Thursday, July 08, 2010

New women's events added to calendar

Two new events have been added to the women's curling calendar, making up for the demise of the Mini Tour. The dates are Forfar, October 15-17, and Aberdeen, November 19-21.

The initiative has come from Judith McFarlane, the Royal Club's Development Manager, who recognised the need for women's teams to have competitions to play in prior to the Scottish Championship. It's all very well for those teams in the Elite Squad who get the opportunity to compete in the likes of the Curling Champions Tour. But what is there for the others? The answer is 'very little', particularly as there will be no Scottish prequalifying competition this season. So the initiative is a good one. More details are on the Royal Club website (here), where it says that 'Entries are being encouraged from juniors, women’s and senior women’s teams'. The Elite Squad teams are not encouraged to enter!

Judith explains that she and Kay Adams have contacted teams from the last several years of Scottish women's and seniors' competitions to find out if there was demand for two more events. She says, "We've been delighted to have responses directly from thirteen teams; eleven Scottish, one English and one Welsh with interest in competing in one or both weekends."

Perhaps disappointingly, no foreign interest has been shown so far. An invitation has been on the ECF website (here) for a while. It's not too late for countries with women's teams, preparing perhaps to play in the B Divisions of the European Championship, to enter for one or other weekend.

Entries should be sent directly to the RCCC, where Colin Hamilton is in charge of organising the ice and the draw.

Good to see the Forfar rink making further efforts to be on the competitive map next season. The rink has resurrected the 'Forfar Open', see here. New owner Mike Ferguson is in his second season, and is pleased that his venue is to host the first event of the women's tour. He says, "Everyone at Forfar Indoor Sports is delighted to be granted the opportunity to hold the Scottish Women's Tour and we are looking forward to welcoming the competitors to the rink. Work has already started on several alterations which will enhance the overall curling experience at Forfar. This is another small step on the way to making Forfar a recognised, well supported curling venue for local, national and international competitions."

Curl Aberdeen is well recognised as a top competitive venue, and Tom Brewster and his staff will cope with the second of the weekends in their stride.

Judith says, "We'd like to make it a really sociable event. We're confident of getting at least ten teams for each weekend and creating a platform to grow from in future years."

The photo of Judith McFarlane is from the Glynhill Ladies International earlier this year and is © Skip Cottage.