Weekend round-up: Titles for Team Muirhead and Aitken/Mouat

Team Muirhead
Perth Ladies International winners – Eve Muirhead, Vicki Adams, Sarah Reid and Mairi Milne (photo: Tom J Brydone (facebook.com/brydoneimages))

There was Scottish success in two different curling disciplines this weekend, as Team Muirhead triumphed on home turf in the Perth Ladies International and Gina Aitken/Bruce Mouat won the Latvian Mixed Doubles Curling Cup II.

Muirhead’s victory was all the more special given their efforts in kick-starting the event (which gained greater exposure through live coverage on BBC Alba), and that they achieved it without Anna Sloan, who picked up an injury on the eve of the tournament.

Then there is the small matter of the start of the World Men’s Curling Championship, where Scotland are represented by Team Brewster…

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It’s Basel where we start – Scotland (Tom Brewster, Glen Muirhead, Ross Paterson, Hammy McMillan, Scott Andrews (alternate)) began World Men’s like a house on fire but at the time of writing they sit W2 L2.

They scored twos in ends two and five, stole three in end six and finished with a two in end nine to beat Korea 9-3, before overcoming Norway with two in end three and steals of one in ends seven and eight for a 6-3 win.

But they then lost 9-6 to Russia (four in end four and three in end six proving fatal) and, despite a four in end seven, gave up a steal of one in end 10 to lose 6-5 to Japan.

It’s a rut they need to get out of, and the fightback starts against Canada (!) at 1pm today – a game you can watch live here.

All scores throughout the tournament here, plus updates on the Roaring Game Blog Facebook and Twitter.

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The City of Perth Ladies International attracted teams from Canada, England, Germany, Japan, Norway, Russia, Sweden and Switzerland, as well as seven Scottish rinks.

Tirinzoni
Silvana Tirinzoni delivers (photo: Tom J Brydone)

That reflected the pulling power of Team Muirhead internationally, as did the impressive list of event/team sponsors and the live coverage by BBC Alba and the Curling Champions Tour on YouTube.

The competition started with four sections of five teams, with Section A won by Team Hasselborg of Sweden ahead of Team Sweeting of Canada.

Sweeting only narrowly edged Team Fowler of England to second spot, winning their head-to-head 6-5 after an extra end.

Muirhead – without third Anna Sloan due to a knee injury, so Chelsea Duncan and then Mairi Milne subbed in, pushing Sarah Reid to second and Vicki Adams to third – headed Section B with four wins from four, ahead of Team Ogasawara of Japan.

Team Tirinzoni of Switzerland won all their round robin games to top Section C; Teams Barbezat (Switzerland) and Fleury (Canada) both finished W2 L2 – Fleury winning the tiebreaker 7-5.

And Section D saw Team Pätz of Switzerland qualify for the quarter-finals with four wins, followed by Team Driendl of Germany.

Come the last eight, Muirhead and Tirinzoni continued their impressive runs by beating Fleury (7-4) and Sweeting (4-3) respectively, but the other two group winners went out – Hasselborg lost 6-4 to Driendl and Pätz were shocked 7-1 by Ogasawara.

In the semi-finals, Muirhead scored threes in ends one and three, then stole two in end seven, to beat Driendl 9-5, while Tirinzoni overcame Ogasawara 10-2 (four in end one, three in end two and two in end four).

The final was a predictably tight affair, both teams missing opportunities for twos at various points. But Muirhead controlled the scoring in the even ends, took a two in end four and sealed the one needed to win the game 5-4 and the title.

For more photos from the event, check out Brydone Images’ gallery here.

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There was also a title win for Scots abroad – after Judith and Lee McCleary came third in the Latvian Mixed Doubles Curling Cup I last weekend, Gina Aitken and Bruce Mouat took part in Latvian Mixed Doubles Curling Cup II.

Aitken/Mouat beat Huembelin/Gubler of Switzerland 12-3, then Trubačs-Boginska/Purmalis of Latvia 11-1.

In round three, they lost 7-6 to Bryzgalova/Krushelnitskiy of Russia, but bounced back in rounds four and five to defeat Wang/Ba (China) 8-6 and Yu/Xu (also China) 7-3.

That set up a rematch with the Russian pair who’d beaten them previously, but this time Aitken/Mouat scored two in end two, then stole one in end three, four in end four and another one in end five to win 8-2!

aitken,mouat
Bruce Mouat and Gina Aitken (photo: facebook.com/LatvianMixedDoublesCurlingCup)

The win sets Aitken and Mouat up nicely for the World Mixed Doubles later this month.

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One of the teams Aitken/Mouat will face at Worlds in Karlstad will be Canada – represented by Jocelyn Peterman and Brett Gallant.

Thirty-six teams battled it out in the Canadian Mixed Doubles Championship in Saskatoon this weekend, with Peterman/Gallant overcoming Laura Crocker/Geoff Walker 12-8 in the final.

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Finally, several further events took place in Scotland over the weekend.

The National Virtual Club Challenge (involving RCCC ‘virtual clubs’ whose members are in their first two years of curling) took place in Braehead, involving 28 teams.

The final was contested by Stirling 1 and Forfar – Stirling (Norman Ainslie, John Glass, Iona Paterson, Bob Sherrard, Laura Lee) winning 5-0 – while third spot went to Dundee 2, who won 4-3 against Braehead 2 after an extra end.

And the Scottish Student Sport Curling Championships were held in Stranraer, with 16 teams taking part from Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Heriot Watt, Stirling and Strathclyde universities, plus a rink of graduates.

The high road final was won by Strathclyde 2 (Stuart Taylor, Robin McCall, Gavin Barr, Jayne Stirling), 8-1 against the graduates, while Edinburgh 5 (Andrew Johnston, Eilidh Yeats, Szymon Sacher, Rosie Duckworth) beat Glasgow 2 in the low road final, 5-4.

sss
High road winners, Strathclyde 2 (photo: Jayne Stirling)

 

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Switzerland win World Women’s, Team Murdoch take Aberdeen title

flims gold
Switzerland celebrate World Women’s gold (photo: World Curling Federation – twitter.com/worldcurling/status/714237677248204800)

Switzerland won their fourth World Women’s Curling Championship title in five years, Binia Feltscher’s rink defeating Japan in the final in Swift Current, Canada.

Russia saw off Canada for bronze, with Scotland’s Team Muirhead having narrowly missed out on the playoff places after losing their final three round robin games.

Meanwhile, Team Murdoch beat Team Brewster to claim the inaugural Aberdeen International Curling Championship, and Judith and Lee McCleary came third at the Latvian Mixed Doubles Curling Cup.

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The World Women’s Curling Championship came to its conclusion this weekend, but unfortunately for Scotland, they were not in contention for medals.

Having started slowly with a 5-3 loss to Sweden, the Scots (Eve Muirhead, Anna Sloan, Vicki Adams, Sarah Reid) reeled off seven straight wins – against Korea (8-6), Germany (10-3), Italy (8-7), the USA (6-5), Denmark (9-3), Finland (6-5) and Russia (7-1).

But their match against Switzerland proved to be as pivotal as it was costly. The Scots were 5-1 up after five ends but the Swiss stole their way back into the contest to take it to an extra end – where Binia Feltscher made a superb in-off to score one and win 7-6.

It was tight at the top of the standings, which meant Scotland had to win one of their last two games to make the playoffs, but both ended in defeat.

Japan romped to a 10-4 victory over Muirhead’s rink, and Canada hammered the final nail into the coffin, scoring three in end six and four in end nine to win 9-4.

Skip Muirhead said afterwards: “It’s hard to take that we’re out but we lost the last three games and at major championships you just can’t do that.

“It’s harsh because I think we played well most of the week. I guess the Swiss game has come back to bite us, but that’s sport.”

In the playoffs, Switzerland scored three in end seven and two in end nine to beat Japan 8-4 in the 1v2 game, before Russia saw off Canada 7-4 in the 3v4 match.

Japan bounced back to defeat Russia 7-5 in the semi-final, scoring two in the extra end – Russia winning bronze (a third in a row for Anna Sidorova’s rink) with a 9-8 win over Canada.

Come the final, Switzerland led 2-1 after five ends, but Japan scored two in end six. Switzerland retook the lead with three in end seven, only for Japan to answer with three of their own in end eight.

The Swiss scored two in end nine, and stole two in end 10 when opposing skip Satsuki Fujisawa’s draw went long out the back – meaning a 9-6 win for Switzerland and yet more gold medals for the country in this competition.

It was Team Feltscher’s (Binia Feltscher, Irene Schori, Franziska Kaufmann, Christine Urech) second Worlds win (having also taken gold in 2014). Schori said: “We are so excited. It’s unbelievable, it’s so great.

“We can’t realise it right now [that this is our second title] – maybe tomorrow, we are so excited, it’s awesome.”

As for Japan, this was their first ever World Women’s medal.

For photos from the event, see the galleries here and here, while there is also a World Curling TV feature on Kelly Schafer, former Scottish Olympian and co-chair of this event.

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Back in Scotland, the first ever Aberdeen International Curling Championship took place, with Team Murdoch (David Murdoch, Greg Drummond, Scott Andrews, Michael Goodfellow) victorious.

The competition involved 20 teams – including rinks from China, Russia, Slovakia and the USA – divided into four sections.

The Red Section saw Teams Brunner (Switzerland) and Ulsrud (Norway) qualifying, Team Smith of Scotland missing out on last stone draw (LSD) after all three rinks finished W3 L1 – but only after coach Viktor Kjäll had stepped back onto the ice as skip!

Teams Kauste (Finland) and Shuster (USA) were the qualifiers from the Blue Section, while Murdoch were joined in making it out of the Yellow Section by fellow Scots Team Mouat (despite skip Bruce Mouat being away).

And the Green Section saw Team Brewster come through with four wins from four, ahead of Team Van Dorp of the Netherlands, who pipped Teams Drozdov (Russia) and Bryce on LSD.

In the quarter-finals, Brunner defeated Shuster 6-3, Ulsrud edged Kauste 6-5, Murdoch beat Van Dorp 9-1 and Brewster were 9-4 winners over Mouat.

Come the last four, Brewster stole in ends seven and eight to beat Ulsrud 5-3, while Murdoch overcame Brunner 7-1.

That set up a rematch of the men’s final at last month’s Scottish Curling Championships, but this time with a different outcome.

Murdoch scored twos in ends one and five, before stealing one in end seven to win 5-1 and take the title.

Check out photos from the event here.

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Finally, Latvian Mixed Doubles Curling Cup 1 took place in Riga.

Scottish pair Judith and Lee McCleary claimed third place, behind Camilla Noreen/Per Noreen of Sweden and runners-up Jenny Perret/Martin Rios (Switzerland).

In Group B, the McClearys defeated Regža/Freidensons of Latvia 9-6, drew 7-7 with Colceriu/Coliban of Romania and beat Molder/Lill of Estonia 12-3.

They then beat Szekeres/Nagy of Hungary 10-4, and edged Perret/Rios 7-6, before losing their final match 5-4 to competition winners the Noreens.

Latvian Mixed Doubles Curling Cup 2 – featuring another Scottish pair, Gina Aitken and Bruce Mouat – takes place from Thursday this week.