It's a big weekend for our juniors. Sixteen junior men's teams and twelve junior women's teams will battle it out in Ayr from Friday at 09.00 through to Sunday, to find the top eight teams in each category to play in the Scottish Junior Curling Championships at Curl Aberdeen, January 25-29. The prize then will be to represent Scotland at the World Junior Championships in Ostersund, Sweden, March 3-11.
But of course nothing is ever quite as simple as it seems!
The girls' event has two sections. According to what is posted on the Royal Club website here, the top three from each will qualify and the fourth placed teams will play off to find another qualifier for the Finals. But that only makes seven. It took me more than a moment to work out the reason. One team has already been given a bye to the Finals, that of Hannah Fleming. The competition rules say, "The Head Coach along with the Royal Club Sub-Committee for the competition reserves the right to apply automatic qualification to the Finals for up to four teams from each gender." The decision to give Hannah's team the bye is noted in the Minutes of the Competitions Committee, held on October 18, which are available to download from this page.
The boys' event has three sections, one with six teams, and two with five. No teams have been given a bye to the Finals. Until yesterday, the qualification outlined on the competition website looked to be rather odd. Three teams were coming out of sections A and B, with only two qualifying from Section C, the second of the five team sections. Fair? It didn't seem so. Information posted on the competition website yesterday now reads, "A change to the qualifying number has been made to the Men's qualifiers. Three teams from each section will now qualify for the Junior Finals. These finals will now start on Tuesday, January 24."
I interpret this to mean that the Junior Men's Finals in January will have nine teams, rather than eight.
Perhaps simpler to follow might be the Double Rink Championship which is at Stranraer! Twelve clubs, each represented by two teams, have qualified for the finals. You can follow the results here. Skip Cottage tries not to have favourites when covering such events, but in this case I have to declare an interest in the fortunes of Currie and Balerno CC, for reasons that will become clear in due course! Who's a tease then?