Scotland's junior curling teams have been looking towards this week all season, as the Scottish Junior Championships get underway at the Dewar's Rinks in Perth tomorrow. There are eleven teams in the junior women's event, as there were no qualifying competitions. These teams will play in two sections and the top four in each will fight it out to semis and final. Exactly how, I have no idea. Check out the draw, here. Clear as mud to me, but when I get to Perth I'm sure it will all become clear, and of course I'll explain here.
Who is favourite? Eve Muirhead, above, is the Scottish and World Champion skip. She is fast becoming (or should that be already is) the country's most talented player. Her senior team is top of the rankings in the Columba Cream Scottish. Her junior team is Sarah Macintyre (lead), Vicki Adams (second) and Anna Sloan (third). The four have not had a lot of opportunity to play together this season, but they are undoubtedly the team to beat. Who can do that? Claire Hamilton's team of Caitlin Barr, Rhiann Macleod and Lauren Gray have the potential. We shall see!
The junior men's field has already been reduced to eight after a qualifying round. There will be a round robin beginning on Wednesday with a single semifinal and final on Sunday. Glen Muirhead is the reigning champion, with former rival Greg Drummond now at third, Scott Macleod at second and Scott Andrews at lead. This team had the unenviable task of securing Scotland's place at the World Juniors in Vancouver, and this they accomplished in style (see here). Glen will be keen to get back to the world event to show that his side have much more in them than they were able to produce in Sweden last season.
Who else will challenge? Graeme Black's team have had a great season. Jamie Dick's team qualified for the Bruadar Scottish Finals, although they are not in the draw which has just been published and can be found here. The reason has not been officially announced as I write this but two of the team are involved in the World University Games and in the European Youth Olympics that week. However, the full team - Colin Dick, Lindsay Gray and Michael Goodfellow - will have their full attention on capturing the Scottish Junior title.
Junior curling is passionate, exciting and unpredictable. I love it! Can't wait. Weather permitting, I hope I'll be able to make some posts from Perth this week.
Top: Eve Muirhead. Above: Glen Muirhead
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