Monday, January 31, 2011

Universiade M6: GBR v Sweden

Leslie Ingram-Brown reports from Erzurum:


Whatever happened to Glen's second stone at the first end we will not dwell on but rather than come out with 2 or 3 shots his stone seemed to turn in and on a measure GBR counted 1. Second end and GBR lay 3 when Sundgren played his last stone draw which came up short. Almost the perfect start but at 4-0 the challenge was now for the Swedish team to make the move.

Third end Sweden drew for 1 and stole a single in the fourth. In the fifth with GBR lying shot, and every possible angle full of danger in trying for a second shot Glen had no option but to throw the stone away. Five ends gone and a GBR lead of 5-2.

Sixth and Sweden forced to take a single, then in the eighth Glen drew perfectly for 3 to the tee line to lead 8-3 and Sweden conceded leaving the GBR team on 5 wins like the GBR women.

After the game I asked Glen what had happened at the first end to which he replied, "The stone had not one but two picks on the way up the ice. The stone went to Greg and eventually ended up being thrown by Michael. It's a new set of stones but I don't know where from."

With three games in the round robin to go it is Korea first up tomorrow, followed by Norway and Switzerland on Thursday.

SWE: Christoffer Sundgren, Alexander Noredgren, Axel Rosander, Johan Spiik
GBR: Glen Muirhead, Alasdair Guthrie, Greg Drummond, Michael Goodfellow

SWE 00110 10XXX = 3
GBR* 13001 03XXX = 8

Canada 13 Slovakia 1, Great Britain 8 Sweden 3, USA 9 Turkey 5, Norway 5 Czech Republic 4, Korea 8 Switzerland 7.

6/0 - Korea; 5/1 - Great Britain; 4/2 - Czech Republic, Switzerland; 3/3 - Canada, Sweden, USA; 2/4 - Norway; 0/6 Slovenia, Turkey.

The official website is here.

Top: Spectators in the curling arena. Above: Glen Muirhead delivers, Michael Goodfellow and Greg Drummond ready to sweep. Courtesy of Leslie Ingram-Brown.

Universiade W6: GBR v Japan


First end and GBR Women's skip Anna Sloan faces two shots with her last stone but hits and goes leaving Yoshimura a free draw for 2. But she hit back in the second with a open hit after Yoshimura misses on back GBR stone. First steal for GBR in third as Japan try raise hit which misses but they hit for 1 in the fourth.

Fifth end turns the game with Anna playing a double take-out with her first. Yoshimura failed with her shot leaving Anna a free draw for 3 shots, a lead of 6-3, and control of the game. Japan hit for 1 in the sixth. Seventh Anna hits and rolls out looking for a hit and roll behind front guards but still lies 1. Japan raise to the tee line, guarded, leaving Anna only a draw to the tee which she makes.

Eighth end Anna plays a guard on two stones. Japan take away the guard which Anna replaces forcing Yoshimura to attempt the out-turn raise which fails and GBR have a steal of 1. Ninth and Japan with last stone have the chance to draw for 2 but their skip is heavy and Japan count only 1 and concede to GBR who win 8-5.

To-day is Claire Hamilton's birthday. Happy Birthday Claire (From us all - Bob), you could not have had a better birthday present. To-morrow morning the GBR Women face China who easily beat Poland to-day. On five wins a victory tomorrow morning would mean a further win in the evening would currently put the GBR Women in a tiebreak for the semifinals at least.

After the game Anna felt, "The ice was better to-day and more consistent across the sheet and that some of the fudging that teams were speaking about was not there."

Great Britain: Anna Sloan, Lauren Gray, Vicki Adams, Claire Hamilton
Japan: Sayaka Yoshimura, Rina Ida, Risa Ujihara, Mao Ishigaki

gbr 02103 0110X = 8
jpn * 20010 1001X = 5

Korea 8 Canada 7, Great Britain 8 Japan 5, China 11 Poland 2, Germany 8 Turkey 7, Russia 8 Czech Republic 7. (This last result should read 8-1. See comments. Bob).

5/1 - Great Britain, Russia; 4/2 - China, Korea; 3/3 - Canada, Czech Republic, Japan; 2/4 - Poland; 1/5 - Germany; 0/6 - Turkey.

The official website is here.

Universiade M5: GBR v USA

Leslie Ingram-Brown continues his reporting from Erzurum:

If you blinked you missed the game as it took Glen Muirhead's GBR Men only 6 ends to toast the USA with a final scoreline of 8-2. Indeed, having been invited by WCF President Kate Caithness for a 'cuppa' in the V.I.P. area (we media have to slum it), I nearly missed the close out 4 shots!

GBR opened the first end with Glen hitting for 3. USA reposted with a single in the third having blanked the second. Fourth and GBR counted only a single when a three could have been possible but Glen hit the USA stone and cleared the house of all stones behind the tee. Fifth and again USA were forced to take a single.

It was only a matter of time as to when GBR could close out the USA and they did this in the sixth end, taking 4 shots and an immediate concession from the USA.

I made the comment to Glen that the game was short and sweet. He said, "The idea was to come at them hard and force them to take a 1 (with the last stone) and hit them as best as we can in return." On the final 4 at the sixth he said, "I did not see the 4 as I came in with my first and he (Morton) failed with a tricky shot leaving me with the free draw for 4."

On the USA team we agreed that they were not the same that took the ice yesterday and to quote Glen, "They were not at the races compared with yesterday."

A win against Sweden this evening would be a real step towards reaching the semifinals Friday.

GBR: Glen Muirhead, Alasdair Guthrie, Greg Drummond, Michael Goodfellow
USA: Blake Morton, Marcus Fonger, Tommy Juszczyk, Calvin Weber

GBR * 30010 04XXX = 8
USA 00101 00XXX = 2

Great Britain 8 USA 2; Czech Republic 10 Slovenia 2; Sweden 8 Canada 4; Switzerland 9 Norway 2; Korea 7 Turkey 3.

5/0 - Korea; 4/1 - Czech Republic, Great Britain, Switzerland; 3/2 - Sweden; 2/3 - Canada, USA; 1/4 - Norway; 0/5 - Slovenia, Turkey.

Scottish Championship update

The top ten teams are now known for the Bruadar Scottish Men's Curling Championship, February 14-20. The five teams which qualified this past weekend at the Dewar's Rinks in Perth are skipped by David Murdoch, Hammy McMillan, Lee McCleary, Graeme Black and Sandy Reid.

These five join the five qualifiers from last weekend, skipped by Logan Gray, Tom Brewster, Duncan Fernie, Graham Shaw and Frazer Hare.

You can find all the qualifier results here.

A fine week of curling is in prospect!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Universiade W5: GBR v Korea

Leslie Ingram-Brown sends this report from Erzurum:


It was a brilliant fight back and Anna Sloan's GBR Women in the end thoroughly deserved their win over Ji Sun Kim's Korea in the last end. The game started with Korea having a free draw for 2 in the opening end and then swapped singles in the second and third.

GBR were beginning to get to grips with the ice which Anna said later had given a few problems early on but they soon mastered the slightly tricky conditions. In the fourth end there was reward for their persistence when Anna was given a draw for 2 and this she grabbed with both hands. Korea took a single in the fifth to lead 4-3 at the break and came back to steal a single in the sixth.

Enough was enough for GBR and having taken a single in the seventh it was their turn to steal one shot in the eighth and again the game was tied 5-5. In the ninth GBR allowed their stones to lie in a manner that gave Kim a chance of a double and two shots but she failed and only collected a one shot advantage going into the final end with GBR holding the last stone advantage. The pressure was beginning to tell on the Koreans and consistent play through the end saw Sloan lying 2 for the game with one stone to come from each skip. Kim tried to draw round front guards and bury frozen to a GBR counter but came up short and GBR's last stone was by a technicality redundant.

This now puts the Sloan GBR team in pole position on four wins along with the Russian Federation who for some unknown reason are listing Ludmila Privivkova as the alternate on the original team line-up form.

After the game Anna revealed, "The game was frustrating and we did really well to stick in for the second half." Talking of the last two ends she said "Pressure got to her (Kim) and we got her under pressure." Finally on the ice conditions Anna said she found the ice patchy, backed up by Sarah MacIntryre who said, "A lot to look at as it changes during the game."

Korea: Ji Sun Kim, Seul Bee Lee, Un Chi Gim, Hye Soo Lee
Great Britain: Anna Sloan, Lauren Gray, Vicki Adams, Claire Hamilton

kor* 20101 10010 = 6
gbr 01020 01102 = 7

Russia 14 Turkey 3, Poland 7 Germany 6, Japan 12 Czech Republic 3, Canada 5 China 3, Great Britain 7 Korea 6

4/1 - Great Britain, Russia; 3/2 - Canada, China, Czech Republic, Japan, Korea; 2/3 - Poland; 0/5 - Germany, Turkey

The official website is here.

Top photo is of Korea's Ji Sun Kim. Above: Anna appears to be looking over Claire and Vicki's brooms. Photos courtesy of Leslie Ingram-Brown.

Universiade M4: GBR v Turkey

Another report from Leslie Ingram-Brown in Erzurum.


Simply, the simple works when playing weaker teams when you give little away in chances of surprising you with a big end. Proof of the pudding was the disciplined approach in the demolition of Turkey in Men's round robin game 4 at the Universiade today.

The first end resembled that of last night against Slovenia with four GBR stones in the house and an unknown quantity pitching the first of two strikes which was a raised double take-out by Turkey skip Oguzhan Dikmen followed by a second split out with his last stone and GBR had a draw for only 2. The teams swapped singles over the next two ends and in the fourth GBR lay 3 as Dikmen played his last stone reducing the count to 2. A further steal of a single in the fifth and Glen led 6-1 at the break.

Sixth and Dikman makes another triple take-out then Glen draws to lie three but the Turkish skip is proving a bit of a thorn as he hits for a single but its all over in seven as Turkey give GBR the luxury of a draw for 3 by Glen and it is handshake time at 9-2.

After the game Glen confessed, "This was the type of game you want to play against these sort of teams as a lot of shots in play and they could wiggle in a shot." He went on to say "We did have a bit of a struggle with the stones but during the game we were able to work them out."

Korea remains unbeaten after four rounds with the Czech Republic, Great Britain and Sweden one point behind.

GBR: Glen Muirhead, Alasdair Guthrie, Greg Drummond, Michael Goodfellow
TUR: Oguzhan Dikmen, Cagri Bayraktar, Yusif Bayraktutan, Oguz Zengin

GBR* 20121 03XXX = 9
TUR 01000 10XXX = 2

SCORES: Canada 9 Norway 2, Korea 16 Slovenia 1, USA 9 Sweden 1, Great Britain 9 Turkey 2, Czech Republic 7 Switzerland 2

STANDINGS: 4/0 - Korea; 3/1 - Czech Republic, Great Britain, Sweden, Switzerland; 2/2 - Canada; Japan; 1/3 - Norway; 0/4 - Slovenia, Turkey.

The official website is here.

Universide W4: GBR v Turkey

Leslie Ingram-Brown reports from Erzurum:

GBR Women have the hammer and Anna blanks the first end and in the second Polkat draws first shot and the GBR skip wrecks on a guard; Turkey open their account with a single.

Third end set up the rest of the game for GBR with Kizilkaya missing against two Lauren draws for a third. Polat is short with her draw and Anna guards first shot and when the Turkish skip misses her second draw in a row Anna draws for 4. Game is very much in control of GBR.

Polat hits and lies shot in the fourth but the fifth finished off the game as a contest as the GBR front end set up four shots with skips stones to come. Polat takes out only one with her take-out and Anna draws in for a fourth counter. Polat again plays the take-out but is all too silent and Anna hits the tee for 5 and for the second consecutive game GBR pick up a five, and a 9-2 lead. Polat misses with draw in sixth and a steal of 1 but does better in the seventh making her draw shot count, conceding after the eighth end which Anna blanked.

After the game a delighted Anna said "We played to a simple game plan and we had far more experience. The five shots came about because they put their stones through whilst we put our stones in the house."

On Korea who lost their unbeaten record to China in this session if the GBR team play to the same level it would give the team a real chance.

This morning's games were delayed for nearly thirty minutes. Overnight snow further up the mountain prevented both the ice technicians and the umpires from arriving on time.

Turkey: Oznur Polat, Elif Kizilkaya, Burcu Pehlivan, Ayse Gozutok
Great Britain: Anna Sloan, Lauren Gray, Vicki Adams, Claire Hamilton

tur 01010 010XX = 3
gbr* 00405 100XX = 10

Great Britain 10 Turkey 3, Czech Republic 8 Germany 1, China 9 Korea 5, Russia 10 Japan 2, Canada 9 Poland 4

After 4 Rounds: 3/1 - China, Czech Republic, Great Britain, Korea, Russia; 2/2 - Canada, Japan 1/3 - Poland; 0/4 - Germany, Turkey

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Universiade M3: GBR v Slovenia

Leslie Ingram-Brown continues with his reports from Erzurum:


When you open with a shot count of 5 the problem can be keeping the concentration, the exact situation facing Glen Muirhead's team here at the Universiade third round men but to be fair in the second end Lajovec played a good draw shot for his 2. Singles were exchanged for the next three ends giving the GBR Men a 7-3 lead at the fifth end break.

Kerr Drummond who had come on for his first game, meanwhile, had to leave the field of play after only two ends due to a virus he had picked up after a couple of days. He was replaced by Michael Goodfellow for the remainder of the game.

Sixth end and GBR lie three shots. The Slovenian skip Lajovec draws and is only fractionally away from shot in the four foot but GBR steal a single to lead 8-3 followed by a further steals in the seventh and eighth ends of 1 shot for GBR to be 10-3 ahead and Slovenia conceded.

Afterwards Glen explained the opening end, "We just kept throwing yellow stones into the rings and they weren't making the shots." After the loss of the 2 at the second Glen said "It was a slack end after the big end. He decided, "We won't do anything silly again and that's why it was pretty simple scoring from there."

Asked about the Slovenians he said, "They have only been curling for three months," and agreed that there can be no real expectations in playing in such a competition. Everyone hopes they will learn from the experience.

Slovenia: Jost Lajovec, Gasper Ursic, Jure Culic, Tomas Tisler
Great Britain: Glen Muirhead, Alasdair Guthrie, Greg Drummond, Kerr Drummond. For GBR Kerr Drummond was substituted by Michael Goodfellow in the third end due to illness.

SLO 02010 000XX = 3
GBR * 50101 111XX = 10

SCORES: Switzerland 8 Turkey 2, Great Britain 10 Slovenia 3, USA 6 Norway 5, Czech Republic 7 Canada 4, Korea 9 Sweden 4.

Top photo: GBR supporters in the arena.

Five shots on the board in End 1!

Michael Goodfellow came off the bench to substitute tonight.

Alasdair Guthrie in the head, Slovenian skip Jost Lajovec, and third Gasper Ursic behind, all watched by Kerr Drummond, Nancy Murdoch and Gordon Muirhead.

Photos courtesy of Leslie Ingram-Brown.

Universiade W3: GBR v Poland

Leslie Ingram-Brown reports from Erzurum:


There are times in your life when you find very little to write home about and this comes into that classification as Poland defended for nine ends before finally conceding 8-2. Indeed at the post match interview I did mention this to Anna who said that the team had played to a game plan and stuck to it.

Sarah (Macintyre) had been watching the Poles and it was noted that they liked to hit so the game plan was to play a simple game and wait for it to come. Sarah also admitted to being pleased to be on the ice and felt she was settling down fine during the game having experienced the evening practice sessions.

To the game itself. Poland took a single in the first end and GBR countered with a 2 in the second and stole a 2 in the third when Muskus blew through the house. Poland then proceeded to blank the next two ends not even thinking of try to reduce the deficit but in the sixth Poland were forced to take a single.

GBR blanked the seventh. Anna made sure of her hit and lie for two in the eighth and in the ninth Muskus went for a hit on the nose towards the back of the house but was far enough away not to disturb the sails. A neat steal of 2 and Poland conceded.

Any win is acceptable and with Turkey to come in the morning session it would be hoped GBR could extend their ranking to 3 wins which is about the right platform to set sights on the semi-finals.

POLAND: Magdalena Muskus, Elzbieta Ran, Magda Straczek, Magdalena Dumanowska
GREAT BRITAIN: Anna Sloan, Lauren Gray, Vicki Adams, Sarah MacIntyre

SCORES: Korea 9 Japan 5, Canada 7 Czech Republic 7, Russia 11 Germany 3, China 13 Turkey 1, Great Britain 8 Poland 2.

The event website for past results is here.

Sarah Macintyre pic is courtesy of Leslie Ingram-Brown.

Universiade M2: Team Muirhead beats Czech Republic

Leslie Ingram-Brown sends this report from Erzurum:


It was a down to the wire cool draw to hit the four foot fully by skip Glen Muirhead which gave the GBR men their first win in two rounds at the Winter Universiade at Erzurum, Turkey.

But it need not have been that way as the British men gave a very powerful performance of domination and the only reason the game ended in such dramatic fashion was due to the Czech Republic skip Lukas Klima who played some really big shots when they were required and kept his team in touch.

GBR won the hammer and blanked the first end before slack play, and thankfully only at this end, cost them a 2 shot drop in the second but immediately countered with a 2 when Glen played an exact take-out. The fourth and the British team were beginning to show their dominance forcing Klima to draw against 2 and the Czech Republic skip was slightly heavy on this very slick ice and ran through to the back of the house and it was a welcome steal of 2 shots. In the fifth and lying shot Klima failed to make a pair and GBR led 4-3 at the break.

End six and a final stone call of a raised take-out for 1 against a normal draw for the same came under question in the after match interview and you can read Glen's comments on this below especially as the shot failed and allowed the Czech Republic to tie up the gamne 4-4.

Perhaps the biggest disappointment came in the seventh end when after third's stones GBR lay 5 shots but Klima was to prove his worth firstly with a triple take-out then with a further hit and roll with his second stone which finished behind a guard. To count even 2 Glen was forced out- to- in on the inturn to the away end but it was not to be, as the angles on the geometry did not work and GBR had to settle for a 1.

Eighth and Klima had to accept a single shot and GBR blanked the ninth. Tenth end and after Drummond opened the door with a total miss with his second stone the Czech Republic failed to take advantage. With skips second stones to come Klima, throwing first, hits and sideboards the shooter, requiring Muirhead to draw the four foot at the minimum for victory. Cool as he liked the stone gluided up the ice and with the co-operation of all four players it lands exactly where it was intended and an opening win for GBR Men.

In the post match interview Glen admitted that on hindsight the draw in the sixth end would have been the better choice and perhaps in the seventh it may have worked better if he had split Alasdair Guthrie's first stone. Looking forward to this evening his team are up against Slovenia which he hoped would be shorter and less stressful than the Czech Republic.

CZE - Lukas Klima, Jiri Candra, Tomas Paulk, David Jirounek
GBR - Glen Muirhead, Alasdair Guthrie, Greg Drummond, Michael Goodfellow

CZE 02001 10100 = 5
GBR * 00220 01001 = 6

OTHER SCORES: Sweden 10 Turkey 2, Korea 11 USA 2, Norway 14 Slovenia 2, Switzerland 7 Canada 6.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Universiade W2: Scots beat Canada

Leslie Ingram-Brown reports from Erzurum:


Let's not take it away from Anna Sloan, Lauren Gray, Vicki Adams and Claire Hamilton who this evening gave Team Canada, skipped by Brooklyn Lemon, a lesson in the art of drawing curling which was the main reason Canada failed to come through in the game and now sit on two losses after two rounds: something very unfamiliar to this great curling country.

Anna admitted afterwards that the team had made a slow start but that this was a good win as Canada are one of the top teams here (at the Winter Universiade). She expressed some surprise at their tactics (the Canadians) which appeared to most onlookers to be very defenceless and fell into the trap of being hit happy, and when it came to the vital draw(s) their control of weight was lacking.

As the men had found earlier, ice conditions were slightly straighter and slower but she was now looking forward to playing Poland to-morrow afternoon. She last played Poland at the European Youth Olympic Festival in Poland two years ago - and yes she won the gold medal then - so perhaps this will act as a good omen for the re-match.

What was the real difference? Probably the two back to back end wins which accounted for four of the British nine shot scoreline.

In the game itself the British women were slow out the blocks and lost a 2 in the first end and then the teams exchanged singles over the next three ends before the first of the two steals in the fifth when Lemon opted against two shots to draw but came up short and GBR was ahead 4-3 at the break.

Singles were exchanged in six and seven before Canada made their only steal of the game when against three shots Sloan decided to play safe and draw for second shot knowing the game would be tied 5-5 but the hammer was hers.

In the ninth Anna hits an open stone to count 2 shots and a 7-5 lead going into the last end where again the draw weight deserted the Canadians leaving skip Lemon to play an attempted raise double to tie the game into an extra end. As we know now she failed and gave away her second back to back 2 shots and GBR were the worthy winners 9-5.

Russia 8 China 6, Czech Republic 9 Turkey 1, Korea 10 Poland 4, Japan 8 Germany 7, Great Britain 9 Canada 5.

The event website for team lineups and results is here.

Top photo: Lauren Gray and Anna Sloan watch behind, as Chelsey Peterson has the head for Canada. Courtesy of Leslie Ingram-Brown.

Canada v GBR in first men's draw in Turkey

As I write this I'm watching LIVE webstreaming of Turkey v the Czech Republic of the second round of the women's curling competition at the Universiade in Erzurum. Go here to watch too. It helps a little if you speak Turkish! Thanks to Sandy Morton for the heads up on this link:

Here is Leslie Ingram-Brown's report on the first men's game.


In the end the scoreline of 7-4 in favour of Canada is just about a true reflection on the game as Glen Muirhead's side opened against what looks like a very strong Canadian quartet skipped by Jonathan Beuk who himself played some very impressive draw freezes in the three shot win.

The score was 1-1 after three ends when in the fourth Muirhead going for a hit and hopeful roll struck the wrong side of the target stone with his shooter, rolled out, leaving Canada a free draw for 3 shots and a lead 4-1. GBR blanked the fifth and the sides exchanged singles over the next three ends and the scoreline of 6-2 in the Canadians favour but the GBR men were fighting back and playing much stronger than the Canadians forcing the hand of Beuk on more than one occasion but never really getting the results deserved.

The ninth end was crucial and again the Muirhead quartet were putting on the pressure. Lying 1 shot with his first stone Glen drew to lie 2 but well apart over the house. Beuk with his second opted to try an across the house double which carried some risk, failed in only taking one shot leaving a delighted GBR team to grab a pair and go into the final end only 6-4 back.

More pressure again but you always got the impression Beuk had the making of the last stone whatever GBR was doing. Lying for an extra end but with both stones in close proximity Beuk made the perfect double for a single shot and the winning margin of 7-4.

Afterwards Glen was not too down beat suggesting that if the team could perform as well as they had done in the latter part of the game things would improve. He said that he knew nothing about the Canadian team but any team that comes out of Canada is always strong. He said, "The 3 in the fourth was crucial as we were not really getting it together. I hit the wrong side of the stone and were always chasing from there."

Asked on the ice he was very honest in not using it as an excuse, but did admit that later in the game he found it had gone straighter and more difficult to draw behind.

SCORES: Canada 4 Great Britain 4, Korea 9 Norway 5, Switzerland 12 USA 6, Sweden 12 Slovakia 0, Czech Republic 9 Turkey 2.

GBR 01000 01020 = 4
CAN * 10030 10101 = 7

The official website for team lineups and match results is here.

Photo of Gen Muirhead in today's game is courtesy of Leslie Ingram-Brown.

This weekend's results

I think all of us that have curling websites have been looking over our shoulders recently given the hacker attack that has put CurlingZone off air for the past weeks.

Not that the problem to hit the Royal Club website home page has necessarily anything to do with hacks or viruses, but it appears that some members are having trouble accessing the home page and getting some sort of error message.

Kay Adams is looking into this problem but it is becoming a time consuming task to find the source of the error.

However, there is a workaround if you are just looking for results/standings from the mens' qualifiers this weekend. These pages are still accessible by going to Google and typing royalcaledoniancurlingclub (without the www/org and then accessing the relative pages from here for example, competitions or About RCCC for the tour stuff).

There doesn’t seem to be problems with these pages just the home page - and it is only affecting a few members. Kay and her team are doing their best to resolve the problem.

GB loss to Czech Women in Turkey

Leslie Ingram-Brown sends this report from Erzurum:


In the words of skip Anna Sloan after having lost her opening game to Czech Republic's Anna Kubeskova 'a few slack shots and I thought we were pretty unlucky losing a couple of cheap twos and never finished it off in the end.'

It was also a session with a couple of surprise results. The strong Russian team lost out to Korea whilst Japan were defeating Canada. Also Poland recorded their first ever win at this level against hosts Turkey in nine ends and Germany suffered an extra end loss to China.

It could be said after practice things certainly did turn themselves around in the performance of several of the teams. The GBR team of Anne Sloan, Lauren Gray, Vicki Adams and Claire Hamilton swapped singles with the Czech Republic over the first two ends before Sloan had an open hit for 3 in the third to lead 4-1. Kubeskova hit and rolled but stayed in the house for a single in the fourth when trying to blank and then in the fifth came the first GBR error allowing a steal of 1 but still led 4-3 at the break.

Sixth and another slack shot by Anna Sloan when looking to tap back for a 2 saw the shooter rock the outside half of the target stone and run out leaving only 1 shot but a 5-3 lead but the Czech Republic came right back into the game when Kubeskova fired a perfect double to count 2 in the seventh and square the game at 5-5. Blanking the eighth GBR took the single in nine when a 2 count was on for most of the end. Again failure to finish off cost dearly with only a one shot 6-5 score advantage coming home. With her first stone Anna drew which Kubeskova countered.

With the Czech Republic lying shot in the open GBR went for the draw behind a fairly long guard which was excellent if only it had not finished on the wrong side of tee. Kubeskova nominated the tap back which was perfect both in play and control counting the 2 shots for the win.

In the next session (M1) GBR men skipped by Glen Muirhead have the hardest of starts opening against Team Canada skipped by Jonathan Beuk."

Women Session 1 Scores: Czech Republic 7 Great Britain 6, China 6 Germany 5 (extra end), Japan 6 Canada 4, Poland 8 Turkey 3, Korea 5 Russia 4

Line Score:
GBR 10300 10010 = 6
CZE * 01011 02002 = 7

Thanks Les. I note that team lineups and match results are now on the official website here.

For the Romantic Curler

The 'Donate Button' has not received too many visits this month, but I can understand that it's not just me that is struggling to make ends meet this weather. So I've been looking at different ways to maintain some income to keep the blog going until the end of the season. I've already sold some stones, and currently there are some handle 'restoration projects' on the For Sale page, here. (Some already been discovered here, and sold, thank you.)

I should just say that if anyone has outdoor stones to SELL, I can put them in touch with a number of enthusiasts who are wanting to buy.

Moving in, with Valentine's Day fast approaching, here is something that might appeal as a gift from one romantic curler to another. Who would not be impressed to receive their very own 'wee stones' on February 14? They are of glass, with gold painted handles. Each is 2cm in diameter. Dinky! They come in red card hand-crafted heart-shaped boxes, originally from Thailand.

This shows the actual size of the box. I have four sets available, slightly different designs on the lids. May I ask £25 minimum for each set, post and packing (in UK) included? The contact details, and email address, are in the link on the menu above, or click here.

(I know I have blogallies in other countries. I would be happy to post abroad, P and P to be advised. But I cannot guarantee delivery abroad before February 14.)

Thanks for looking. And very many thanks to those eighty people or so who have already supported the blog this season, either by donating or purchasing stones. And of course to my 'Blog Supporters', my advertisers, on the right. Do support them.

Kinross Curling Trust AGM

Efforts to build the National Curling Academy with its six-sheet curling rink, Royal Club offices, and museum, have been on hold for a while, until the situation regarding the Market Park site is clarified. As time goes on, it has been hard for those on the outside to keep any sort of enthusiasm for the project. At one point, the project had my full support I must admit, although the spiralling cost estimates did sour my thinking. Then when I learned that the proposed site was under dispute, I just shook my head in disbelief.

The AGM of the Kinross Curling Trust was due to be held on December 5, at the Green Hotel, Kinross, but was cancelled because of the snow. It was rescheduled for last Thursday, but I was unable to attend because of a pressing engagement at Fenton's!

I asked Bob Tait what happened. He has responded, and the following is now on the Trust's web page:

"The AGM on 20 January was attended by 61 members. The Agenda and papers are on the Trust website ( The Chairman’s report (not on the web) covered (a) membership (350), (b) ACDO appointment (the Trust is contributing to the cost), (c) planning consent (the Council’s Committee gave unanimous support to our outline plans), (d) the Trust's response to the land issue (cessation of spending, why we had decided to stick with the Market Park site) and (e) local fundraising where we have reached half of the target of £250000.

The meeting approved the audited accounts to 31 July 2010 (income £136K expenditure £105K). Recent donations have increased the cash at bank to circa £36K; Clubs are understood to be holding a further £45K.

Under AOB, Jamie Montgomery gave the Kinross Estate Company’s perspective on the land. He advised that the Lands Tribunal has set a provisional date for the formal hearing (11-13 April) at Perth Sheriff Court and that a meeting of the parties is scheduled for 31 January. The meeting was suggested by the Stewarts.

The need for further local fundraising was raised to meet the costs of (circa £150K) of getting the project out to tender. Speakers wanted more certainty on delivery before embarking on further fundraising and also urged the Board to get other clubs that use Kinross involved in fundraising.

After the meeting a member handed over a cheque for £200 being sponsorship for the Ben Nevis climb and Boreland CC intimated their intention to rerun their successful golf day.

Jamie Montgomery stood down as a Trustee with Blair Melville, Kinross CC, taking his place. Anne Malcolm replaces Colin Grahamslaw as an RCCC appointed Director. The other Trustees continue in post.”

So, the whole project is not dead as the rumour mill might suggest. But I have to admit that the above does nothing to rekindle my enthusiasm for the project. Sorry, but I cannot but think, "How did we get into this mess?"

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Practice day at Universiade

Anna Sloan, Lauren Gray, Vicki Adams, Sarah Macintyre and Claire Hamilton look very smart in their GB uniforms at practice day for the Winter Universiade in Erzurum, Turkey.

Leslie Ingram-Brown sends this report, and the accompanying photos.

"It's been a second day of practice in Erzurum, Turkey, for the teams competing in the 25th Universiade. The ice has been keen, very keen, at 28 seconds tee to tee but still with a good draw which will allow attacking curling for those teams who wish to try.

Great Britain's women skipped by Anna Sloan open the curling discipline against the Czech Republic in the morning session and play Team Canada in the evening.

The men have the toughest of possible openers playing Canada. The Canadians, coached by our old friend Dick Henderson who was persuaded out of retirement for this event, look very much up for the task.

You may be wondering why the anonymity of the opposition teams, and it is frustrating for all of us here also. No list has been available despite constant asking the media officer, but it is believed that the WCF co-ordinating officer, Jeanette Johnston, will provide the list at 08.30 hours tomorrow morning.

I have not as yet seen any Team GB supporters to date but am not suprised given the costs of flights. It is cheaper to fly business Glasgow/Istanbul, than economy within Turkey. I was told the other day that the Turkish athletes have been instructed to bus it across the country as air fare is NOT acceptable. Back tomorrow."

Thanks Leslie. Any reports you can manage to send will be much appreciated by those of us supporting the GB curlers from afar.

Glen Muirhead, here seen practicising today, skips Alasdair Guthrie (3rd), Greg Drummond (2nd), and Kerr Drummond (lead). Michael Goodfellow is alternate.

The official website is here.

Photos are courtesy of Leslie Ingram-Brown.

Curl Aberdeen News

While I was gallivanting down to Fenton's Rink for the Four Nations last weekend, the Aberdeen Ladies Invitation was taking place. The competition was its 24th year and was won by Jacqui Crawford, Elaine Semple, Alison MacLennan and Pat Ross (above). The Crawford team beat Alison Petrie, Carol Scott, Phemie Philip and Jan Kay in the final game.

The photo comes courtesy of blogally Louise Wood who also submits the following report, "Alison Petrie got off to a good start and was ahead after four ends, but the Crawford side fought back and levelled the game after five ends. The real push came in the seventh when a few ‘nearly but not quite’ shots from the Petrie team allowed the Crawford team a free draw for four and an unassailable lead in an eight end game."

Louise has lots more photos from the event here, as has Hugh Craigie, here.

My next trip to Curl Aberdeen will be to support a new event this season, the Petrofac Aberdeen City Open, February 4-6. The organisers now have a full complement of twenty-four teams. Each is guaranteed four games with the competition being played in a schenkel system, beginning at 12.30 pm on the Friday. The top four teams from each section will move forward to the quarterfinals which will be held on Sunday morning.

I'm always up for something new, and I look forward to blogging on this new open event in the curling calendar.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Call for Juniors for Dumfries International

Graham Sloan, the Dumfries Area Curling Development Officer, has been in touch about the Junior International Globe Trophy, now a fixture at the Ice Bowl at the end of the season. He is looking for a few more teams to make up a full draw - the competition (or competitions as the event has a 'road' for everyone) can take a maximum of thirty-two teams.

The competition will see curlers from Norway, Sweden, Poland, England and Switzerland taking part.

So, if you have plans to get together with a new junior team next season, or want to get together with this season's team one last time, or can persuade three friends to join up with you for a fun weekend in Dumfries, then contact Graham NOW. His contact details are here.

The competition dates? April 1-3, 2011.

Of course, for the first time the International will be held in the new dedicated curling rink. I called in to the Ice Bowl today to see how it was getting on since I first saw it last month. A one-day Ladies Bonspiel was just winding up, so here are a few photos which will give you an idea what the rink looks like.

This used to be the indoor bowling rink. Scoreboards have been put up since my last visit, and advertisers are being recruited.

I've heard good reports from curlers using the rink, and the ice seems true and keen.

Despite the constraints of utilising an existing space, the rink to me seems bright and spacious, and of course is not hemmed in by barriers as in the hockey and skating arena which remains in use next door.

It is exciting to see curling in a new venue, and a Council run one at that! I wish it every success.

There's a bright and colourful curlers' lounge overlooking the new ice pad.

Just the place to join your opposition after the game.

Teams from Dalbeattie Ladies, Nithsdale Ladies, Victoria Ladies, Dumfries CC, Nunholm, Maxwelltown (2), Threave (2), New Abbey, and Hollywood took part in today's bonspiel together with a 'Mixed Ladies' (!) side, skipped by Fiona Hardie who finished in third place. The trophy and sponsorship by Barbours of Dumfries is the longest running at the rink. Every participant goes away with a gift voucher for Barbours!

Above is the winning team, the highest aggregate on shots over two games today, representing Dumfries CC. L-R: Gillian Graham (2nd), Ann Johnstone (skip), Irene Doidge (3rd) and June Green (lead).

The runners-up, Nunholm CC. L-R: Margaret Wilson (skip), Chris Anderson (lead), Annie Stoddart (2nd) and Maureen Woods (3rd).

Here's the presentation group, with Douglas Barbour (now 85) representing the sponsor, and Anne Templeton, President Dumfries Ladies Section.

Photos © Skip Cottage

Curling under an open sky

Over the past year, I've had correspondence with Alice Mansell about dollies and other aspects of outside curling! She represents a group of curlers from the San Francisco Bay Area Curling Club who were looking forward to organising an outdoor bonspiel at a seasonal rink in Palo Alto, California. Well, it did happen!

Alice writes, "I studied your Skip Cottage and Curling History blogs to see how to curl outdoors. Painted up some tee-markers, screwed nails into a redwood board for a tee-ringer, and booked evening ice time at Palo Alto's Winter Lodge. On January 8, 2011, three brave club souls loaded up cold rocks from the fridge at our San Jose ice area plus hacks, brooms, pebblers, and sliders. After about 30 minutes of work, we had the Palo Alto rink ready for play with curlers led onto the ice by the Los Gatos and Monte Sereno Police Pipe and Drums playing 'Scotland the Brave.

The photo above is of Alice with Rob H, the winner of the first Draw the Button contest. Around 88 learners took part.

Action in Palo Alto, and a dolly!

Instruction underway.

Alice says, "At dinner of pizza and beer near the rink afterwards, several club members made plans to run a funspiel in Palo Alto and also find some natural ice in the Sierra Nevada mountains where ice fishermen report several feet of ice most years on lakes close to highways.

Keep your fingers crossed for us we can get enough stones up the hills to curl on Big Outdoor Ice and I'll cross my fingers you'll have a Grand Match this Winter."

More photos here.

Thanks Alice. Great to know about the enthusiasm for curling in California.

Of course, back here in Scotland, Judith McFarlane, our Royal Club Development Manager headed up an effort to showcase our sport during the Hogmanay celebrations in Glasgow's George Square. Ice technicians George Munro and John Heron from the Waterfront turned the temporary skating rink into two lanes of high quality curling ice in a short time and, by all accounts, did a fantastic job.

The curling come and try proved to be extremely popular with more demand than could be catered for in the four hours. Between 7 and 11 pm, some 170 were introduced to the sport, with the music continuing on the George Square stage. Many of those who participated were from abroad! Apparently, the atmosphere was simply buzzing with the outdoor curling providing a real spectacle for the 5000 party-goers.

I think a big 'well done' is due to Judith and her helpers who made this happen.

The two photos below are courtesy of Glasgow Life. More here.

Curling in George Square, Hogmanay, 2010.

Glasgow's Miles Better, or what.

It's looking more and more like the chance for a Grand match this season may be slipping away. However, if you fancy a wee trip you could always sign up for the WORLD POND CURLING BONSPIEL, February 4-6, 2011. This is scheduled to be held in the 1000 Islands on the Beautiful St. Lawrence River in 'Gorgeous Gananoque', see here, or click on the image above.

According to the blurb it will be 'one Rock'n Roll of a time'.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Teams Travel to Winter Universiade

The GB squad is on its way to the World University Winter Games in Erzurum, Turkey. The curling gets underway on Friday. The men’s team will be skipped by Glen Muirhead, with Alasdair Guthrie (3rd), Greg Drummond (2nd), Kerr Drummond (lead) and Michael Goodfellow (fifth). Gordon Muirhead is the team coach. Canada is the GB opposition in the first game.

The women's team will be skipped by Anna Sloan, with Lauren Gray (3rd), Vicki Adams (2nd), Sarah Macintyre (lead) and Claire Hamilton (fifth). Brad Askew is the team coach. They play the Czech Republic in their opening game on Friday morning.

Nancy Murdoch is the head coach for the GB curling squad.

The Universiades are open to all student athletes who have not been out of university or its equivalent for more than a year and who are between 17 and 28 years old. Any association which belongs to FISU may enter a team or an individual competitor. Entries are accepted from any country which is eligible for the Olympic Games and from any national federation which is affiliated to an appropriate International Federation.

Ten women’s and ten student men’s teams will take part in the curling event at Erzurum. The women’s teams are Canada, China, Czech Republic, Germany, Great Britain, Japan, Korea, Poland, Russia and Turkey. Last time the event was held, in Harbin in 2009, China won the gold (skip Bingyu Wang), Canada (Hollie Nicol) took silver, and Russia (Liudmila Privikova) won bronze. Sarah Reid's team finished fourth. They went 5-4 in the round robin, won a tiebreaker to get in to the semis, but lost both playoff games. Vicki Adams and Sarah Macintyre, the front end in 2009, play for GB again this year.

The men’s teams are Canada, Czech Republic, Great Britain, Korea, Norway, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey and USA. Sweden's Niklas Edin won gold in Harbin, Norway (Thomas Løvold) got silver, and China (Fengchun Wang) took the bronze. John Hamilton's GB men's team came seventh with a 3-6 win-loss record.

The event website is here. Photos of the GB curling teams can be viewed here.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Inside the Four Nations

John Brown, the Secretary of the English Curling Association and one of the organisers of the Four Nations at Fenton's, has written his own story about the event. Read that here, or click on the Toothy Tales link in the sidebar.

Photo of John playing at the weekend is © Skip Cottage

Winners at Hamilton

If I can just catch up on something that happened last week. You will remember I visited the Lanarkshire Ice Rink, Hamilton, to see just a little of the play in the South Lanarkshire Wheelchair CC's International, see here.

Angela Higson sends this photo of the winners, Canada, who beat Scotland 1 in the final. She says, "It was a great event and a wonderful opportunity for some of us to watch the best in action. Meeting so many teams from abroad was a great experience and we look forward to the next one. They are a smashing bunch of competitors and we wish them all well for the Worlds next month when they do battle again with our own home grown talent, skipped by Aileen Neilson.

Thanks to all the sponsors and volunteers who helped to make the event run smoothly."

Photo is courtesy of Angela Higson. And there's a full report from Judy Mackenzie here.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Last Post from Fenton's

I was pretty sure that I would enjoy my weekend at the Fenton's Rink in Kent where the Four Nations was being held this weekend. I was right. What a fun weekend it was! I knew many of the competitors from the English, Welsh and Irish squads before. It was the Scottish curlers who were strangers when we met up on Friday, but we were friends when we headed for home today.

Make no mistake, the Scots represented the best of what makes our curling special. Great fun, good sports, keen competitors. And proud to be representing Scotland in the Four Nations, at Fenton's, the first time that the English Curling Association has been able to host the competition in England for twenty years.

Please help me salute the following 'magnificent nineteen':
James Carswell, Stewart Sutherland, Jim Morrison, John McDermott, Alastair MacIntyre, Derek Cardiff, John McCall, Walter Barclay, Graeme Maguire, Michael McCreadie, Gerry Crighton, Stephen McClymont, Rosemary Biggart, Liz Jamieson, Shelagh Fullerton, Linsey McGillivray, Catriona Cooper, Elspeth Burton and Dawn Watson.

And thanks to all who helped make my trip south so enjoyable.

The men brought back the magnificent Tom Ballantyne trophy!

But let's start at the beginning!

It was my first visit to Fenton's Rink, in the heart of rural Kent, not far from Tunbridge Wells.

The rink entrance. What a marvellous facility it is.

Rental shoes available for hire.

The organisers had arranged transport for the visitors, with ECA Secretary John Brown here stopping the traffic for the 'VIPs'!

James Hustler, a gas cylinder, and the saltire. Pick the odd one out.

A successful rink can be judge by its young curlers. Fenton's Rink is used by lots of young people from local schools. Naomi Robinson (16) is one of a number of youngsters who have a big future ahead of them. And it was great to see them playing for England at the Four Nations

On ice refreshments!

The various countries had a variety of strategies. Here, Louise Kerr practises meditation techniques.

There was excitement. The last few stones in the second Scotland v England women's game, with the Connie Miller trophy on the line were really tense, and much appreciated by those who watched.

Hard going for Rosemary Biggart who had to play two lots of back-to-back games during the weekend. And had the disappointment of seeing the CM trophy just slip away. Special medal to Rosemary gets my vote.

With the women's changing room out of commission, the unisex option certainly did not faze the competitors. Thanks Adrian, your fans will like this one!

Lana Watson played the shot which saw the English team recapture the Connie Miller trophy. She also was the 'Eyes of the Day'.

Mind you, this was a head to head competition against James Carswell! "Aye, aye!" (Other captions welcomed)

James was definitely my favourite photographic subject. "Let me just shut my eyes and I'll have a wee dream about Elspeth."

Ireland's John Jo Kenny in action.

The handshake - long may games of curling begin and end this way.

So let's try make sense of all the results. And thanks to John Brown who is the keeper of all the records for the Four Nations. It is customary for representatives of the four national associations to present and receive the trophies. So here we go, in no special order.

This is the Meikle Trophy, between Wales and Ireland, contested by one men's, one women's and two mixed teams. Ireland won this by a shot. Andrew Tanner and Bill Gray.

Andrew Tanner and Alison Arthur with the Kay Trophy for competition between Wales and England (one men's, one women's and two mixed teams), the former winning this contest 36-15.

The Marshall Millenium trophy is for the Scotland v Ireland competition. Two mixed, one men's and one women's team. Ireland was the holders of this trophy, and won it again. Michael McCreadie for Scotland presents the trophy to Bill Gray. Alastair MacIntyre men's team beat John Jo Kenny 11-4, but Rosemary Biggart lost to Carolyn Hibberd 7-5 in the ladies match, James Carswell went down 2-12 to John Jo Kenny, and Stewart Sutherland 5-7 to Tony Tierney in the mixed games.

England v Ireland play for the Turnbull Trophy, two mixed, one men's, one ladies' match, won by Ireland by one shot.

I've already mentioned the Tom Ballantyne trophy contested this weekend in five men's games between Scotland and England. This is the oldest of the trophies played for. Here Michael McCreadie accepts the trophy which was won by Scotland.

For the record, Michael McCreadie beat Michael Sutherland 8-3 and 11-5, Alastair MacIntyre beat Sam Fowler 6-3, James Carsewell was beaten by John Brown 4-7, and by Phil Barton 3-6. Overall Scotland 32, England 24.

Michael presents a temporary replica of the Connie Miller trophy, played for between Scotland and England by two ladies teams. Rosemary Biggart beat Hetty Garnier 8-5, and lost to Lana Watson 8-4. Overall we went down by a shot 12-13.

Lat but not least is Big Bertha, for competition between Scotland and Wales, one men's, one ladies' and two mixed games. Wales won this again. The results were Stephen McClymont 6 - Adrian Meikle 3 (mxd), Michael McCreadie 7 - Chris Wells 7 (mxd), Rosemary Biggart 3 - Laura Beever 12, Alastair MacIntrye 7 - Adrian Meikle 5. Overall Wales 27, Scotland 23.

The Welsh Curling Association will host the Four Nations next year, on the same weekend in January, probably at the Greenacres rink in Renfrewshire. Plans are being developed to construct a dedicated curling facility in Wales, let's hope these will come to fruition. Here Andrew makes a presentation to Ernest Fenton.

So how will Scotland's teams be selected next year, and whose decision will it be? If you ask me, I would give the job to Graeme Maguire, who has been the 'secretary' this time, with a remit to invite curlers from all of Scotland's clubs who would like a chance to play, with first refusal going to those who answered the call this time. But shouldn't the job be given back to the Royal Club President and the Areas Standing Committee? Don't be daft! They embarrassed us all with their stupid decision that our teams at Fenton's should just play 'for fun'. These 'representatives' are supposed to do just that ie represent the wishes and aspirations of club curlers in Scotland. I think they failed in their duty to us members.

Let's hope for better in the future.

I couldn't resist throwing a few stones myself at England's only dedicated curling facility!

Photos © Skip Cottage