Sunday, January 24, 2010

Scottish Junior Qualifying

Junior curling is exciting, and always unpredictable! It was the Scottish Junior Men's Qualifying Competition this weekend. Seventeen teams were looking for eight places for the finals, February 3-7 at Curl Aberdeen. I originally planned only the spend Saturday at the Ayr rink, fully expecting that by the evening it would be pretty much done and dusted. I should have known better of course! Did I say unpredictable? I was back at Ayr today to watch the drama unfold.

There were three sections. Let's start with Section C which contained just five teams, only two of which would qualify. Glen Muirhead, above, the favourite for this year's title in many eyes with his team of Greg Drummond, Thomas Sloan and Michael Goodfellow, did come through safely. But not without loss.

This result this morning is one for Stuart Marshall's scrapbook, and goes to show that when a young team brings their A game to the table, then even the favourites are vulnerable if they do not play 100%.

This morning it looked as if Hammy McMillan, Kyle Waddell, Rori MacPherson and Craig Waddell were headed for defeat, as they were 7-1 down after four against Ian Wilson's side. The McMillan team rallied, and fought back to a 10-8 victory, and qualification with a three win, one loss record, the same as Muirhead.

Team of the weekend was the Jay McWilliam side of Ian Copland, Struan Wood and Billy Morton. They went five games without loss in Section B, and qualified in first place. Three teams finished tied with a 3-2 win-loss record. Only two could go through.

Ally Fraser's team were the best in the Draw Shot Challenge, and they were through too. L-R: Scott Andrews, Steven Mitchell, Ally Fraser, Kerr Drummond.

That left the Grant Hardie and David Millar teams to contest a tiebreaker, the latter skipped by Chay Telfer. Hardie (above) with Kyle Smith, Thomas Muirhead and Cammy Smith won through with an 8-4 win.

Section A now. The Greg Matthew team was skipped by Gary Cannell (above behind), with Andrew Ballantyne at third, Greg at second and Fraser Davidson at lead, went five games without loss! Their final game was against the National Academy funded team skipped by Colin Dick (above front).

Colin's team of Blair Fraser, Lindsay Gray and Thomas Pendreigh, coached by Keith Prentice, won just two of their five games, and will not be at Aberdeen. Just look at the scoreboard after four ends against the Matthew side this afternoon!

The winner of the Peter Macintyre v Duncan Menzies tie this morning would qualify, and it was Peter (above) who won with Scott Fraser, Ruaridh Greenwood and Jamie Fraser in his side.

Graeme Black's team was in the same position against the Ross Thomson side, and last season's Scottish Champion skip with John Penny, Colin Howden and Dean Clark won that game to come through with three wins and two losses, ensuring a place at Aberdeen.

All the linescores and standings are here.

Just a final caption competition! This is Fraser Davidson, lead for Gary Cannell. How about, "What time's my physics exam tomorrow?"

Pics by Bob