Wednesday, December 28, 2011

More from Forfar

The James Carswell team won the Forfar U17 competition earlier today, and they are also the U17 Slam winners - deservedly so, having previously won at Perth and Greenacres. Three events, three wins. Top show.

But I'm sure the boys won't mind me giving a special mention to the team they beat in today's final at Forfar. That's them above, L-R, Rachel Hannen, Rachael Halliday, Lauren McIntyre and Alison Fyfe. Their performance yesterday got them a bye to the semifinal, where they came from behind to count three in the last end against the Gregor Cannon team, and in so doing they scuppered the chances of Team Cannon winning the Slam. Spare a thought for Gregor Cannon, Bobby Lammie, Connor Ballantyne and Christopher Henry - they would be absolutely gutted. So near.

The girls would start the final as the underdogs, and indeed when James and his team got their noses in front 3-0 after two ends some wondered if the eight-end final would be a one-sided affair. Rachel, Rachael, Lauren and Alison had other ideas!

They had an incentive. If they beat the boys in the final, they would overtake the Katie Murray team on points, they would be best girls' team in the Slam, and they would be going to the World Curling Federation junior summer camp. Second place at Forfar would not be good enough.

The girls took one at the third, then stole twos at the next two ends, to lead 5-3 after five. They then dropped a big four, before taking a single in the seventh.

Even the hard working front end could do nothing in the eighth as they needed to steal.

It wasn't to be, and Rachel and her team were the runners-up on the day.

Top curler is Rachel Hannen. The genes are strong, as those who know her mother Izzie and grandmother Isobel (Torrance)! Off to Innsbruck in a couple of weeks to the Winter Youth Olympic Games.

Take nothing away from the Carswell team. Here Peter and George work on Ben's stone.

Would you believe that James still has another year in the U17s if he choses to play next season!

"Steady, George, the bus will be along on this sheet at any moment!"

Well done to James, George, Ben and Peter. Good job.

And on other sheets, Andrew Neilson and Lesley Young contested the low road final.

Team Neilson won this one. Duncan Menzies presented the prizes to John Ballantyne, Andrew Neilson, Graeme Allan and Mark Guthrie.

And here are the Slam girls winners. L-R: Katie Murray, Sophie Jackson, Gayle Allan, Amy Bryce and Kirsty Morton, who played at Perth and Lockerbie but retired injured having come second in a fight with a bull. True!

Katie and her team watched semis and final today with everything crossed hoping their points total would see them through as the best girls' team, and indeed it did, just. You know, the Under-17 Slam has been a success on many levels, and seeing the many girls' teams playing against the boys, and getting stronger because of it, gives me a lot of satisfaction. It can only get even better thanks to the Royal Club's Talent Programme, and the new U-14 Slam.

Photos © Skip Cottage