But she was just heavy, gave up one against the head, and the game advantage!

Scott Hamilton

Moray Combe practising a little meditation on the release!

Lois, aka Mrs Copey!

Forfar skip Alan White

'Whoa,' says Alan.

The former Scottish Senior Champions were in good form. Here Ken Horton joins in to help Allan MacLennan and Stuart Naismith on skip Graeme Adam's stone.

Sarah Reid, recovered from her Harbin adventures.

A touch of nostalgia for me. Anyone else have longings after a pair of Spogos?

I'm not sure who calls him this!

Ken Horton and Graeme Adam. Ken was just 14, and Graeme 17 when they won the Rink Championship in the 1970-71 season. It has taken them a few years (you work it out) to come back and try to win it again. Quite a record for the two of them - they are unbeaten in the competition! Now here's a wee competition for you. Who were their teammates in 1971, who were they representing, and where was the championship played? I bet John ML Brown, the Scottish Curler correspondent and sometime quizmaster, will know the answer to this one!

Hair of the day. Craig Gudmundson

Judith doing her traffic warden impersonation.

Trevor Dodds

RCCC Finance and Admin Manager Alastair Hibbert

Lindsay Scotland

David Mundell and Jimmy Waddell

The top photo (courtesy of Leslie Ingram-Brown, from the Scottish Curler archive) shows Ken Horton, Peter Adam (Graeme's dad), Graeme Adam, John Brown, Ian Webster, and 'Mr Horton' (as we all called him, Ken's dad, to whom many young curlers in these early days in Crossmyloof owed so much). See John's comments below.

Scottish Schools Championship

The Lockerbie Academy team of (L-R) Hannah Fleming (skip), Kimberley Smith (3rd), Alice Spence (2nd) and Kirsten McNay (lead) won the Scottish Schools Championship at Ayr today. They defeated Garnock Academy in the final. All the results and linescores are here.

The Garnock Academy team: (L-R) Stuart Marshall (2nd), Frazer Keil (lead), Greg Matthew (3rd), Gavid Reid (skip). Here are some pics from today's semifinals and from yesterday.

Tasha Aitken and her team of Becca Kesley, Mhairi Anderson and Abi Brown so nearly made it an all-girls' final. Had Tasha's last guard drawn over just an inch more in the semifinal, Gavin Reid would not have been able to see enough of the Mary Eskine School shot to attempt a chip out.

This pic appeals to me! Abi Brown, Becca Kesley, Mhairi Anderson

Given the chance with last stone of the semifinal, Gavin was right on target to secure his team's place in the final.

Gavin Reid and Tasha Aitken

A tough one for Becca Kesley in the semi - a pulled thigh muscle left her unable to sweep.

Stranraer Academy's Rori Macpherson, here with sweepers Hamish McGeoch and Andy Lock (Ian Kirkpatrick is in the house), found the Lockerbie girls too strong for them in the other semifinal.

Another of the Stranraer team in action

Hannah Fleming. Grand young curler, great skip.

Curling is all about attention to detail. This young curler (identity concealed) is doing just that. Note the colour co-ordination!

Bell Baxter's Blair Jeffrey

Kimberley Smith watches that umpire Ron Tosh is doing the measure correctly!

Hamilton Grammar's Kyle and Craig Waddell watch as Garnock's Greg Matthew calls line.

Hamilton Academy's front end John Ballantyne and Rachel Hannen.

Merchiston Castle's Grant Hardie

Craigmount High's Mhairi Baird
It's Thai silk!

Merchiston's Hamilton McMillan

Loudon Academy's Euan Cunningham is getting excited. Perth Academy's Kyle and Cammy Smith behind.

Perth's Kyle Smith

Currie Community High's skip Rebecca Steven.

Fiona Munro is Currie's third, here caught in mid delivery!

Lockerbie's Kirsten McNay and Alice Spence.

Dollar Academy's Jayne Stirling

Umpire Carolyn Hibberd was one of the very first competitors in the Glasgow Schools' League when it began at Crossmyloof.... not that long ago actually!

Ewan Davidson of Douglas Ewart High gets the Editor's award for the most colouful player on the ice!

Well done to all who took part. All pics by Bob - if I have labelled any incorrectly let me know!