I like mixed doubles. It's fun to play and fun to watch. Better in many ways than pairs curling. So I'm disappointed that there is not an increased entry this year for the Scottish Mixed Doubles Championship. Only fourteen teams have entered, and these will play in three sections from 4pm tomorrow (Friday) at the Murrayfield rink. Eight teams will contest quarterfinals on Sunday and it will be all done and dusted later that day, and we will know then who will be headed for Chelyabinsk in Russia for the World Mixed Doubles Championship, April 16-24, 2010.
Keith MacLennan and Vicky Sloan are not defending their title, but I see Logan Gray's name in the draw. Logan won two years ago with Kelly Wood, and went out in the semis last year, playing with his sister Lauren. David Aitken was runner-up last year with his daughter Tasha, see here. He's in the draw again. The field may be small but it is certainly competitive. Find the results here.
The English Curling Association will hold its mixed doubles championship at Murrayfield this weekend too. It may be a first time that an English Curling Championship has been run alongside a Scottish Championship. I'm probably wrong - perhaps John Brown might confirm that factoid?
The current English mixed doubles champions are John Sharp and Jane Clark. That's John in the photo above. Can you identify where he is playing? The clue is if you recognise Ildiko Szekeres and Gyorgy Nagy, the Hungarian couple who won the silver medals in Cortina last year. The game is going on in the two-sheeter rink in Budapest!
I saw John at Braehead recently, where he was practising for this weekend. After winning the English event last season he and Jane travelled to Hungary to take part in a mixed doubles event there, as practice for the world event. Now, that's commitment!
I like two sheeters! This photo gives a good impression what the Hungarian rink is like.
Here's another pic of the action there last year.
If you would like to play mixed doubles in Budapest this season, you can! The date: March 12-14, 2010. Place: Curling Hall in Budapest (2 sheets) Address: Budapest, Kamareerdei str. 12-14. Number of teams: 16 (four Hungarian and twelve from other countries). Entry fee: 180 Euros per team (and that includes lunch for three days, dinner on the Friday and a party on the Saturday).
Ildiko Szekeres and Gyorgy Nagy are the hosts of the competition. They are big fans of mixed doubles and their silver medals at the WMDCC 2009 bears this out.
Applications need to be in by January 15, at the latest, but it is first come first served. There's a guarantee of four matches for all teams. Contact person is Monika Fölkl. I have two email addresses: folklm /at/ mail.eol.hu and huncurling /at/ t-online.hu.
Thanks to John for the pics which I believe were taken by a local curler. Sorry I don't have a name.