It's all very well that the very best teams in this country are looked after, supported, and have opportunity to play in major events throughout the world. But what about those others who aspire to play competitively. What can they play in? And where's the incentive? So it's good to be able now to talk about the biggest news in curling this summer - the launch of the Goldline Scottish Curling Tour, presented by British Curling Supplies!
The Goldline Scottish Curling Tour has been set up to provide a competitive curling circuit in Scotland that will strive to meet the following objectives:
1. Provide structure to the existing circuit of competitive events.
2. Grow the number and quality of competitive curling events around Scotland.
3. Provide high quality competitions in Scotland for international teams looking to improve their game outside of the European tour.
4. Establish a second tier competitive path for graduating juniors wishing to stay in the competitive game.
5. Improve participation by encouraging strong local teams to travel to different rinks.
The Tour brings together six competitions: the well established Inverness Skins; the Braehead Open, which went to a weekend format last year and next season will be sponsored by the Cardwell Garden Centre; the Forfar Open; the Petrofac Aberdeen Open, the new Dumfries Open which I mentioned last week, and another new event at Stirling. This last will be held November 11-13. The organisers there are looking for twenty teams, in four sections of five.
The dates of all the events can be seen here. Note that all are 'open' competitions - any four curlers regardless of age or gender!
The driving force behind the formation of the new Tour has been Gavin Fleming. He acknowledges the help of the newly formed SCT committee of David Edwards, Neil Joss, Colin Hamilton, Iain Stobo and Tom Pendreigh, 'for their hard work and valuable contributions in making the new tour a reality'.
Gavin says, "I am delighted to announce the launch of the Goldline Scottish Curling Tour for season 2011/2012. The new curling tour will bring together both new and existing tournaments from around Scotland in an exciting new format where tour points will be won by teams over the course of a season, culminating in the crowning of the Goldline Scottish Tour Champions. The tour will be sponsored by Goldline and British Curling Supplies. It is intended that this development in the domestic game will invigorate competitive curling around Scotland, encouraging the best local teams and aspiring junior curlers to compete against some of the top national and international teams. I hope that the tour will be valuable addition to the curling calendar and will go from strength to strength in the coming years."
I hope so too, Gavin. It is a great initiative. 'Invigorate' is a great word to use! Tour information can be found at www.scottishcurlingtour.co.uk. The Galbraith Trophy, presented for the defunct Mini Tour, will be the main Tour trophy, and there will be cash prizes, courtesy of sponsor Goldline.
It is good to see that the Tour has the support of those in charge at the top level. Performance Director Dave Crosbee has indicated that the winners will be invited to participate in an organised elite training opportunity, to take place during the summer of 2012. Prizegiving will take place at a players' dinner held by the Royal Club during the 2012 Scottish Finals.
The six Scottish Curling Tour events do not include the Edinburgh International and the Perth Masters, both of which are male only competitions and part of the European Curling Champions Tour. In addition to being able to play in the Scottish Curling Tour events, women's teams can compete in the Women's Tour which involves competitions at Forfar and Aberdeen, as well as the Glynhill at Braehead, a European Tour event.