Team Morton win Scottish Mixed Championship

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DELIGHT: Scotland’s World Wheelchair bronze medallists (pic: twitter.com/rccccurling)

After the intensity of the Scottish Championships, there are fewer major competitions taking place as the focus switches towards Worlds – but there have been several headline makers nonetheless.

Team Morton claimed the Scottish Curling Mixed Championship, the Scottish Schools title went to Perth, and Scotland’s wheelchair curlers came away from Worlds with bronze medals – a fantastic achievement.

And we now know which rink will be flying the flag for Canada at the World Men’s Championship in Edmonton, as Team Gushue won the Brier in St John’s, Newfoundland.

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The Scottish Mixed Championship was held this weekend at Curl Aberdeen (also hosting the Aberdeen International, a Curling Champions Tour event, in a few days’ time), with eight teams – two male players, two female – involved.

Section A was topped by Team Waddell (Craig Waddell, Mili Smith, Cammy Smith, Sophie Sinclair), who won all of their round robin games – against Morton 5-4, Taylor 6-3 and Penny 5-2.

Team Morton (Grant Hardie, Rhiann MacLeod, Billy Morton, Barbara MacFarlane) won two out of three though – beating Penny 7-2 and Taylor 5-2 – to also make the semi-finals.

Section B involved the holders, Team Bryce (Cameron Bryce, Katie Murray, Bobby Lammie, Sophie Jackson), and they made the last four with a W2 L1 record, defeating Brydone 8-5 and Aitken 7-6, before losing 10-5 to Macleod.

It was Team Macleod (Scott Macleod, Layla Al-Saffar, Fraser Kingan, Tamzin Smith) who finished first in that group, also on a W2 L1 record – having lost 5-4 to Aitken but winning 5-4 over Brydone.

Come the knockouts, both the Section A teams triumphed – Waddell scoring three in end one, two in end four and stealing one in end seven to win 7-5 and end Bryce’s reign as mixed champions.

As for the other semi-final, Morton stole singles in ends three and six as they edged out Macleod 4-2.

Another Morton steal got them off to the ideal start in the final, though Waddell grabbed two in end three and forced Morton to one in end four.

Successive steals of one in ends five and six for Morton ultimately proved decisive, as Waddell could not recover the two-point deficit – meaning Team Morton were crowned Scottish champions!

That qualifies them for the World Mixed Curling Championship 2017, held in Champery, Switzerland, in October.

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Also this weekend, the Scottish Schools Curling Championship took place in Braehead, with 24 teams that included many of Scotland’s up-and-coming curlers, divided into four sections.

The quarter-finals saw wins for Kelso High School, Lockerbie Academy, Perth High School and Stranraer Academy, before Lockerbie defeated Kelso 6-4 and Perth saw off Stranraer 4-1 in the semi-finals.

In the final it was Perth (Duncan McFadzean, Leeanne McKenzie, Matthew McKenzie, Cameron Paterson) who came out victorious, stealing two in end three and one in end four, adding another two in end six, to win 6-4 and take the title.

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Scotland’s wheelchair curlers, having only recently gained promotion to the main World Championship, put together an excellent run in Gangneung, South Korea, to come away with a medal.

The rink of Aileen Neilson (skip), Gregor Ewan, Hugh Nibloe, Robert McPherson, Angie Malone (alternate) and Sheila Swan (coach) finished the round robin with a W6 L3 record, putting them into the 1v2 playoff with Russia, which they lost 4-2.

They were then defeated 7-3 by Norway in the semi-final, but bounced back to win the bronze medals, beating China 9-5 thanks to three in end seven and a steal of two in end 10.

Skip Aileen Neilson said: “It’s a bit surreal to be honest. Having come off from losing in the 1v2 game to Russia, and then to Norway [in semi-final] we knew we had to come back out here and fight.

“We stuck together and we didn’t let it go until the very last stone was thrown.

“We have gained so much experience in having come back from the qualifiers to come back and medal.

“It’s just fantastic. I’m really, really pleased.”

Norway won gold, overcoming Russia 8-3 in the final.

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And at the Brier, Canada’s national men’s championship, it was a joyful homecoming for Team Gushue in St John’s, Newfoundland.

Backed by a passionate crowd, the Gushue rink (Brad Gushue, Mark Nichols, Brett Gallant, Geoff Walker) overcame Manitoba (McEwen) in the 1v2 playoff by a 7-5 scoreline, then faced Team Canada (K Koe) in the final.

Gushue made a fast start, going 5-1 up after five ends, but Koe scored three in end six and stole one in end seven to level it up.

Gushue, though, kept his composure to take his ones in ends eight and 10, which meant a 7-6 victory and passage to the World Men’s Championship, to face Team Murdoch of Scotland and the other big hitters of the global game.

 

Team Mouat win World Juniors gold

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Team Mouat celebrate World Juniors gold (photo: Tom Brydone (facebook.com/brydoneimages))

Scotland’s Team Mouat won men’s gold at the World Junior Curling Championships in Denmark, defeating the USA in the final.

By contrast, it was a chastening week for Scotland women, as they lost seven games and were relegated to the B-Division for next season.

In Canada, Team Kevin Koe claimed the Brier title and will represent their country at the World Men’s Curling Championship in Switzerland.

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At the World Juniors in Copenhagen, Team Mouat (Bruce Mouat, Bobby Lammie, Gregor Cannon, Angus Dowell, Robin Brydone (alternate)) shook off an uneven start – beating Norway 7-4 but then losing 7-6 to the USA after an extra end – by reeling off five straight round robin wins.

They scored three in end nine and stole three in end 10 to overcome Canada 10-7, before beating Turkey 13-4, Sweden 9-2, Korea 10-3 and Russia 10-2.

Despite a 10-4 loss to Switzerland (third Bobby Lammie feeling unwell and unable to sweep), they finished their round robin with an 8-2 win over Denmark that proved enough to make it into the 1v2 page playoff game.

There, they scored two in end seven and three in end 10 to beat the USA 7-5, skip Bruce Mouat drawing the port for the winning shot.

Korey Dropkin’s US side won their semi-final against Switzerland (who then lost the bronze medal match to Canada) to set up a third match of the week against the Scots.

In the final, Scotland blanked the first end and in the second Mouat drew for a 2-0 lead. The US were forced to one in end three, before Mouat hit for two and a 4-1 lead in the fourth.

The sides then traded ones, so Scotland held a 6-3 lead and hammer into end 10, where they ran the US out of stones to win 6-4 and claim gold!

Skip Mouat said afterwards: “It was a really good and close final. My guys knew what they had to do today and because of that we were able to control things.

“The team has been awesome all week and I am really chuffed for the guys. I feel we really deserve this.

“We knew it was our last chance as a team to win the title. We had the same vision and same goal before the start of this week and we agreed we wouldn’t settle for anything less than gold.

“That added to the pressure and it has been a roller-coaster of a week; we had a few missed shots in some of the games as well as a bit of illness in the team to contend with, including today as Bobby still wasn’t feeling 100% in the final.

“But we had a great fifth man in Robin. He is exactly what you need from a fifth player and he got to play in one game, so he played his part in all of this.”

Unfortunately it was a very different week for Scotland women (Sophie Jackson, Naomi Brown, Rachael Halliday, Rachel Hannen, Katie Murray (alternate)), despite them winning their opening game 6-4 against Japan.

The team then suffered defeats against Hungary (10-6), Korea (6-5), Sweden (7-6), the USA (8-4) and Russia (5-2), before finally coming out on top in a close match, scoring three in end eight to beat Turkey 7-6.

However, further defeats to Switzerland (11-4) and Canada (6-2) meant they finished the round robin with a W2 L7 record – and so Scotland women will play in the Junior B-Division next season.

Canada won women’s gold, beating the USA 7-4 in the final, while Korea won bronze by defeating Hungary 8-4.

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The Canadian men’s championship, the Brier, took place in Ottawa over the last week and saw Northern Ontario (Jacobs) finish the round robin with a perfect record of 11 wins and no losses.

They qualified for the 1v2 page playoff along with Newfoundland and Labrador (Gushue) (W9 L2), while Alberta (Kevin Koe) and Manitoba (McEwen) both held W8 L3 records to make it into the 3v4 game.

Before the playoffs, there was time for Craig Savill – who has been battling Hodgkin’s Lymphoma – to return to the ice and deliver a perfect guard for Ontario. There were few dry eyes in the arena.

Gushue’s rink came back from 4-1 down to win the 1v2 match 7-6 after an extra end, and Koe’s Alberta team won the 3v4 playoff 7-5.

In the semi-final, Alberta overcame Northern Ontario (despite this extraordinary shot from Ryan Fry, below) 6-5 with a two in end 10 – Northern Ontario went on to win bronze, beating Manitoba 7-6 after an extra end.

The final pitted Newfoundland and Labrador against Alberta – the latter started with two steals and scored two in end four, leading 4-2 at halfway.

Gushue’s team stole in end six to claw their way back to 4-3, but Koe made a pick to score three in seven – and Gushue conceded at 9-5 after nine.

So Alberta (Kevin Koe, Mark Kennedy, Brent Laing, Ben Hebert) capped a phenomenal hat-trick for the province at national championships (Team Carey having won the Scotties and Lizmore the Mixed) and they will line up at the World Men’s in April alongside Scotland’s Team Brewster and co.

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In other events this weekend, the Fleming Trophy was played at Fenton’s rink in Kent.

Anna Fowler and Lauren Pearce (from the England women’s team at the 2015 European Championships) were joined by Lucy Sparks and Sara Jahodova – they won their way through to the final and there they took the victory 6-0.

And in South Korea, the Uiseong Masters took place – involving 10 women’s teams from Canada, Japan, Switzerland and the USA, as well as the host country.

The final was contested between Team Rocque of Canada and Team Tirinzoni of Switzerland – Rocque winning 5-1.

Tough start for Scottish junior teams at Worlds

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Team Jackson: The Scottish women’s rink at the World Juniors in Denmark

Scotland’s men’s and women’s teams have both won one and lost one at the start of the World Junior Curling Championships 2016 in Copenhagen, Denmark.

The teams, skipped by Bruce Mouat and Sophie Jackson, began the round robin stage with victories, but then suffered defeat in their second matches.

Meanwhile, there were several competitions taking place across Scotland, and the Brier championship is underway in Canada.

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The World Juniors involves 10 men’s and 10 women’s teams, with a round robin stage ahead of page playoffs, semi-finals and finals.

Scotland’s men’s and women’s teams have, at the time of writing, won one and lost one so far.

Scotland men (Bruce Mouat, Bobby Lammie, Gregor Cannon, Angus Dowell, Robin Brydone (alternate)) got their campaign underway with a 7-4 victory over Norway – scoring twos in ends one and seven, and stealing one in end five.

But they lost their second game 7-6 after an extra end to the USA, giving up a 4-1 lead after four ends and being forced to one in end 10.

As for the women (Sophie Jackson, Naomi Brown, Rachael Halliday, Rachel Hannen, Katie Murray (alternate)), they got started with a win over Japan – they scored twos in ends three and six, and stole singles in ends seven and eight, to take the game 6-4.

Against Hungary, however, they were unable to build on that opening win – falling 4-0 behind after two ends and dropping short of a comeback, a steal of two in end nine giving the Hungarians a historic first win at this level by a 10-6 scoreline.

Scotland men have a tough task up next, versus Canada (a match that will be televised live online here), while for the women the next game is against Korea.

Follow linescores throughout the tournament here.

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There have been a number of events in Scotland over the weekend too, including the Rink Championship in Forfar.

This competition saw teams representing their home ice rinks, with four sections of six teams involved.

Perth and Aberdeen 1 qualified from Section A, Stirling and Ayr 2 made it out of Section B, Forfar 4 and Murrayfield 1 came from Section C, and Section D saw Braehead 1 and Kinross 2 go into the quarter-finals.

There, Perth 1 beat Ayr 2 5-2, Aberdeen 1 defeated Stirling 6-5, Kinross 2 saw off Forfar 4 6-4, and Braehead 1 beat Murrayfield 1 7-0.

In the last four, Kinross 2 won 6-5 against Perth, and Aberdeen 1 defeated Braehead 1 8-2.

Aberdeen 1 (David Edwards, Ian Grigor, Rhiann Macleod, Craig McNaughton) then became champions, 8-5 victors over Kinross 2 in the final.

In addition, the third and final Asham Under-14 Slam of the season took place in Perth on Saturday, with Team Gallagher winning the final 5-1 against Team MacIntosh, while Team Sellar won the Scottish Wheelchair Curling Championship in Stirling, beating Team Donaldson 9-3 in the final.

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At the Brier, the Canadian men’s championship, Jamie Koe’s Northwest Territories won through the pre-qualifier to take their place as one of the 12 teams in the main event.

Mike McEwen’s rink lost on their long-awaited Brier debut to Brad Gushue, but it is Teams Jacobs and Simmons (the defending champions) who have made the strongest starts to the round robin.

With each team having played three matches in Ottawa, it is Canada (Simmons) and Northern Ontario (Jacobs) who sit on W3 L0.

But there’s a very strong line-up of teams just behind them, with Alberta (Kevin Koe), Manitoba (McEwen), Newfoundland & Labrador (Gushue) and Ontario (Howard) all on W2 L1.

Prince Edward Island (Casey) and Northwest Territories (Jamie Koe) are the two teams yet to pick up a win.

Round robin games run through to this Friday, with page playoffs on Saturday and the final on Sunday.