Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Curlers wanted

What do Judith McFarlane and Andy Cameron have in common? Aside that is from featuring on this blog recently. They are both trying to establish new events in the Scottish curling calendar.

Judith is the Royal Club's Development Manager and is looking to make the Homecoming Scotland International Curling Camp a success. The camp will run from July 19-25 at the Dumfries Ice Bowl and the Barony College.

The camp is open to junior curlers aged 16-21 and will provide on-ice and classroom curling sessions led by experienced international coaches. There will also be other off-ice activities to celebrate the year of Homecoming Scotland. Further information and contact details can be found here.

Readers of this blog can help. If you have contacts abroad with connections to junior curling, then please let them know of this opportunity to spend a fun and educational week in Scotland. And of course, there are places for curlers from the UK too.

At the other end of the country, the rink in Elgin will host the first Moray International Curling Bonspiel, April 18-19. Any four curlers, four game guarantee. Emphasis is on the social side of the game as much as the competition on the ice. There are still a few places left in the draw for teams from home or abroad.

It's not everyday that the curling spotlight focuses on the Elgin Leisure Centre, and it would be really great if this competition gets off the ground well in its first year. There is certainly a market for 'out of season' events throughout Europe. Full marks to Andy for his initiative.

Contact him at andycameron1179 /at/ talktalk.net if you need more information.

It's hard to get new events going. I hope both these ventures get the support they deserve. SPREAD THE WORD.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Scottish Mixed Championship Sunday

Adrian White, Jill Macdonald, Craig Johnston and Linda Ruxton made it to the semis having beaten Colin Dick's team in the quarters. There they came up against Tom Brewster, Lynn Cameron, Colin Campbell and Michelle Silvera, victors over Jamie Dick's team in very short order. The semi was a good tight game, and when Tom's last stone draw to the four foot was swept a fraction too far it was into an extra end, but only after a measure. In the ninth though, Brewster made sure of his team's place in the final with a good last stone clearance.

On the other side of the draw, John Hamilton, Anna Sloan, Alisdair Guthrie and Cathyn Guthrie had progressed past David Edwards, and then sneaked ahead of Neil Joss, Judith McFarlane, Gary Rutherford and Margaret Richardson in the semi, to line up against the Brewster side in the title decider.

All the linescores are here.

Now this is where you blogallies have to pay attention. Questions follow. The Brewster team threw in regulation order. Except that Michelle, who played lead stones, held the brush when Tom played. In the Hamilton team, Cathryn played lead stones, John himself played second. Anna, throwing third stones, held the brush for John. John went into the head when she had to throw. And Alisdair played fourth stones, with John in the head for these. So both girls swept the last stones of the end.

By the time I had figured all this out, the game was 2-2 after five!

The sixth was the key. Hamilton played to keep Brewster to a single. But Tom had last stone and he sidled it past the guard to edge away John's second counter and post a four. Handshakes were immediately offered. Our new Mixed Champions: Tom Brewster, Lynn Cameron, Colin Campbell and Michelle Silvera.

Top: L-R Michelle Silvera, Colin Campbell, Lynn Cameron, Tom Brewster. It was a fun competition! Pic by Bob.

Here we are in the final with lots of stones in play.

Tom Brewster

and his team. L-R Lynn Cameron, Colin Campbell, Michelle Silvera.

A study in concentration. John Hamilton and Michelle Silvera. Now, I said I would ask questions. Who is delivering the stone?

'Hear no evil; see no evil; speak no evil'

Al Guthrie and Anna Sloan had an uphill battle.

Cathryn Guthrie

"The effects of curling activities on beard growth" John Hamilton, Cathryn Guthrie, Alisdair Guthrie and Anna Sloan. Annals of Endocrinology 57 (2) pp63-72, 2009.

Anna Sloan

Pics by Bob.

On the other side of the world

Now, Aberdeen may well be the centre of the Scottish curling world this weekend, but it's all happening elsewhere too.

In Victoria, British Columbia, David Murdoch, Ewan MacDonald, Pete Smith and Euan Byers qualified from their section, and beat Randy Ferbey's team in the quarterfinals of the Bear Mountain Arena Classic. Find out how they get on later today in the semi here.

And congratulations to Bingyu Wang's Chinese team on winning the Mount Titlis World Championship! They beat Anette Norberg's Swedish side in the final. Denmark defeated Canada for the bronze. All the scores are here.

Photo of the World Champions is by Hugh Stewart.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Foreigners at Curl Aberdeen

Well, here we are at Curl Aberdeen. It's the Scottish Mixed Championship this weekend. Very mixed it is too. Here are some pics, to give you a flavour!

Pay attention! Interactivity is one of the new things on this new blog, so I have some questions for you blogallies out there. There are a number of Dicks playing this weekend. I want you to count them. Should be easy. There is also a lot of Woods (but you can't see them for the trees, boom, boom). You have to count them too. And also you have to identify who all the foreigners are. Answers (if I remember) sometime soon.

X marks the spot in this pic of Karen Strang.

Here's the first of the trophy shirts to identify!

Louise Wood (damn, gave it away) modelling 'Most intelligent look of the day'.

I have received criticisms in the past that I always show photos of Gillian Howard shouting. So here's a serious one.

Dillon Perras

This for the David Mundell fan club.

Alan Smith and Gillian Howard. The holders will not be retaining the trophy. You can find all the results from the weekend here.

Despite the efforts of Mundell and Strang this curled a fraction too much.

Calendar girls shouldn't look this scary - Kim Brewster.

Did I say scary! David Edwards. It's the eyes!

Did I mention eyes? Susan Kesley.

Normal service, here's the dentist shot of Gillian again.

You know, Greig Henderson is getting more and more like David Horton every day!

Question, what is Stuart Templeton thinking? Take a look at his score against Colin Hamilton, who, not content with winning the Pairs last week, is firmly set on the Mixed too.

Last time I was in Japan, this lady was very much in my thoughts - Michelle Silvera. (Hint - 1997)



Do many Japanese girls have blond hair?

You would think Tom Brewster was the manager of the rink, the way he's standing.

Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy 54th birthday dear ....

Difficult one!

This is a paid advert. He wants to swap his shirt with ......

You have a double. Mine's a ..... Graham Shedden


Andy Cameron and Sandy Christie. It's a serious business.

You'll never get it.

This photo of a Canadian curler who has an uncanny resemblence to Andrew Craigie could well be today's caption competition.

Graeme Copland

Could this be one?

Neil Joss

Kay Gibb.

Pics by Bob

Friday, March 27, 2009

Update from Korea, and a new title sponsor for the World Championships

China finished top of the table after the round robin at the Mount Titlis World Woman's Curling Championship in Gangneung, Korea. Bingyu Wang's side lost only one of their eleven games and now face Angelina Jensen's Denmark, with a 9-2 win-loss record, in the Page 1 v 2 game. Canada's current world champs, skipped by Jennifer Jones (also 9-2), meet Sweden's Anette Norberg (7-4) in the Page 3 v 4 game.

Scotland finished in seventh place, equal with Russia, winning five and losing six of their games. Eve Muirhead and her team finished ahead of the USA, Korea, Norway and Italy. You can find all the results and stats here. And you can catch up on Mike Haggerty's reports on the Royal Club website here. And GB are safely in the Olympic lineup, see here.

Here are four pics from our blogally Hugh Stewart to give you a taste of Gangneung.

This is the Scottish team. L-R Eve Muirhead, Karen Addison, Rachael Simms, Anne Laird, Jackie Lockhart and Isobel Hannen.

Sorry no sound. I would have enjoyed these Korean drums. If you are interested, there are lots of examples of Korean drumming on YouTube, for example here for a traditional sound, and here for a contemporary take on it! My personal preference is for Japanese Taiko, for example here.

That's Jackie Lockhart on the left, setting out to sweep Eve Muirhead's stone, with Anne Laird. Now the important thing to take from this pic is on the scoreboard behind. Capital One is a 'presenting sponsor' in Korea, but from 2010 will be the title sponsor of both the men's and women's world events. Roll on the Capital One World Women's Curling Championship and the Capital One World Men's Curling Championship. See the press release here.

And here's one for the family album. At the back are Kathleen and Robbie Scot. And recruiting new members of the Tartan Army are Ladies' Branch President Sheila Miller and Treasurer Sadie Anderson.

Thanks to Hugh Stewart for these.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Scottish Mixed Championship

This weekend, eighteen teams will contest the Scottish Mixed Curling Championship at Curl Aberdeen. The draw is here. There are three sections, one of eight, from which four teams will qualify for Sunday's quarterfinals, and two of five teams, each of which will supply two teams for the quarters.

Alan Smith is the defending champion and he will be on the ice with his team tomorrow (Friday) at 3.30 against Ron Brewster.

But 'the story' is not really about the Scottish event, or how enjoyable this will be. It is about the fact that, as it stands at present, the winners this weekend are going nowhere! At the closing ceremony of the 2008 European Mixed Championship in Kitzbuehel last September, there was no announcement of where the 2009 event is to be held! And silence has reigned since.

I've heard that the preferred site is Prague, in the Czech Republic, and that would be an ideal venue. I was fortunate in being able to visit the rink (if indeed it is the four-sheet rink that is being considered) with my club, Reform, in October 2007 (see here), and enjoyed the experience very much, despite the airline losing my suitcase on the way! We had a great time and were made very welcome.

So what's the problem? The Euro Mixed is run by the European Curling Federation. They ask for a sizeable 'rights fee' from the hosting venue. Could the amount of this have been a sticking point in the negotiations? I wonder. Prague's main man, Karel Kubeshka, said last week, "EMCC 2009 is still under negotiations but we expect the final decision during next week and then everything will be announced."

And Jeanette Johnston, the Royal Club Board member who is member-at-large on the ECF executive (having been defeated in the election for the Vice-presidency of the organisation at the meetings in O'Vik in December), is confident that Prague will be the venue.

I've been keeping my eyes on the ECF website in anticipation of an announcement! And when will EMCC09 be? Next September? October? Whoever wins at Aberdeen this weekend may need to be flexible!

Top: The EMCC banner. What venue will be added this year?

Above: Inside the Prague four-sheet rink eighteen months ago. Below: The outside of the facility. Pics by Bob.