David Edwards (above) will skip Scotland's team in next week's European Mixed Curling Championship. Last year, Tom Brewster, Lynn Cameron, Colin Campbell and Michelle Silvera brought back gold medals from Prague. David, with all his experience, nonetheless starts at a disadvantage this time, as he has had to bring a new third player into his team because of Claire Perras's pregnancy. Kerry Barr is, in my opinion, a great choice, but the team will be learning together through their first games next week at Greenacres, given that they have had little opportunity to play together as yet. Dillan Perras is second and Louise Wood is lead for the Scottish team.
The Scots will be on the ice on Monday afternoon for their practice session. Their first game is on Tuesday morning at 11.30, following the event's 'Opening Parade' at 11.00. Their opposition is Russia, skipped by Olga Zharkova. You may remember she skipped her women's team to the quarterfinals of the Glynhill International last season. Olga is one of five female skips in the tournament.
Twenty-four countries are represented in the Championship, and these will compete in three sections, see here. Scotland, Russia, Finland, Switzerland, France, Italy, Netherlands and Turkey are in the RED section.
The Czech Republic, England, Spain, Austria, Ireland, Slovakia, Belarus and Serbia are in the BLUE group. Alan MacDougall's Team England which won the bronze medals last year is back again.
Denmark, Germany, Sweden, Hungary, Latvia, Estonia, Norway and Wales comprise the GREEN section. In this section, Joel Ostrowski's Danes were runners-up last year, and Rainer Schopp's team, with Euro champ Andrea Schopp at third, won in 2008.
The top two in each section qualify for next Friday's quarterfinals. The remaining two qualifiers come from the third placed teams in each group. Just how this will be done remains something of a mystery to me, despite reading the regulations which can be downloaded from the ECF website here. When I get to Greenacres next week, I'll see if a friendly umpire can explain it to me. There are no tiebreak games, that's one thing that's sure.
Semifinals and final are on Saturday, September 24.
Pic of David is © Skip Cottage and is from the Scottish Mixed Championship last season.