Monday, October 31, 2011

Kay Moves On

Kay Adams, the hard working Communications and Web Content Officer with the Royal Club, is moving on after two years to take up a similar post with Barratt Homes East Scotland Ltd. She will be leaving the Royal Club on November 9.

Kay says, "It has not been an easy decision for me to make as the last two years have been a great learning experience and I have worked with so many great people in both the Royal Club and the different associated organisations. I have enjoyed working in a sport that I have a great passion for and I will not be disappearing as I continue in my quest to achieve my curling ambitions."

The Royal Club is reviewing roles and responsibilities among staff and plans to advertise soon. Indeed, the position of a 'Marketing Officer' is already on the organisation's website here.

In an email to all her contacts, Kay concludes, "It has been a pleasure working with you all and I wish you all the best for the future."

And that feeling is mutual, Kay.

Photo of Kay in action last season is © Skip Cottage.

Last Post on Perth

Kay Adams will be Team Muirhead's fifth player in Moscow, and David Edwards will fill that role for the David Murdoch team.

The photo above is by Tom Brydone and shows David Murdoch's last stone on the way down the ice to the poppy, swept by Richard Woods and Ross Paterson, and watched behind by Scott Andrews and Michael Goodfellow. I understand it was a close hard fought game, of the highest quality. While many congratulations are due to David and his team, I cannot help but have sympathy for Tom Brewster, Greg Drummond, Scott and Michael. But, above all, it is great to see that we have two teams of such quality this season.

A number of blogallies have been in touch, questioning the fairness of the way the Euro Qualifying was run this season. They point out, amongst other things, that Brewster played Murdoch five times over the weekend. Brewster won three of these encounters, Murdoch just two. Yet it is Murdoch who will be in Moscow.

Hindsight is a great thing of course, and I wonder if the Royal Club Competitions Committee ever discussed the scenario that eventually played out at Perth. At the end of the double round robin, Team Brewster had won all six games, and the other three teams had each won just two. That of course, was put to one side, with the second part of the event, a 'best of three', beginning with a completely clean slate. Perhaps it would have been fairer if the record of the teams had been carried forward into the playoff, as one poster on the Scottish Curling Forum has suggested, see here.

Do we know anything of the deliberations of the Competitions Committee on this subject? The minutes of the committee last March talk about 'two options', but there is no detail. You can download the minutes from this page if you want to try and understand this further. And if you are disturbed by the way the weekend turned out, you should certainly express your concerns to one of the committee. They are:
Alan Durno (Convenor)
Colin Hamilton (Manager of Competitions)
Anne Donald (Minutes Secretary)
Clive Thomson (ASC)
Bill Duncan (ASC)
Eve Muirhead (Players Rep)
Pat Edington (President)
Bill Duncan (Vice-President)
Bob Kelly (Board)
Anne Malcolm (Board)

Photo © Tom Brydone

Team of the Weekend

I've reposted this, having received this morning the photo above of the winners with their trophy!

Congratulations to Jay McWilliam, Colin Dick, Grant Hardie and Billy Morton who won the London Junior Cashspiel in Ontario this weekend, see here.

Check out the team's own blog, here, which has details of their first couple of days in Canada and will no doubt be updated soon with the playoffs.

Definitely our TotW!

Thanks to Nancy Murdoch for sending the photo. L-R: Billy Morton, Grant Hardie, Colin Dick and Jay McWilliam.

Full Ahead for the Scottish Curling Tour

I wonder what those teams not involved at Perth this past weekend are thinking? Could we (should we) have been in the mix to represent Scotland in Moscow? However, the way the Scottish Championships continue to be structured, everyone has a chance of representing our country in the Worlds at Lethbridge or Basel. With competing in the Scottish in their plans, the teams to which I refer have probably already taken part in one of the Goldline Scottish Curling Tour competitions this season.

This series of open competitions has already visited Dumfries, Braehead and Forfar. Has the Tour been a success? I would say so. It's off to a great start in this first season.

Next weekend (November 4-6) it's the turn of Inverness for the long-standing Skins. Twenty-four teams are involved here, in four sections of six. Tom Pendreigh has been in touch to say that the draw is made, but there is the odd team that is struggling for a player, so if you are interested in a great weekend on, and off the ice, then drop Tom an email (address is here).

The weekend following will be the inaugural Stirling Invitational, November 11-13. The organisers have set the bar high for this one, with a big entry fee, and consequently a big prize pot! There are twenty-two teams in this first year including notably Oskar Eriksson's side from Sweden.

The Petrofac Aberdeen City Open may not be until February 3-5, 2012, but already that competition is full, with twenty-four teams, and there is a waiting list. I can understand why, as last year's competition was great fun.

On the organisational side of the Goldline Scottish Curling Tour, organiser Gavin Fleming tells me that there are plans for a revamped website which would have provision for a unified results service from each competition. Now that would be a good step forward. I wish the SCT every success and hope it goes from strength to strength. There's no doubt that it benefits Scottish curling.

McKenzie and Cayton Win Pairs

The Star Refrigeration National Wheelchair Pairs Championship 2011 was held at Braehead at the weekend. Margaret Cathcart has sent this report:

"Nineteen pairs competed in great atmosphere and camaraderie, evident from the banter as a good crowd stayed on to watch the last session on Saturday afternoon – well worth the wait to see excellent play. There were flashes of colour on the ice thanks to the fabulous outfits sported by Angie Malone and Neil Hogg earning them the nickname ‘Raspberry Ripples’!

In the last of the round robin games, Tom Killin and James Brown, aiming for a Championship hat trick, were just pipped to a High Road semifinal slot by one end. The teams who progressed to the High Road semifinals were Angie Malone and Neil Hogg who played Mike McKenzie and Jackie Cayton, and Michael McCreadie with Russell Shanks playing Gregor Ewan with Jim Gault. Both games came down to skips' last stones with Team McKenzie and Team McCreadie winning to meet in the High Road final.

The High Road final was won by Mike McKenzie and Jackie Cayton. Team McCreadie scored a single in the first end but Team McKenzie proved just too strong, winning the next three ends to take a lead which was out of reach for Team McCreadie.

The Low Road final was won by Alex Harvey and Angela Higson."

Top: National Coach Tony Zummack presented the trophy to Mike and Jackie. Photo courtesy of Margaret Cathcart.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Murdoch for Moscow

Congratulations to David Murdoch, Glen Muirhead, Ross Paterson and Richard Woods who have won the right to represent Scotland at the European Championships in Moscow, defeating Tom Brewster, Greg Drummond, Scott Andrews and Michael Goodfellow in the tenth end of the third playoff game at Perth this evening.

The linescore is here.

The Welsh Bonspiel

Thanks to Hugh Stewart for sending these photos of the winning teams in the Welsh Bonspiel, held this weekend at the Greenacres Rink.

Above: The winners of the Welsh Bonspiel Trophy, L-R, George Manson (4th stones), Janice Manson (skip and lead), Pam Paxton (third) and Ian Paxton (second). Also in the photo, and those below, is Andrew Tanner, Welsh Curling Association President.

Winners of the JAM Trophy and third overall, L-R, Lauren Baxter (lead), Lesley Gregory (third), Andrew Woulston (skip) and Martin Gregory (second).

Winners of the Stan Williams Trophy and fifth overall, L-R, Graeme Adam (skip), Julia Adam (lead), Liz Jamieson (third) and Jim Jamieson (second).

Photos © Hugh Stewart

Playoff update

Eve Muirhead, Anna Sloan, Vicki Adams and Claire Hamilton will be Scotland's representatives at the Le Gruyere European Curling Championships in Moscow, December 2-10. The women were undefeated this weekend at the Dewar's Rinks in Perth, winning two straight today in the playoff against Kerry Barr and her team of Lorna Vevers, Rachael Simms and Barbara McPake.

In the Brewster v Murdoch playoff, Team Murdoch won the second of the 'best of three' and so this competition will go to a third, and deciding game, later this evening.

The scores are all here.

Playoffs at Perth

It was first blood to the Eve Muirhead team this morning in their 'best of three' playoff. Above L-R: Eve Muirhead, Anna Sloan, Vicki Adams, Claire Hamilton. The team beat Sarah Reid's side, with Kerry Barr skipping, see here.

Here's Kerry and her team. L-R: Kerry Barr, Lorna Vevers, Rachael Simms, Barbara McPake.

Tom Brewster and his team had to steal the tenth end to count their first point in the 'best of three' playoff against David Murdoch's side in the men's competition, see here. L-R: Tom Brewster, Greg Drummond, Scott Andrews, Michael Goodfellow.

L-R: David Murdoch, Glen Muirhead, Ross Paterson, Richard Woods.

Photos © Tom Brydone

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Euro Qualifying Update

David Edwards beat Sandy Reid in the first round of tiebreakers at Perth today, and then faced David Murdoch. Murdoch won that, and so it will be David Murdoch, Glen Muirhead, Ross Paterson and Richard Woods who will contest the 'best of three' playoff tomorrow against Tom Brewster and his team.

In the women's event, Sarah Reid beat Jackie Lockhart at an extra end, then got past Hannah Fleming's team in the second tiebreaker. So it will be Sarah Reid, Lorna Vevers, Rachael Simms and Barbara McPake who will contest the playoff with Eve Muirhead's team tomorrow. Note however that Kerry Barr has been standing in for Sarah who has been unwell.

The linescores are all here.

The playoff games begin at 10.00 tomorrow, Sunday.

Top photo: Kerry Barr substituting for Sarah Reid. Photo © Tom Brydone.

More Perth Pix

Tom Brydone offered to be my 'eyes' at Perth. Thanks Tom. Here is a small selection of photos he's taken of the action these past couple of days.

Sarah Macintyre and Kay Adams sweep skip Jackie Lockhart's stone.

Eve Muirhead in full voice.

Abi Brown and Alice Spence, the front end for Team Fleming.

Barbara McPake (nee McFarlane), lead for Team Reid.

Sarah Macintyre, lead for Team Lockhart.

Tom Brewster.

Photos © Tom Brydone

Into Tiebreakers at Perth

There are eight teams competing in the European Qualifying Competition at Perth. The four men's teams and four women's teams have completed their double round robins. How many teams have been eliminated from contention?

Well, actually none.

In the men's event, the Tom Brewster team has beaten all the others, twice, but according to the rules this year, they have to wait while the second placed team is decided so they can play a 'best of three'. The teams skipped by Sandy Reid, David Murdoch and David Edwards are all on two wins and four losses. Edwards brought his own side back into contention by beating Murdoch this morning.

The women's event looks similar. Eve Muirhead's rink has beaten the other three twice, and awaits who they will play in the playoffs. The teams skipped by Hannah Fleming, Jackie Lockhart and Sarah Reid are all on two wins and four losses.

See the standings and linescores, and follow the tiebreaker results here.

Thanks to Tom Brydone for the pic of the David Edwards team in action last night. Colin Campbell and Scott Macleod sweep their skip's stone.

Friday, October 28, 2011

European Qualifying Friday

After four games, the teams of Tom Brewster and Eve Muirhead held undefeated records in their competitions to find Scotland's team for the Le Gruyere European Curling Championships in Moscow. In this evening's fifth round, David Murdoch, already on two losses, faced up against Brewster. It was to be another win for Tom with Greg Drummond, Scott Andrews and Michael Goodfellow, as they won through in a game that only went eight ends.

In the women's competition, Eve, with Anna Sloan, Vicki Adams and Claire Hamilton maintained their perfect record by defeating Jackie Lockhart's side.

You can see the standings here.

In tomorrow's final games of the double round robin, Sandy Reid plays Brewster and David Edwards faces Murdoch. On the women's side, Lockhart plays Sarah Reid and Muirhead is against Hannah Fleming.

In past years the top team would have gone forward. Indeed, the competition would now be over. However, this season the rules are that the top two teams in each section will then play a best of three to find the teams for Moscow. Who will be second in each section is very much in the air!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Euro Qualifying Thursday

After two rounds of play today, David Murdoch, Glen Muirhead, Ross Paterson and Richard Woods had banked their first two wins against Sandy Reid (in an extra) and David Edwards. So too had Tom Brewster, Greg Drummond, Scott Andrews and Michael Goodfellow against David Edwards and Sandy Reid.

In the women's competition, Eve Muirhead, Anna Sloan, Vicki Adams and Claire Hamilton also recorded two wins on the first day, against Sarah Reid and Hannah Fleming.

The Royal Club website is back up and running again, so all the results can be found here.

The competition continues with three rounds of play tomorrow (Friday) beginning at 09.00.

Top: Richard Woods and Ross Paterson sweep a Glen Muirhead stone.
Above: Eve Muirhead calls line as Anna Sloan and Vicki Adams sweep Claire Hamilton's stone.

Photos © Tom Brydone

Looking for results?

If you are looking for the draw and results from the European Qualifying at Perth, then go HERE.

The competition gets underway at noon today.

Team McWilliam in Canada

Jay McWilliam, Colin Dick, Grant Hardie and Billy Morton, one of the Royal Club's Performance Squad teams, will play in the London, Ontario, Junior Cashspiel this weekend. The event website is here if you want to follow their progress. The competition is played in two different curling clubs - the Highland Country Club and the St Thomas Curling Club. There are twenty-four teams in the junior men's event.

This is the first leg of a Canadian trip that will also see the team compete in Ottowa.

Photo of Jay, from last season's Scottish Junior Championship, is © Skip Cottage.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Destination Moscow

(The Royal Club is "Experiencing some downtime on our website this afternoon" according to its Facebook page. This means that the links in my post below to Royal Club pages are not active. I'll update these when our governing body's website gets back online.)

NB: A temporary site for draw and results is here.

Scotland's representatives for the European Curling Championships to be held in Moscow, December 2-10, will be decided at the qualifying competition at the Dewar's Centre in Perth, which begins tomorrow (Thursday). The draw is here.

Four men's teams and four women's teams are involved. I've already commented on how these teams were selected for the qualifying competition, see here.

The men's competition will be contested by teams skipped by Tom Brewster, Sandy Reid, David Murdoch and David Edwards, and the women's competition by Eve Muirhead, Hannah Fleming, Jackie Lockhart and Sarah Reid.

The teams will play a double round robin and the top two after that will play 'best of three' to find the winners. I'm unable to be in Perth this week, but will be following the results online on the Royal Club website.

Successful Camp at Braehead

Braehead’s second annual curling camp was held during this month's school break and attracted a total of thirteen youngsters between 11 and 14 years old. The children were from as far apart as Hamilton and Greenock, and also included two who were trying curling for the first time.

Local coaches Meta Eccleston, Robbie Stewart and Liz Paul assisted CDO David Horne to provide a fun filled three days, with time to focus on certain aspects of each young curler's delivery.

The children were split into four teams, for on- and off-ice activities, including ice breaking sessions and a fun quiz.

The complete beginners were taught all the basics of curling and by the third day were sliding down the ice and delivering curling stones full length. The more experienced youngsters were able to work on their delivery , sweeping and weight control skills.

The on ice sessions were from 10am to 12 noon and then 1pm to 3pm each day and covered a wide range of coaching by the qualified coaches and each camper also had their slide filmed, using equipment supplied by The Braehead Development Group and were then able to watch the playback on the TV screen in the Braehead Bar. Fun games were played during the camp as well as several full length games. The improvement over the three days by all the children was quite dramatic.

At the end of the last day the winning team of the three day curling competition received certificates but every child who came along received fun gifts. The parents were full of praise for the venture.

Back Row: Stuart Anderson, Julie Wight, Angus Shearer, Jill Strang, Mairi MacDonald, Laura Wight, Heather MacDonald.
Middle Row: Coach Robbie Stewart, Ewan Polea, Lucy Fleming.
Front Row: Ann Fleming, Jamie Wilson, Victoria Wilson, Megan MacDonald.

Thanks to David Horne for the report and photo. And a well done to all involved!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Team of the Weekend Award

Yes, it's time to make the award to the most deserving team of the weekend.

To whom should the award go? Tom Brewster's side perhaps for a great performance in Champery? Hannah Fleming or Kyle Smith for bringing home the spoils from Oslo? The Duncan Menzies team which won the NSL Finals at Forfar? The Robert Tait or Rebecca Steven teams for their success at Murrayfield? Good nominations, all of these.

The Skip Cottage Curling TotW is ....

Graham Sloan (skip), John Sloan, Stuart Mair and John Graham, for their performance in the Lions 18th Annual Bonspiel at the Ice Bowl, Dumfries.

Gambling to steal a single without last stone advantage they lost an eight, when opposition skip David Owen made a triple takeout to count big. So TotW to Team Sloan and I'm sure this award will go a long way towards tempering the memory of being walloped in this way. They will also no doubt receive an official 'Rhona Martin Try Harder Award' usually given to teams who lose the big end. (This latter award is named after our Olympic Champ whose team managed to give away eight shots in one end whilst playing at Greenacres in the months before the Salt Lake City success).

For the record, here are the eight counters!

And just to keep things tidy, here is the team which counted the eight ender. David Owen (skip), Claire Sloan (vice), Tom Owen (2nd) and Derek Purdie (lead).

The TofW requested anonymity, so no photo of them!

Thanks to Graham for the pix!

National Super League Finals

It is not easy to get a new competition off the ground. Mike Ferguson's idea to bring superleague champions from rinks all over Scotland together at Forfar Indoor Sports was certainly innovative, and by all accounts it was all a great success with some great curling on the ice. The results can be found here.

The final matched the local rink of Duncan Menzies (skip), Gordon Craik, Stuart Stark and Angus Dowell against Ewan MacDonald (skip), Tom Pendreigh, Neil MacArthur and Tom Pendreigh (jnr), Inverness. Going down the last, Duncan had to draw against two counters, and he did this successfully for the win.

Duncan had beaten Ayr's David Mundell and Ewan had won over Murrayfield 1's John Hamilton in the semifinals.

Mike Ferguson says, "A great weekend, serious on the ice but fun off it, just as curling is meant to be. We look forward to building this into one of Scottish curling's 'to be at' events. Ideally ice rinks will view this competition as an great way to reward their superleague teams and enter them in to the competition as a prize for winning the local league or competition. It might also encourage some local teams to enter or form a local super league with the potential of a reward at the end for their efforts. We will certainly be hosting the NSL Finals again next year."

The winners L-R: Angus Dowell, Stuart Stark, Duncan Menzies and Gordon Craik.

Runners-up L-R: Tom Pendreigh jnr, Ewan MacDonald (skip), Tom Pendreigh, Neil MacArthur.

Photos © Mike Ferguson

More from the weekend

Congratulations to Kyle Smith, Thomas Muirhead, Kyle Waddell and Kerr Drummond who won the European Junior Curling Tour event in Oslo at the weekend. In the junior women's competition, Hannah Fleming, Lauren Gray, Alice Spence and Abi Brown also finished on top. The linescores are here. The Jennifer Dodds and Bruce Mouat teams took bronze in their respective events.

At home, juniors were in action at the Murrayfield rink. Robin Copland sends this report:

"Eight teams took to good, keen, swinging ice at Murrayfield on Saturday to compete for the Gogar Salver. Two sections of four teams guaranteed each team three games of curling before semifinals and final on the Sunday.

As winners of the all-ladies section, Rebecca Steven skipped her team of Jennifer Marshall, Karen Munro and Hannah Findlay to this year’s Dunvegan Trophy.

The final of the Gogar Salver was a tight affair with the two teams skipped by Hamilton’s Robert Tait and Stuart Marshall from Greenacres never more than one shot away from each other.

Playing the eighth and last end without the hammer, the Hamilton team, skip Robert, third John Tait, second Brian King and lead Gavin Jackson, set things up nicely, leaving Stuart with a difficult raised take out for the match and the trophy. His stone just curled too much leaving the Hamilton team with the shot and the trophy. The event organiser, Dave Munro presided over a happy prize giving ceremony."

Past President of Gogar Park Curling Club, Trevor Dodds, presents the Dunvegan trophy to (L-R) Rebecca Steven (skip), Jennifer Marshall (third), Karen Munro (second) and Hannah Findlay (lead).

President Edinburgh Curling Club, Robin Copland, presents the Gogar Salver to Robert Tait (skip), John Tait (third), Brian King (second) and Gavin Jackson (lead).

Gogar Salver runners-up with Robin. L-R: Stuart Marshall (skip), Thomas Halder (third), James Carswell, (second) and Grant Barr.

Thanks to Robin for the report and photos of the winners.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

'Drama in Champery'

Tom Brewster, Greg Drummond, Scott Andrews and Michael Goodfellow made it to the final of the Portes du Soleil Champery Masters.

Logan Gray's team went out in the quarterfinals. David Edwards' side lost out in a playoff for the quarters, as did David Murdoch, despite a triple takeout with his last stone on the eighth to count three and force an extra end in his game against Pascal Hess. Shot of the year so far, in my book.

I really enjoyed the coverage of the event by Brian Gray had the role of lead commentator for most of the games I watched, joined by ice tech Mark Callan, Italian coach Dan Rafael, and David Edwards for different games. All very entertaining in different ways.

The Brewster team were going well all weekend, Tom himself playing some cracking shots, particularly against Jan Hauser in the quarterfinal. Having got past Hess in the semi, Team Brewster were in the final against Peter De Cruz's side. This young team, in which Benoit Schwarz plays the last stone, contested the final of the World Juniors at Perth last season and it was good to be able to watch them again. Trying to blank the seventh, with scores tied, Tom failed to run away and went into the last one up, without. In the eighth, it looked for a long time as if the Scots were in deep trouble, but a Brewster triple takeout ensured that the Swiss could only count a single and so it was in to an extra end.

Exciting to watch! The game came down to the final stone, Tom just an inch too heavy with his draw to the one foot. The young team from Geneva were the winners of the first ever Champery Masters.

All the results from the competition are here. The Curling Champions Tour website is here.

Top: Screenshot of Tom Brewster from the live feed of the semifinal.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Russia Wins Kinross Wheelchair Curling International

The ten teams in the Kinross Wheelchair Curling International 2011 played in two sections.

Scotland 2, skipped by Michael McCreadie, dropped only one point to claim top spot in Section A. Switzerland won their last two games to take the second place.

Section B was much tighter. Russia 2 won the section, only dropping one point. Canada 2, Scotland 1 and Norway were all tied on 4 points, and it was the Norwegians who claimed second spot on ends scored.

In the one/two playoff, Russia 2 took an early lead with singles in the first two ends. Scotland 2 picked up a two in the third but immediately lost a four in the fourth before scoring singles in ends five and six. Russia took three in the seventh end to make it 9-4 at the last, and ran Scotland 2 out of stones.

Switzerland beat Norway in the 3/4 match.

Councillor Kellas of Perth and Kinross provided a reception for the competitors and presented the prizes at the closing dinner. Brian Martin of Ailsa Craig Jewellery donated beautiful prizes. By all accounts it was a very successful event. There's a more extensive report, and further photographs, here.

The presentation group. L-R: Boris Gorchakov, Konstantin Kurokhtin, Daria Shchukina, Mikhail Mokretcov, Aleksandr Dmitriev. Behind: Brian Martin, Councillor Kellas.

The Scotland 2 squad was Michael McCreadie, Michael McKenzie, Jim Gault, Ian Donaldson, and Gill Keith.

Thanks to Archie Bogie for providing the report of play and the pic of the winners.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Return to Champery

There is a new competition in the Curling Champions Tour this season, the Portes du Soleil Champery Masters, which begins today (Thursday). Thirty men's teams will compete in six sections in the Palladium de Champery, which was the venue for the most recent Le Gruyere European Championship.

Scotland is well represented with Logan Gray, David Murdoch, Tom Brewster and David Edwards all taking their teams to this competition. Play begins this evening, with set to provide webcasts of selected games. The draw is here, and the results should be found here.

While some of Scotland's junior teams will be competing at Murrayfield this weekend in the Gogar Salver and the Dunvegan Trophy, see here, others are venturing further afield. Bruce Mouat and Kyle Smith are at the Oslo Junior Men's competition, and Jennifer Dodds and Jennifer Martin compete in the Junior Women's competition which runs alongside the junior men's event. These four teams are all in the Royal Club Academy programmes, see here. Hannah Fleming's team, a Performance Squad team which won the Forfar leg of the Women's Tour on Sunday, is also in Oslo this weekend. Information on the two Oslo events can be found here and here. Oslo is the second venue for the European Junior Curling Tour. Scotland was not represented in the first which was held in Taarnby back in August.

Attention is back on Forfar Indoor Sports this weekend with the inaugural National Super League finals. That sounds as if it will be a lot of fun! The rink's website is here to find what happens.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Wheels at Kinross

The Kinross Wheelchair Curling International is underway at Kinross. Last night's games saw both Canadian teams lose to their Scottish opponents.

Ten teams are involved. One section includes Canada 1, Scotland 2, Russia 1, Switzerland and Scotland 3. The other has Canada 2, Scotland 1, Russia 2, Norway and Latvia.

The competition concludes tomorrow.

The Wheelchair Curling Blog has more details.

Victoria Awarded 2013 Ford World Men’s Championship

Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, will be the venue for the 2013 Ford World Men’s Curling Championship, confirmed yesterday in a joint announcement by the World Curling Federation and the Canadian Curling Association.

The championship will be held at the 6,500-seat Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre from March 30 - April 7, 2013. This is the same venue which hosted the 2005 Ford World Men’s.

The full press release can be read here.

This season's World Men’s Championship will be held in Basel, Switzerland, March 31 - April 8, 2012.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Why be an umpire?

You may know Jill Donald (above) as a player, or as the hard working development officer at Forfar Indoor Sports. But did you know that she is a qualified umpire, and has been invited to officiate at the inaugural Winter Youth Olympic Games in Innsbruck, January 13-22? I wrote about the WYOG back in March, see here, and since then the young curlers who have been selected to represent GB have been (unofficially) named, see here. A rink will be constructed within the Innsbruck Exhibition Centre for the curling competition.

I understand that it was the International Olympic Committee who suggested to the World Curling Federation that it would be a good idea if the umpires for the WYOG were in a younger age group (under 35) than normally seen at international curling events. This idea was certainly embraced by the Royal Club's Umpire Committee. It turns out that two Scots are in the umpiring team for the WYOG, Jill, and Lorna Smith. They will join Tim Bastian (Germany) and Marcus Schmidt (Austria) as game umpires. Eeva Rothlisberger is the Chief Umpire, and Alexander Orlov is her deputy.

We all tend to think of curling umpires as 'old'! At 27, Jill bucks that trend! She was recruited to the umpiring ranks by Leslie Ingram-Brown who for many years chaired the Royal Club Umpire Committee. Anne Malcolm is now the convenor of that committee, with Alan Stanfield in particular providing new enthusiasm and insights into the recruitment and training of Scottish umpires.

Jill says that she has enjoyed learning to be an umpire and how she now better understands the rules of the game. "People look to you for answers," she says, adding, "The sport does need younger umpires."

Have you thought of being an umpire? Even if you just want to learn more about the game without any further commitment to becoming an umpire, then consider yourself invited to a one day umpire course at Forfar Indoor Sports, November 5. The details can be found here. Any age welcome!

Jill of course is just delighted that the course is to be held at her own Forfar rink. She'll be on hand if anyone wants to ask her about her own experiences these past few years. She'll even tell you, I'm sure, how much she is looking forward to being involved at Innsbruck!

Photo © Skip Cottage

New Name for Perth Masters

Pete Loudon writes, "I am pleased to announce that the Perth Masters Bonspiel will now be know as the Mercure Perth Masters and the newly named event will go ahead January 5-8, 2012.

Finding and keeping a major sporting event sponsor is a challenging business, especially in these tough economic times. However I am very pleased that we are able to continue to work closely with the management team and staff at the Mercure Perth Hotel to ensure the longest standing event on the Champions Curling Tour will go ahead as planned in January.

We have developed an excellent working relationship not only with the key people at Mercure but also across all our other supporting sponsors and through the hard work and effort of our committee and the staff at Dewar's Centre we are determined to deliver another top class event for curling fans.

The new company which operates the hotel (formerly the Ramada Jarvis) is Jupiter hotels. More information can be found here."

The Perth Masters is a competition in the Curling Champions Tour.

Weekend Wrap

No problem in identifying the Skip Cottage Curling 'Team of the Weekend'. Eve Muirhead, Anna Sloan, Vicki Adams and Claire Hamilton went undefeated to win the Meyers Norris Penny Charity Classic in Medicine Hat, a thirty-two team triple knockout. Eve and her team won four straight to qualify for the playoffs from the A Road, then enjoyed a day off, before winning three more yesterday to take the title. Great job!

Sarah Reid, Rachel Simms, Lorna Vevers and Barbara McFarlane had a good run at the Southwestern Ontario Women's Charity Cashspiel in London. The team qualified for the playoffs from the C Road, then won their quarterfinal match before losing out in the semifinals.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Elgin Funspiels

With the U17 Slam now well established, and very popular, competitions for curlers even younger are becoming even more important in the broadest aspects of curling development. There tends not to be much publicity for these, but I know from speaking to one parent yesterday how much fun it is for the youngsters involved. And I like how the competitions are called 'funspiels'. When all is said and done that's what it should be ... fun!

Sandra MacIver sends this report by Alan Campbell, "Moray Leisure Centre and the Moray Province Coaching and Development Group had great pleasure in hosting the North Curling Funspeil in Elgin on Saturday, October 15. The hosts welcomed visiting teams from Inverness, Aberdeen, and Forfar who joined Moray Juniors in competing for the North regional honours. The winning team will represent the region in national finals later in the year. Two competitions were run over the course of the day. Firstly all teams competed against each other in their respective age groups in a round robin format.

After some very competitive games where some excellent curling was on show the U13 and U15 teams from Aberdeen ended the day victorious.

The winners of the Under-15 event were Rebecca Morrison, Eain Scott, Douglas Mathieson, and Emma Scott.

The winners of the U13 event were Scott Lockhart, Rory Young, Katy Young, and Anna Mathieson.

The 'Hot Shots Challenge' silverware went to the Moray club's Under-13 team, and the Forfar Under-15 team secured their victory in that competition.

Special mention of the day was for the youngest competitor, eight year old Sorley Macdonald. He played all the games and looked as if he could have played another three.

Moray Province Coaching Development Group wishes to acknowledge the support of the Moray Leisure centre and their staff."

Thanks Sandra and Alan!

Sandra is the Moray Province Coaching and Developments group's multitasking secretary who organised the day, supported by Morag Cumming, Bill Nicol, Alan Campbell, Campbell Ross and Barbara King.

Olympian Janice Rankin was there too to add her support and present the prizes.

Here's Janice with the U13 winners: Anna Mathieson, Katy Young, Rory Young and Scott Lockhart.

Here's the U15 winners: L-R: Eain Scott, Douglas Mathieson, Emma Scott, Rebecca Morrison.

Last word goes to Alan who says, "A great day, fantastic to see so many talented youngsters on the ice giving it 100% ... all a credit to their respective rinks and clubs!"

Photos courtesy of Sandra MacIver.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Forfar Open Winners

Ally Fraser took three at the first and was always in the driving seat in this one. Good game to watch though! Team Fraser was 5-3 up playing the last end, with the hammer, and the trophy was theirs. The scores are all here.

That's the winners above.

L-R: Ian Young (Past President Forfar Curling Centre), Calum Greenwood, Ruairidh Greenwood, David Reid, Ally Fraser, Mike Ferguson (MD Forfar Indoor Sports).

Photo © Skip Cottage

Women's Tour Final at Forfar

Here is Hannah Fleming and her team, the winners of the Royal Club's Women's Tour, first leg, at Forfar today.

Hannah's team got the jump in front in the fourth end, scoring four to go 4-2 in front. Hazel's side fought on, but were still two down at 6-4 in the eighth. A fine clearance from Hannah with her first ensured that it would be Team Fleming who would be receiving the winner's prizes.

All scores are here.

The presentation group. L-R: Jill Donald (representing Forfar Indoor Sports), Hannah Fleming, Lauren Gray, Alice Spence, Abi Brown and Judith McFarlane (Tour organiser, representing the Royal Club). Photo © Skip Cottage

The Forfar Open

The rink at Forfar Indoor Sports hosted the Forfar Open, the third Goldline Scottish Curling Tour event of the season. There were fifteen teams in the event. Paul Stevenson, Ruaraidh Whyte, Fraser Watt and Tim Stevenson met Ally Fraser, David Reid, Ruairidh Greenwood, Callum Greenwood in one semifinal, and Kyle Smith, Thomas Muirhead, Gordon Craik, Fergus Corbett and Graham Shedden, Chay Telfer, John Tait and Andrew Ballantyne on the other side of the draw.

L-R: Ally Fraser, David Reid, Ruairidh Greenwood, Calum Greenwood

Both semifinal games were one sided, and early finishes! Ally Fraser's team would play Kyle Smith's side in the final.

L-R: Kyle Smith, Thomas Muirhead, Gordon Craik, Fergus Corbett

All the scores are here. Winners' pic later.

Photos © Skip Cottage

Women's Tour at Forfar

There were twelve teams in the Forfar leg of the Women's tour. These played in two sections of six, with only the top team in each qualifying for the final game.

In Section A, Hannah Fleming, Lauren Gray, Alice Spence and Abi Brown had their place in the final secure, even with one section game to play.

L-R: Abi Brown, Alice Spence, Lauren Gray and Hannah Fleming

Section B saw Hazel Smith with Naomi Whyte, Louise Mansion and Eilidh Templeton beat Kerry Barr, Helen King, Rhiann Macleod and Caitlin Barr in the fourth round. That was a significant win for Hazel over a team containing her former skip Helen, and put Team Smith on top of the standings with a game still to play.

Against Jennifer Dodds, Becca Kesley, Vicky Wright and Mhairi Baird, the Smith four continued their winning ways, and that was them into the final against Team Fleming.

L-R: Hazel Smith, Naomi Whyte, Louise Mansion and Eilidh Templeton

Back later with the winners.

All the results can be found here.

Photos © Skip Cottage

Two for One at Forfar

What a busy place Forfar Indoor Sports has been this weekend with two major competitions ongoing at the rink! The Forfar Open results can be found here. And the first leg of the Women's Tour here.

All seven sheets have been in use throughout. That's the three-sheeter above, which doubles as the skating rink. If you have been to Forfar before, you might think that there is little change. Not so!

The three-sheeter is now overlooked by a little cafe/restaurant, augmenting the facilities of the main rink. Very nice indeed.

This is the view from the ice pad into the new Ice World Cafe.

More about the curling later!

Pix © Skip Cottage

Friday, October 14, 2011

Travelling to Curl

Curlers in nineteeth century Scotland often went to considerable effort to take part in a game. David B Smith has a story about two clubs competing in 1874 in the 'wilds' of Argyllshire in the Curling History Blog here.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Looking to the weekend

Forfar Indoor Sports will be a busy rink this weekend! The Forfar Open, another event in the Goldline Scottish Curling Tour series, begins tomorrow. Fifteen teams will compete in three sections. Hopefully the results will be online at the rink's website, here.

Running alongside the Forfar Open is the first leg of the Royal Club's Women's Tour. Twelve teams, both young and .... older, are signed up for this, playing in two sections. The results will be here. The second leg of the Women's Tour will be at Curl Aberdeen, November 18-20.

Eve Muirhead and her team of Anna Sloan, Vicki Adams and Claire Hamilton, having taken part in the Curlers Corner Autumn Gold Curling Classic in Calgary last weekend, now head for the Meyers Norris Penny Charity Classic in Medicine Hat.

Sarah Reid and her team of Rachel Simms, Lorna Vevers and Barbara McFarlane are also in Canada, at the 15th Annual Southwestern Ontario Women's Charity Cashspiel, in London, Ontario. Fundraising efforts go towards the London Regional Cancer Program.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Calendar Launched

The 2012 Women of Curling calendar, which I mentioned recently here, has had its official launch and can now be purchased. Click here, or on the image above, to buy online.

This article, by George Karrys, tells you all you need to know about the charity calendar. Apparently there are three poses of Eve inside. Russia's Ekaterina Galkina and Sweden's Cissi Ostlund are the other European curlers featured.

So, get your orders in now. And no, I haven't heard any gossip about the Royal Club Ladies' Branch publishing their own version - at least not for 2012! This would feature 'more mature' Scottish lady curlers. Surely this would be a great fundraiser too? Who said Skip Cottage has an overactive imagination!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Antiques Roadshow

The Royal Club's Past President Robbie Scott is one of curling's great enthusiasts. He has a passion for the history of the sport, and indeed he has an extensive collection of memorabilia in his home in Pitlochry. He was instrumental recently in making sure that the Royal Club's own collection of artifacts was all collected together in one secure storage site, awaiting cataloguing.

Perhaps you saw him on the Antiques Roadshow on Sunday night on BBC 1? I flagged this up a year ago, see here, when the programme was filmed at Blair Castle. Unfortunately, Robbie's participation was not included in the first programme that went out in the last series, but he did appear in a second programme from Blair that went out on Sunday. You can watch this on the BBC iPlayer until October 16, here.

With Robbie was Eve Muirhead, who's also a member of Dunkeld CC. They had, for expert Alastair Dickenson to examine, a silver jug which had been presented by the Duke of Atholl for competition among local curling clubs. Turns out that the jug was made in England in 1841, some twelve years before it was first presented for play. Dickenson even suggested that it had just been an item that the Duke had no further use for, so got rid of it to the curlers! I wonder. Does this mean that the engravings on the jug, and the silver stone on the lid, were later additions? All very interesting.

Forget what the expert said on value, an item like this is indeed priceless. As are Eve's World Junior Championship Gold Medals. She was wearing three of these when the programme was filmed. And she now has a fourth!

The illustration above is a screenshot from Sunday's programme.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Kinross Junior Classic Finalists

I'm grateful to Tom Brydone for sending the photos, below, of the six teams that contested the three final games at the Kinross Junior Curling Classic yesterday.

This was the lineup for the High Road final. L-R: Colin Mouat, Ross Fraser, Derrick Sloan and Bruce Mouat. Duncan Menzies, Stuart Taylor, Robert Fawns, Thomas Halder. The latter were the victors on the day.

The Junior Women's event finalists. L-R: Claire Dagen, Dionne Clark, Lauren Baxter, Maggie Wilson. Lesley Young, Louise Joiner, Hailey Duff and Layla Al Saffar. The latter were champions at Kinross.

The Low Road finalists. L-R: Ian Kirkpatrick, Hamish Geyer, Ross Whyte, Ruairaidh Whyte. George McConnell, Peter Dagen, Ryan Peters, Finlay Campbell. George's team finished on top in this one.

Please advise if any of the names are incorrect.

Photos © Robin Brydone