One of the disappointments I had at the recent Le Gruyere European Curling Championships, see here, was that I was unable to give more coverage to what was happening in the B Divisions at Curl Aberdeen. You see, these are huge competitions in their own right. You will know that ten men's teams and and ten women's teams competed in the A Divisions, but at Curl Aberdeen there were double that number of countries which fielded men's teams (twenty countries), and eleven that had women's teams taking part!
What competitions they turned out to be! Austria, the Netherlands, Latvia and the Czech Republic made it through to the women's Page playoffs (see how that was resolved here), with Latvia and the Netherlands reaching the final and gaining promotion to the A Division next year in Champery, Switzerland.
Section B1 in the men's competition was topped by Russia, who went nine games without loss. England and the Netherlands tied with seven wins, with the latter winning the tiebreaker to go forward. Section B2 was a little more complicated. Hungary was top of the group with eight wins, and three were on seven - Latvia, Ireland and Wales. The Irish (that's John Jo Kenny in the photo above) came through two tiebreakers, against Wales and Latvia, on the Thursday, before losing to the Netherlands in the Page 3-4, on the Thursday evening. The Netherlands then beat Hungary and Russia for the B title (see here). Netherlands and Russia will both now play in Champery, at the 2010 Europeans.
What has prompted this post today though is my effort to understand what will happen in Switzerland next year when the European event is reduced in size. I am indebted to John Brown, the well known secretary of the English Curling Association, for help. John is so often the person I turn to when I'm confused!
The plan for Champery and future European Championships can be downloaded here.
There will only be sixteen teams in the men's B Divisions next year. They will play in two sections of eight. The top seven in each of B1 and B2 at Aberdeen have places in ECC2010. The bottom three teams in each of the two men's B groups have effectively been relegated - Serbia, Lithuania and Greece from one and Belarus, Iceland and Slovakia from the other. These teams, plus any other countries that might enter, must now have a playoff to find two teams to go forward to Champery. As far as I am aware, no details of date and place of this playoff have yet been released.
Next year, the women's B will be one round robin of ten teams. The top four teams in each group at Aberdeen have gone through, and that has left Spain (from the group of five) and Croatia and Slovakia (from the group of six) to be 'relegated'. A separate C Group involving these teams (and any others) will produce two teams to go up to the B Division at Champery.
More information as it comes to light.
The ECF website is here, and the website for next year in Champery is here.
Here are a couple more pics from Curl Aberdeen.
The Latvian women in action against the Czech Republic.
The English men in action.
Hungary v Estonia
Pics © Skip Cottage