Edinburgh International: Team Smith win European Championship warm-up

Team Smith finished top of a strong field at the latest Goldline Scottish Curling Tour event, defeating Team Van Dorp in the final of the Edinburgh International to claim the title.

The event saw 24 teams divided into four sections, the top two from each group going into the quarter finals.

Section A featured Scottish European Playdowns runners-up Team Brewster (Tom Brewster, Glen Muirhead, Ross Paterson, Hammy McMillan), as well as fellow Scots Team McLeod (Scott MacLeod, Colin Howden, Derrick Sloan, Ross Fraser), plus Teams Biedermann, Pougher, Rantamäki and Sik.

Brewster topped the group with a 100 per cent record, beating Sik 6-2, Pougher 9-2, Rantamäki 6-5, MacLeod 7-1 and Biedermann 7-1.

They were joined in the playoffs by MacLeod, who defeated Pougher 5-3, Biedermann 6-4, Sik 6-5 and Rantamäki 6-3.

In Section B were Scottish rinks Team Bryce (Cameron Bryce, Zack Stewart, Fraser Kingan, Frazer Shaw) and Team Smith (Kyle Smith, Thomas Muirhead, Kyle Waddell, Cammy Smith), plus Teams Gulbis, Kiiskinen, Schulze and Van Dorp.

Van Dorp (Jaap Van Dorp, Wouter Gosgens, Laurens Hoekman, Carlo Glasbergen, Joey Bruinsma) topped the section by beating Smith 5-4 in the first match, and then beat Kiiskinen 6-5, lost to Bryce 5-4, defeated Schulze 8-4 and won 6-3 over Gulbis.

Smith recovered from their opening loss to see off Gulbis 4-1, Kiiskinen 7-1, Bryce 5-2 and Schulze 5-1 to qualify alongside the Dutch rink, ahead of Bryce in third.

Taking part in Section C were Teams Mouat (Bruce Mouat, Bobby Lammie, Gregor Cannon, Angus Dowell) and Shaw (Graham Shaw, Brian Binnie, Graham Cormack, Rob Niven), along with Teams Attinger, Baumann, Kauste (the 2014 winner) and Nagy from overseas.

But the Scots could only finish third and fifth in the group, as Kauste and Attinger qualified, both with four wins from five.

Reigning Scottish champions Team MacDonald were in Section D, along with compatriots Team Combe (Moray Combe, Sandy Christie, Neil Sands, Gary Rutherford), plus Teams Eskilsson, Jasieki, Ruch and Stjerne.

MacDonald’s rink were skipped by David Edwards in Edinburgh, John Penny joining Edwards, Ruairidh Greenwood and Euan Byers in place of the injured Ewan MacDonald – and they came first in the section as they beat Stjerne 10-7, Jasieki 10-4, Ruch 9-4 and Combe 7-4, before a 7-3 defeat to Eskilsson.

Combe edged Eskilsson and Stjerne for second in the group, defeating Jasieki 6-4 and Eskilsson 6-5, losing 6-4 to Stjerne and MacDonald 7-4, then seeing off Ruch 8-3.

The quarter finals pitted Brewster and Smith together in a repeat of the European Playdowns final. Again, Smith came out on top, stealing three in end five and scoring two in end seven on their way to a 6-1 win.

MacDonald saw off Attinger 7-2, also stealing three in end five, while Finnish side Kauste eased to a 7-0 win over Combe.

The closest last eight clash was between MacLeod and Van Dorp – the Dutch team led 2-0 after four ends, MacLeod pulled it back to 2-2 after seven, but Van Dorp then scored the one required to win in end eight.

In the semi finals, Smith scored four in end three and two in end six to beat Kauste 7-4, while a three in end five and two in end eight saw Van Dorp past MacDonald 5-4.

So Smith and Van Dorp met in the final – two teams who will be playing each other again at the European Championships in Esbjerg.

Smith had the better start, scoring twos in ends two and four for a 4-2 lead at halfway. A three in end six then proved decisive, the Scots taking the match and the title 8-5.

After a disappointing pool stage exit at the Champery Masters, this was a return to form for Team Smith, an encouraging sign ahead of their trip to Esbjerg.

See photos from the event on the Scottish Curling Tour Facebook group, courtesy of Jayne Stirling Photography.

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