Weekend round-up: Scottish success in Karlstad

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Senior women’s world champions – Team Scotland (photo: World Curling Federation/Celine Stucki)

The Scottish teams in Karlstad, Sweden, for the World Mixed Doubles and World Senior Curling Championships made quite an impact on the global stage.

The senior women’s team skipped by Jackie Lockhart won gold, while mixed doubles pairing Gina Aitken and Bruce Mouat pulled off some shocks on their way to a fourth place finish.

Meanwhile, at the European Masters in St Gallen, Switzerland, Team Murdoch won the men’s competition and Team Muirhead were runners-up in the women’s.

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At the World Mixed Doubles, Scotland (Gina Aitken and Bruce Mouat) were in a tough group (three of the top six teams in the final standings appearing in it) but got off to a brilliant start by beating Russia 9-8, scoring two in end eight and stealing one in the extra end.

They crashed back down to earth with a bump, losing 8-2 to the Czech Republic, and although they defeated Wales 8-4 and Qatar 19-0, they were W3 L2 and just clinging onto their playoff hopes after being beaten 9-7 by Estonia.

But they secured a tiebreaker by beating Brazil 12-2, which set up a rematch with the Czechs – this time Scotland emerged as winner, Aitken making a superb runback in the extra end to win 6-5.

Wales (Dawn Watson and Adrian Meikle) were W1 L5 in Group F, their victory coming against Qatar, 13-2.

England (Anna and Ben Fowler) qualified in second from Group C, having beaten Romania 9-2, Luxembourg 11-2 and Kazakhstan 9-2, losing 9-4 to Norway, then defeating Japan 10-2 and Turkey 8-2.

And Ireland (Alison and Neil Fyfe) made it out of Group D, but they did it the hard way, finishing W3 L3 and needing to beat Italy in the tiebreaker, which they did 8-7, and then Turkey in a final qualifying game to make the 1/8 finals (won 7-5 after an extra end).

In the last 16, Scotland faced a formidable opponent in the shape of reigning champions Hungary. They were 4-2 down after four ends but fought back and played an exceptional eighth end to steal one and win 6-5.

England scored twos in ends two, three and five as they overcame Korea 7-5, but Ireland gave up a five in end seven to lose 10-5 to Finland.

The Irish pair did beat Hungary 10-8 in the B event quarter-finals though, guaranteeing Ireland Olympic points for 2018, before rounding off their competition with losses to Slovakia (12-2) and Austria (9-6) to place 12th overall.

Come the quarter-finals, Scotland played Canada – they stole one in end four, scored two in end six and took their one in end eight to win 6-5.

England found themselves 7-0 down after three ends against the USA and despite scoring four in end four they lost out 12-6, bringing an end to their excellent run. Defeats to Estonia (10-8) and Finland (6-3) in the ranking games put them in a very commendable eighth place for the competition.

Scotland started their semi-final against China well, scoring three in end two, but China got two in end three and then steals of one in ends four to seven, meaning Scotland’s two in end eight was not enough – the Chinese winning 7-5.

They just missed out on a medal too – losing the bronze medal game 9-7 to the USA – but that should not take away from what was a fantastic run for Aitken and Mouat, who have hoovered up plenty of Olympic qualifying points for GB looking ahead to 2018.

Gold went to Russia (Anastasia Bryzgalova and Alexander Krushelnitskiy), who defeated China 7-5 to triumph.

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Taking place in Karlstad at the same time as the World Mixed Doubles, the World Senior Curling Championships saw Scotland women go undefeated on their road to gold.

The team (Jackie Lockhart, Christine Cannon, Isobel Hannen, Margaret Richardson, Margaret Robertson (alternate)) were W7 L0 in their pool – beating Italy 9-1, Switzerland 8-1, New Zealand 8-1, Austria 8-1, Russia 10-3, Germany 6-5 (after an extra end) and the USA 6-5.

Scotland men (Gordon Muirhead, Norman Brown, David Hay, Hugh Aitken) also qualified from their pool, with wins over the Czech Republic (7-4), Latvia (7-2), Russia (11-4), Germany (7-2), Belgium (13-2), Wales (9-5) and Switzerland (6-1), and one loss to the USA (7-6 after an extra end).

England men just missed out on the playoff places, finishing W5 L3 in their pool, while Wales men had a W3 L5 record.

Sadly the quarter-finals proved the limit for Muirhead’s rink, losing out 4-3 to Canada (who won silver, as Sweden took gold and Ireland the bronze).

No such problems for Lockhart’s women though. Topping their group meant they went straight into the semi-finals, where they overcame Sweden 8-6 with a two in the extra end – Sweden went on to win bronze with a 10-5 win over England, who had come first in their pool on W8 L0.

The final against Germany was another tight affair – Scotland scored twos in ends four and seven but it went to an extra end, where Lockhart got her one to win 5-4 and claim gold!

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Three Scottish teams took part in the men’s competition at the European Masters in St Gallen, open to the top ranked teams on the Curling Champions Tour this season.

Team Murdoch topped the standings by beating compatriots Team Brewster 5-4, Team Edin 4-1, Team Keller 8-1, Team Van Dorp 7-3, Team Smith 5-4 and Team Zang 7-1 – with only one loss, 6-3 against Team Michel.

Smith had a strong start with wins over Van Dorp (4-1), Zang (6-3) and Michel (6-1) – but losses to Brewster (7-5) and Murdoch rocked them back. They overcame Keller 4-2 but a 7-4 defeat to Edin saw them miss out on making the final – the Swedes going through to face Murdoch instead.

Beginning with three defeats (to Murdoch and then Keller and Edin) meant Tom Brewster’s rink were up against it to make the final, and they couldn’t quite make it despite beating Smith, Van Dorp (4-3), Zang (7-2) and Michel (5-4).

In the final, Murdoch scored three in end five and stole two in end six to overcome Edin 6-3 and take the title. Keller beat Smith 5-3 in the bronze game.

Scotland were represented in the women’s event by Team Muirhead (with Nadine Lehmann of Team Pätz filling in for the injured Anna Sloan).

Muirhead began with two losses – 8-5 to world champions Team Feltscher and 6-5 to Team Sigfridsson – but victories over Teams Wrana (6-4), Driendl (8-3) and Wang (8-4), plus other results going their way – saw them into the final.

They weren’t able to finish the job though – Feltscher scored five in end one and Muirhead couldn’t quite pull it back, the Swiss winning 6-5. Bronze went to Daniela Driendl’s German rink.

The Muirhead rink (again with Lehmann subbing in) join Teams Mouat and Murdoch in competing in the curtain-closer for the season – the Grand Slam of Curling Champions Cup, running from tomorrow until Sunday, May 1.

Weekend round-up: Another Muirhead title!

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Team Muirhead – Scottish Senior champions (photo: Richard Gray)

After Eve and Glen Muirhead won the Scottish women’s and men’s titles respectively last weekend, father Gordon skipped his team to the Scottish senior men’s title in Hamilton.

Jackie Lockhart and her rink won the senior women’s title; both Teams Muirhead and Lockhart will represent Scotland at the World Senior Curling Championships in Karlstad, Sweden, April 15-23.

In other news, Rios/Perret won the Dumfries International Mixed Doubles, and Chelsea Carey led Alberta to a Scotties title and a World Women’s Championship spot.

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The Scottish Curling Senior Championships (again sponsored by Go Coco) were held at the Lanarkshire Ice Rink in Hamilton and saw Team Muirhead (Gordon Muirhead, Norman Brown, David Hay, Hugh Aitken) go in as defending champions.

They finished second in Section B, having beaten Stark 10-3, Stevenson 11-3, Prentice 6-4 and Howat 5-2, before losing 7-5 to Dick.

Dick topped the group ahead of Muirhead and Howat, while Section A saw Teams Horton, Hardie and Adam qualify.

In the quarter-finals, Howat beat Hardie 6-3 and Muirhead saw off Adam 5-3.

The last four saw Howat overcome Dick 5-4, scoring twos in ends four and seven, and Muirhead defeat Horton 4-2 with crucial steals of one in end five and two in end six.

Come the final, Muirhead got off to a fast start, scoring two in end one – and led 2-1 after five.

Howat ensured a tense finish by scoring two in end seven to tie it up at 3-3, but two for Muirhead in end eight meant a 5-3 victory and the retention of their title… and the extension of the Muirhead family’s curling domination.

In the women’s competition, Team Lockhart (Jackie Lockhart, Christine Cannon, Isobel Hannen, Margaret Richardson) came first in Section A, with six wins from six round robin games.

They defeated Johnstone 8-2, Prentice 9-3, Scott 8-2, Kesley 9-3, Waddell 6-4 and MacFarlane 9-3.

Also qualifying from Section A were Teams Prentice and Kesley, while the Gibb, Glennie and Paul rinks made it out of Section B.

The quarter-final stage saw Glennie defeat Kesley 5-4 and Prentice beat Paul 7-4, before semi-final wins for Lockhart (8-2 against Glennie) and Prentice (5-2 versus Gibb).

The final saw a repeat of the round robin result between the teams, Lockhart stealing in ends two and three to lead 4-1 after five, then winning 6-3 after a two in end seven.

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The Dumfries International Mixed Doubles involved 24 teams, including Scottish mixed doubles stalwarts Judith and Lee McCleary, plus Gina Aitken and Bruce Mouat – who will represent Scotland at the World Mixed Doubles Championship in April.

Aitken and Mouat topped Section 1, beating Lill/Turmann of Estonia 7-6, Portunova/Glukhov of Russia 10-3, Noreen/Noreen of Sweden 8-7 and Vyskupaitis/Paulauskaite of Lithuania 12-4, before a 7-6 loss to Fyfe/Fyfe of Ireland.

Section 2 was headed up by Felix Attinger/Ursi Hegner of Switzerland, ahead of Gyorgy Nagy/Szekeres of Hungary, while Swiss pair Martin Rios/Jenny Perret were first in Section 3 – second spot went to Ben and Anna Fowler, ahead of experienced Canadian duo Charley Thomas and Kalynn Park.

The qualifiers from Section 4 were the McClearys (who beat Prytz/Mabergs of Sweden 7-5 and lost 7-3 to Guzieva/Ali of Russia, before defeating compatriots Owen/Sloan 11-3, Garcia/Garcia of Spain 7-4 and Schroder/Polak of Poland 10-3) and Prytz/Mabergs.

In the quarter-finals, McCleary/McCleary won the all-Scottish battle against Aitken/Mouat 7-5 (stealing twos in ends four and five), Attinger/Hegner beat Fowler/Fowler 10-5, Rios/Perret saw off Szekeres/Nagy 8-2, and Prytz/Mabergs defeated Noreen/Noreen in a tight Swedish clash, 6-5.

Come the last four, Attinger/Hegner beat McCleary/McCleary 9-7, scoring four in end four and stealing two in an extra end, and Rios/Perret defeated Prytz/Mabergs 12-7, notably scoring six in end three.

And it was Rios/Perret who won the all-Swiss final, scoring two in end two, three in end five, two in end seven and stealing one in end eight for an 8-6 victory, while Prytz/Mabergs beat McCleary/McCleary 10-8 for third.

Photo galleries from the event here and here.

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The Canadian women’s championship, the Scotties, reached its conclusion last night, with Alberta (Chelsea Carey, Amy Nixon, Jocelyn Peterman, Laine Peters) winning the trophy and the right to represent Canada as hosts in Swift Current, Saskatchewan, next month.

After the round robin, Teams Alberta and Canada (Jones, defending champions) both sat on W9 L2 records, ahead of Teams Manitoba (Einarson) and Northern Ontario (McCarville) on W7 L4.

In the page playoffs, Alberta beat Canada 7-5 in the 1v2 game, and Northern Ontario defeated Manitoba 7-5 in the 3v4 match.

Northern Ontario had come from 5-2 down after seven ends to beat Manitoba, and there was another comeback from them in the semi-final… 5-3 down after seven to 7-5 winners over Jones’ Team Canada – Jones’ rink did claim bronze the next day, getting the win 8-7 versus Manitoba.

The final was tight throughout, the teams exchanging ones then twos to sit tied at 3-3 after five. But crucially Alberta scored two in end eight and forced Northern Ontario to one in nine, meaning Carey had a draw to win it 7-6 – made.

There was a little shock in the Norwegian men’s championship as Team Minera Skifer (Walstad) beat Team Ulsrud 6-5 in the final match, but fans of the pants can relax – Norwegian selection criteria means Ulsrud will be going to the World Men’s Championship anyway.

The Danish women’s championship saw Team Nielsen, fourth at 2015 Europeans, take the glory.

And in Germany… controversy.

Let’s start with the simple part. Team Baumann won four from four to retain their crown and qualify for World Men’s.

The women… messy. Team Schöpp won the championship, also with four wins from four. But it’s Team Driendl, who finished third out of three teams, who will represent Germany at World Women’s.

Driendl receive flak for the financial support they get that Schöpp don’t, and that they’re picked for the major championships regardless of results.

But it’s the German federation’s decision to back Driendl and exclude Schöpp, so criticism should really be heading the organisation’s way, not Driendl’s.

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Finally, the World Wheelchair Curling Championship has been taking place in Lucerne, Switzerland.

Russia won gold, retaining their title, by beating Norway 7-4 in the final, while South Korea defeated their Swiss hosts 6-5 for bronze.