The road to the Ford World Women's Curling Championship begins tomorrow (Thursday) for the eight contenders for the Scottish title. The first rounds of the Columba Cream Scottish Ladies Championship are at 8.30pm at Curl Aberdeen.
The draw is here. The eight teams play a double round robin beginning at Aberdeen this weekend, continuing at the Dewar's Centre in Perth, January 28-31, with the Page playoffs again at Perth, March 5-7.
I think it will be interesting to see how the other teams fare against Eve Muirhead, Jackie Lockhart, Kelly Wood, Lorna Vevers (with alternate Karen Addison) who have been playing and practising as Team GB this season with considerable success. And of course they are at the Le Gruyere European Championships next month, in the Linx Arena in Aberdeen, competing for Scotland.
Women's curling in Scotland is very much 'in transition'. Just look at the number of junior teams among the eight. Hannah Fleming (that's her in the photo above), Becca Kesley, Alice Spence and Abi Brown won the ROK Highland International last weekend. They are up against former Scottish Champion Gail Munro with Lyndsay Wilson, Kerry Adams and Alison Mather in their first round match tomorrow.
Eve meets her former skip in juniors Sarah Reid, with Kerry Barr, Barbara McFarlane and Laura Kirkpatrick, winners of the women's mini tour, in their first game.
Gillian Howard, Kay Adams, Linsey Spence and Sarah Macintyre face Anna Sloan, Claire Hamilton, Vicki Adams and Rhiann Macleod. The latter began the season as the favoured junior team, but have yet to show their full promise. Fourteen games in the Columba should sort them out!
Lauren Gray, Claire McDonald, Tasha Aitken and Caitlin Barr are very much the 'new kids on the block', but are looking more confident with every game. This is the first season for Lauren as a skip. So much to learn, and qualifying for the Scottish is a great way to gain lots of experience very quickly! They are up against Claire Milne, Lynn Cameron, Rachael Simms and Kim Brewster in tomorrow's first game. Claire has a good team here, and I am expecting to be watching them in the Page come March!
The Ford World Women's is March 20-28, 2010. The website is here.
Hannah's pic © Skip Cottage