Team Hardie win World Mixed title for Scotland

hardie world mixed champs
CHAMPIONS: Scotland’s World Mixed Curling Championship winners (photo: facebook.com/TeamHardie)

Team Hardie delivered the World Mixed Curling Championship 2017 title for Scotland, defeating Canada 8-5 in the final in Switzerland.

It was a superb achievement for the Scots, who also defeated Sweden and the Czech Republic en route to the world crown.

Back in Scotland this weekend, Fraser Kingan and Jayne Stirling were surprise winners of the Scottish Curling Mixed Doubles Championship in Aberdeen.

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Team Hardie (Grant Hardie, Rhiann Macleod, Billy Morton, Barbara McFarlane) were Scotland’s representatives at the World Mixed Curling Championship 2017 in Champéry, Switzerland, as one of 37 teams at the event.

They began with wins over Spain (9-7) and Ireland (9-2), but then lost their third match to Korea, 6-5, after giving up a steal in the eighth end.

Undeterred, the Scots then reeled off four straight wins (beating Denmark 10-4, Luxembourg 9-2, New Zealand 8-2 and Kazakhstan 8-1) to safely progress to the playoffs, where they faced a rematch with Spain in the last 16.

The other British teams at the event had mixed fortunes, with England (Andrew Woolston, Lesley Gregory, Martin Gregory, Kirsty Balfour) winning three and losing three in Group E to place fourth, and their last stone draw of 65.93cm qualified them for the last 16 – where they were edged out 6-5 by Norway.

Ireland (Alan Mitchell, Jacqueline Barr, Ross Barr, Clare McCormick) finished fourth in Group C on a W4 L3 record, only to miss the playoffs on last stone draw, while Wales (Adrian Meikle, Dawn Watson, Andrew Tanner, Laura Beever) came fifth in Group A with three wins and three defeats.

As for Scotland, they beat Spain 4-2 and then faced a quarter-final clash with Team Wranaa of Sweden, one of the favourites, and a fine team performance (with twos in ends one, three and seven) saw them win 7-4.

Now on a roll, Scotland beat the Czech Republic in the last four – 6-2, with twos in ends one, two and four – to set up a final showdown with Canada, skipped by Trevor Bonot.

After forcing the Canadians to one in the first end, Scotland took one in end two, stole two in the third end, and another one in the fourth, to lead 4-1.

Canada did pull it back, with two in end seven and a steal in the eighth, but Scotland kept their cool, making a double takeout to score three in the extra end – their 8-5 win giving them the world crown.

Skip Grant Hardie said: “The whole team played brilliant all week and especially the during the playoffs they came to the fore. I’m absolutely delighted.

“They [Canada] came at us really hard at the end. They’re obviously a great team to get to the final and we just managed to hold on.

“I’d thrown that line, four or five times in the game, so I was pretty confident but obviously with it being for the win you’re always a little on edge.

“I had the line and the guys swept it through to make it. It is absolutely brilliant.”

It’s a fantastic achievement for Team Hardie, who had no coach at the tournament (but plenty of travelling supporters!).

And for the skip, it’s the continuation of a great start to his season – having already won two events with Team Mouat – with plenty more to come.

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With mixed doubles now an Olympic sport, there were Olympians aplenty at the Scottish Curling Mixed Doubles Championship at Curl Aberdeen – Scott Andrews, Tom Brewster, Greg Drummond, Michael Goodfellow and Claire Hamilton all Sochi 2014 participants.

Eighteen teams were split into three sections, with those groups being topped by Bobby Lammie/Rachel Hannen (W3 L2), Bruce Mouat/Gina Aitken (W5 L0) and Fraser Kingan/Jayne Stirling (W4 L1).

With Lammie/Hannen and Kingan/Stirling progressing straight to the semi-finals (on draw shot rankings), the quarters pitted Scott Andrews/Claire Hamilton against Euan Kyle/Naomi Brown and mixed doubles specialists Mouat/Aitken against mixed doubles specialists Judith and Lee McCleary.

Aitken/Mouat have won the last two Scottish Championship titles (four in all), but their 2017 challenge ended with an 8-5 loss to the McClearys, while Kyle/Brown won the other last eight clash 7-5.

Come the semi-finals, Lammie/Hannen beat Kyle/Brown 6-2, and Kingan/Stirling saw off McCleary/McCleary 7-3 (meaning there would be a first-time champion this year).

In the final, Lammie/Hannen got off to a flying start, scoring three in the first end, but singles in the next three ends drew Kingan/Stirling level at 3-3 at halfway.

The momentum was with Kingan/Stirling, and they blew the match open with a huge steal of four in the fifth end.

Although Lammie/Hannen pulled two back in the sixth, a further score of three sealed the win for Kingan/Stirling, 10-5.

Having qualified for the World Mixed Doubles, Stirling said: “I’m still a bit shocked actually, and obviously really, really excited.

“We’re starting to put together our preparations for going to the Worlds.”

Kingan added: “From now until Sweden we’ll be getting loads of practice in, and trying to enter some Mixed Doubles competitions in between times; hopefully that will give us the best chance to do well on a world stage.”

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Finally, the Stevenson Trophy (Under-17 Slam) also took place this weekend, with 20 junior rinks taking part in Lockerbie.

After the round robin stage (five sections of four teams), and a quarter-final between Teams Middleton and Buchanan (won 13-4 by the former), the semi-finals brought wins for Team Craik over Middleton and Team Gallacher over Davie (both 5-4).

Craik (Angus Bryce, Matthew McKenzie, Niall Ryder, Ross Craik, Laura Watt) took the title, scoring three in end three and twos in the fifth and sixth ends to win 9-5 in the final against Gallacher.

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