Greenacres Junior International: Teams Whyte and Aitken triumph

The first Asham Under-21 Slam event of the season brought success for two Royal Caledonian Curling Club Academy sides, Teams Whyte (in the men’s competition) and Aitken (women’s).

The event, held at Greenacres Curling Rink, Howwood, involved nine men’s teams, split into two pools, and six women’s teams – a round robin format being followed by semi finals and finals.

Team Barr (Grant Barr, Kerr Sands, George McConnell and Thomas Halder) topped Group A with three wins and a tie.

They were joined in qualifying for the semi finals by Team Brydone (Robin Brydone, Callum Kinnear, Callum Greenwood, Craig Waddell), who had a record of won three, lost one.

The qualifiers from Group B were Team Whyte (Ross Whyte, James Baird, Gavin Barr, Euan Kyle, David Baird), on three wins from three, and Team Carson (Luke Carson, George Ballantyne, James Craig, Mark Taylor), on two wins and one loss.

The women’s group was headed up by Team Aitken (Karina Aitken, Amy MacDonald, Sophie Sinclair, Laura Barr), who won four and drew one of their round robin games, followed by Team Murray (Rebecca Morrison, Hailey Duff, Mili Smith – and, with Katie Murray being at the World Mixed Curling Championship in Switzerland, Mairi MacDonald), on four wins and one loss.

Also making the last four were Team Bryce (this weekend being skipped by Lauren Morgan, with Leeanne McKenzie, Jenni Cannon, Becca Baird), on won three and lost two, and Team Young (Lesley Young, Beth Dandie, Kathryn Spain, Jane Barr), who won two, lost two and drew one.

The men’s semi finals pitted Team Barr against Team Carson, and it was Carson who triumphed, scoring five in end five on their way to a 9-3 victory.

The other semi was between Teams Brydone and Whyte, and again the Group B side came out on top, but it was much closer.

Despite a score of four by Whyte in end seven, the game was level at 5-5 after eight – in the extra end, Whyte took one to win the match 6-5.

The women’s semi finals saw wins for Team Aitken over Team Young (7-6, largely thanks to steals in ends five, six and seven) and Team Bryce against Team Murray (10-9, with a stolen point in an extra end).

Team Whyte had only just beaten Team Carson (8-7) in the group stage, but they had a firm grip on their encounter in the men’s final after four ends, leading 4-1.

That was too big a gap to be bridged, and it was Whyte who claimed the tournament win with a result of 6-4.

The women’s final, by contrast, went to an extra end as Teams Aitken and Bryce could not be separated at 6-6 after eight.

Team Aitken needed to steal for victory and they did just that, coming through 7-6.

Team Barr won the men’s third place match 6-4, and Team Murray claimed the women’s 3/4 by a score of 5-4.

The next Under-21 Slam (four events designed as a performance pathway for junior curlers, with tournament experience and competing for prize money) is the Kinross Junior Classic on October 2-4.

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