Scotland win bronze at World Mixed Championship

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Bronze medal winners (L-R): Sophie Jackson, Bobby Lammie, Katie Murray, Cameron Bryce (photo: worldcurling.org/wmxcc2016/teams)

Scotland’s young team only lost one match as they claimed bronze at the World Mixed Curling Championship in Kazan, Russia.

They were beaten in the semi-finals by eventual silver medallists Sweden, as the Russian hosts took gold, but recovered to take bronze ahead of Korea.

Elsewhere this weekend, Gina Aitken and Bruce Mouat finished as runners-up at the Austrian Mixed Doubles Cup, and more Scottish curlers competed at home, in Norway and in Canada.

***

There have been two World Mixed Curling Championships, and Cameron Bryce (skip), Katie Murray, Bobby Lammie and Sophie Jackson have represented Scotland at both of them.

Last year in Bern, Switzerland, they exited the competition at the last 16 stage, but they surpassed that achievement by some distance in Kazan.

The Scots kicked off their group stage challenge with an 8-3 win over Italy, and followed that by beating Norway 8-1 and Japan 7-4.

Further victories against Romania (8-4) and Belarus (9-5, with a five in end two!) saw them ease into the knockout stages, and a sixth win from six was secured as they saw off New Zealand 7-2.

Ireland’s foursome finished the competition with a W2 L4 record (beating Brazil 13-4 and Slovakia 6-4), while Wales were W4 L3 for the event, narrowly missing a playoff/tiebreaker place despite defeating Croatia (7-6, after an extra end), Slovenia (8-1), the Netherlands (8-3) and Estonia (6-3).

England were even closer, wins against Brazil (12-1), Ireland (8-5) and Finland (6-4) earning them a tiebreaker against the Finns, only for their opponents to edge it 6-5 and make the playoffs themselves.

Scotland the last British side standing, they took on the USA in the round of 16, the stage at which they’d gone out to Switzerland last season.

No problems this time round, Bryce’s rink scoring three in end two and stealing one in end four for a 4-1 win.

To the quarter-finals then, and a big match with Canada, who like Scotland were yet to lose a game.

Scotland stole two in the first end, but Canada took singles in ends two and three, and the Scots were forced to one in end four for a 3-2 lead at halfway.

Canada took two in end five and they led 5-4 going down the eighth – but Scotland, crucially, held hammer. And they used it to maximum effect, as skip Bryce made a takeout to score two and win the match 6-5.

Sweden were their opponents in the last four, and they proved too much for Scotland to handle. Successive steals in the first three ends saw the Swedes 3-1 up at halfway, and they took two in end five and three in end seven to take the game 8-2 and make the final.

A tough result for Scotland to pick themselves up from, but they had to go again in the bronze medal match with Korea.

There they again found themselves 3-0 down after giving up a steal of one in end one and two in end two, but they fought back with singles in ends three and four.

A crucial steal of two in the fifth end put Scotland ahead for the first time in the game, a lead they carried into the eighth at 5-4.

Korea had hammer down the last, but Scotland had four shot stones ahead of opposing skip Lee Kibok’s final stone – a raise takeout attempt which only cleared one stone, giving the Scots a steal of three, an 8-4 victory and the bronze medals!

In the final, Sweden – runners-up in 2015, beaten by Norway – finished second again, Russia winning gold after a 5-4 extra-end victory.

Reflecting on his team’s bronze medals, Scottish skip Cameron Bryce said: “It’s always good to bounce back after a defeat in the morning. We wanted to make sure we went home to Scotland with a medal. We started off slow so we had to do it the difficult way and steal our way through.

“Bronze is good now, but we were really disappointed this morning. After a couple of days we’ll be really happy with our bronze.”

For photos from the event, check out the WCF Facebook album here.

***

Another Scottish success story came at the CCT Austrian Mixed Doubles Curling Cup in Kitzbühel, as Gina Aitken and Bruce Mouat – who have both been selected in the British curling squad for the next Winter University Games – finished as runners-up.

The Scottish pair eased through the pool stages of the event, beating Zubercova/Gallo of Slovakia 16-3, Reitsma/Genner (Austria) 12-3 and Mayrhans/Kapp (Germany) 8-1.

In the first playoff round, they defeated Fischer/Roth (Austria) 9-3, with two in end three, four in end five and two in end six, to wrap up a semi-final spot.

There they scored twos in ends one and three, stole one in end four and added another three in end seven to overcome Kauste/Rantamaki of Finland 8-3 and make the final.

The final proved a step too far for Aitken/Mouat, up against the Hungarian pair of Ildiko Szekeres and Gyeorgy Nagy.

It was finely poised after the fourth end with the Scots leading 4-3 courtesy of twos in ends two and four, but the Hungarians scored three in end five then took single steals in ends six, seven and eight for a 9-4 victory.

Nevertheless, a positive result for Aitken and Mouat, who continue their mixed doubles progress with the CCT Mixed Doubles Cup Geising next weekend.

***

There were more up-and-coming Scottish teams in action this weekend in events at home and abroad.

The second Asham Under-14 Slam of the season, after the event in Forfar earlier this month, took place in Stranraer.

The four sections were topped by Teams Stewart, Ryder, Stranraer 1 and Stranraer 2.

And so in the high road semi-finals, Stranraer 1 defeated Ryder 4-1 and Stranraer 2 beat Stewart 7-2.

That set up an all-Stranraer final, and it was Stranraer 2 (Robyn Munro, Robbie Lyon, Finlay Aldred, Iona Irving) who triumphed over Stranraer 1 (Matthew McCrone, Kaleb Johnstone, Kerr Lyon, Thomas Hay), scoring three in end one and adding singles in ends three and four to clinch a 5-2 victory, while Ryder defeated Stewart 4-1 for third spot.

In the low road final, it was Forfar winners Team Gallacher (Hamish Gallacher, Scott Hyslop, Jack Strawhorn, Jack Carrick) who came out on top, beating Team Gow 6-1.

Further afield, meanwhile, Teams Baird (David Baird, Fraser Kingan, Robin McCall, Gavin Barr) and Aitken (Karina Aitken, Rebecca Morrison, Hailey Duff, Laura Barr) took part in the EJCT Oslo event in Norway.

Baird started with a 7-1 victory over Team Kringlebotrn, and then saw off Team Studer of Switzerland 9-4.

Two 6-5 defeats to Norwegian rinks followed, to Teams Foss (after an extra end) and Myran, but they then overcame Team Bremanis of Latvia 7-2 for a spot in the quarter-finals.

There their progress ended, Team Nygren of Sweden stealing three in end eight to beat the Scots 8-5.

In the girls’ section of the junior event, Aitken lost 8-5 to Norwegians Team Forbregd but were 8-5 winners themselves in their next match, against Team Bremane of Latvia.

However, two losses against Swedish rinks, Teams Sundberg (4-3) and Westman (6-2), saw them exit on a W1 L3 record.

The boys’ winner at the event were Team Muskatewitz of Germany, beating Myran 6-4 in the final, and on the girls’ side it was Sundberg who triumphed in an all-Swedish final, 8-3 versus Westman.

***

Finally, there were – as ever – an abundance of events taking place in Canada over the weekend, ahead of the first Grand Slam of the season this week.

Team Brewster, having just won the European Playdowns to represent Scotland in Braehead, took part in the Medicine Hat Charity Classic in Alberta.

Brewster’s rink – Tom Brewster, Glen Muirhead, Ross Paterson, Hammy McMillan – couldn’t carry over their form from Perth though, losing to Team Scharback (4-2) and Team Stroh (5-4) to drop to the C-Road.

There they finally picked up a win, beating Team Kleibrink 6-2, then added another – defeating Scharback 9-0, capped by a steal of five in end five – but a 6-1 loss to Team Appelman ended their run a match short of the playoffs.

Team Smith (Hannah Smith, Sarah Reid, Laura Ritchie, Claire Hamilton) also made the trip to Canada, competing in the Canad Inns Women’s Classic in Manitoba alongside some stellar names – Teams Homan, Jones, Sigfridsson and Tirinzoni to name but four.

Their first match was a daunting one, against Stockholm Ladies Cup winners and European Championships qualifiers Team Hasselborg, and the Swedes won 9-1.

Another defeat followed, 7-3 against Team Middaugh, and a 5-2 loss versus Team Barbezat of Switzerland on the C-Road saw their participation finished.

The playoffs for both the Medicine Hat Charity Classic (follow here) and Canad Inns Women’s Classic (here) are being contested later today.

As for the Challenge De Curling De Gatineau in Quebec, it was Team Epping (with ‘super spare’ Craig Savill) who triumphed, overcoming Team Dunstone 4-3 in the final.

One last thing! Back in Europe, Team Edin claimed yet another title in what has been an incredibly fast start to the season for the Swedes, beating Team Pfister 7-5 in the Champery Masters final.

The tournament was televised through World Curling TV, another step forward in their attempts to expand the sport’s reach.

 

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October 2016 curling preview

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Team McEwen, last season’s GSOC Masters men’s winners (photo: Grand Slam of Curling/Anil Mungal (anilmungal.com))

The 2016-17 season has already seen success for the likes of Team Bryce, Team Hardie, Team Jackson and Team Smith in Scotland and overseas, while last weekend Teams Fleming and Murdoch reached the final of Curling Champions Tour events.

October sees plenty more events, including the first Grand Slam of the season and those all-important European Championship Playdowns…

***

Dumfries Open (Scottish Curling Tour)
Dates: October 7-9
Number of teams: 18
Prize money: £2,050
Last year’s winners: Team Hardie (Scotland)
Website: http://scottishcurlingtour.blogspot.co.uk

Team Hardie look to defend their title, and indeed repeat last season’s exploits, where they won both the Braehead Open and Dumfries Open to kick off their curling year in style. Other Scottish teams vying for the title include Team Mouat and Team Taylor, while there is a strong women’s representation through Teams G Aitken and Smith, as well as mixed teams and challengers from England and Wales.

***

Livechannel Cup (European Junior Curling Tour)
Dates: October 7-9
Number of teams: 19 (14 boys’; 5 girls’)
Scottish team: Team Bryce
Prize money: SEK 40,000
Last year’s winners: Team Eremin (Russia); Team Panthera (Sweden)
Website: https://www.facebook.com/EJCTLivechannelCup

Team Bryce fly the flag for Scotland at this European Junior Curling Tour event in Härnösand, Sweden. They’ve had an impressive start to their season, what with wins at the EJCT Braehead International and two Asham U21 Slams. Should Bryce emerge from their pool, the likes of Team Lottenbach (Switzerland) and Team Ramsfjell (Norway) pose threats.

***

Scottish Curling Senior Mixed Championship (Royal Caledonian Curling Club)
Dates: October 7-9
Number of teams: 15
Last year’s winners: Team Dodds
Website: http://competitions.royalcaledoniancurlingclub.org/competitions/scottish-curling-senior-mixed-championship-4

The first RCCC national competition of the season returns to Stranraer, as 15 teams over over-50s (two males and two females in alternate positions) challenge for the honours in a social atmosphere. Trevor Dodds’ rink return to defend their title, as do last season’s runners-up Team Horton, and Team Craig, the winners the year before that.

***

Women’s Masters Basel (Curling Champions Tour)
Dates: October 7-9
Number of teams: 24
Scottish teams: Team Fleming, Team Muirhead
Prize money: CHF 32,000
Last year’s winners: Team Sidorova (Russia)
Website: http://www.womensmasters.ch/english/home

Last season Team Fleming made the quarter-finals at this event in Switzerland, Team Muirhead the semis. Fleming performed superbly last weekend in making the Stockholm Ladies Cup final, while Muirhead made two finals out in Canada in the weeks before that. In this triple knockout competition, Fleming start against Team Schöpp, Muirhead versus Team Maillard. Other rinks to watch out for include those of Silvana Tirinzoni and the on-song Anna Hasselborg. Selected games will be livestreamed here.

***

Forfar (U14 Slam) (Royal Caledonian Curling Club)
Date: October 9
Number of teams: 16
Last year’s winners: Team Bryce
Website: http://competitions.royalcaledoniancurlingclub.org/competitions/asham-under-14-slam-fofar

Reigning champions Angus Bryce’s rink do not return, so there will be a new winner for the one-day U14 Slam. Teams, divided into four sections, will play four-end matches in their groups, before high and low road deciders.

***

European Playdowns (Royal Caledonian Curling Club)
Dates: October 12-16
Number of teams: 5
Last year’s winners: Team Smith; Team Muirhead
Website: http://competitions.royalcaledoniancurlingclub.org/competitions/european-playdowns-4

Who will represent Scotland as the nation hosts the European Curling Championships in Braehead in November? In Perth, Teams Brewster, Murdoch and Smith will challenge for the men’s spot, while Teams Fleming and Muirhead contest the women’s. Fleming will be looking to pull off an upset over their best-of-five-match series, while the men’s teams play each other twice before a best-of-three final – Smith have started the season very well, Murdoch reached the Swiss Cup Basel final last weekend, and Brewster have pedigree aplenty.

***

Service Experts Mixed Doubles Classic (Curling Champions Tour)
Dates: October 14-16
Number of teams: 17
Prize money: $12,500
Last year’s winners: N/A
Website: http://sherwoodparkcurling.com/mixed-doubles-classic

Mixed doubles is catching on like wildfire and here we have another event, in Alberta, Canada. No Scottish teams are taking part in this one, but there are rinks representing China, Hungary, Russia and the USA, as well as 10 Canadian teams including Jocelyn Peterman and Brett Gallant, 2016 Canadian Mixed Doubles champions.

***

World Mixed Curling Championship 2016 (World Curling Federation)
Dates: October 14-22
Number of teams: 37
Scottish team: Team Bryce
Last year’s winners: Team Walstad (Norway)
Website: http://www.worldcurling.org/wmxcc2016

Kazan, Russia, hosts the second installment of the World Mixed Curling Championship, the first won by Norway last season. Scotland is represented by Cameron Bryce (skip), Katie Murray (a one-event detour back into the sport after stepping back this season), Bobby Lammie and Sophie Jackson. They face Belarus, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Norway and Romania in Group A. England, Wales and Ireland also have teams involved.

***

Austrian Mixed Doubles Cup (Curling Champions Tour)
Dates: October 20-23
Number of teams: 12
Scottish team
: Team Aitken/Mouat
Prize money: €2,800
Last year’s winners: Team Toth/Wunderer (Austria)
Website: http://www.curling-austria.at/events.html

Gina Aitken and Bruce Mouat made the quarter-finals at the Canad Inns Mixed Doubles last weekend, and they will be back in action in the new Olympic format in Kitzbühel, Austria. The likes of Oona Kauste/Tomi Rantamäki (Finland) and Ildikó Szekeres/György Nagy (Hungary) will provide stiff competition.

***

Curling Masters Champery (Curling Champions Tour)
Dates: October 20-23
Number of teams: 24
Prize money: CHF 40,000
Last year’s winners: Team Grattan (Canada)
Website: http://www.curling-masters.ch

Teams Brewster and Smith participated in this event last season, but no Scots are taking part this time around (it is hot on the heels of the European Playdowns). There’s no lack of quality in the field in Switzerland though, with Teams De Cruz, Edin, Kauste and Ulsrud among the 24 involved.

***

Canad Inns Women’s Classic (World Curling Tour)
Dates: October 21-24
Number of teams: 32
Scottish team: Team Smith
Prize money: $60,000
Last year’s winners: Team Kim (Korea)
Website: http://www.worldcurl.com/events.php?task=Event&eventid=4239

Hazel Smith’s new rink (her team-mates being Sarah Reid, Laura Ritchie and Claire Hamilton) face a quality field in this cashspiel in Portage la Prairie, Manitoba. Teams Einarson, Fleury, Homan, Jones and McCarville are some of the Canadian sides involved in the triple knockout competition, while Teams Hasselborg, Kim (reigning champions), Tirinzoni and Wang lead the international challenge.

***

Stranraer (U14 Slam) (Royal Caledonian Curling Club)
Date: October 23
Number of teams: 16
Last year’s winners: Team Craik
Website: http://competitions.royalcaledoniancurlingclub.org/competitions/asham-under-14-slam-stranraer

The next stage of the one-day U14 Slam events, following the one in Forfar earlier in the month. Last season’s winners Team Craik have aged out, so once again the contest is well and truly up for grabs among Scotland’s very young curlers.

***

Masters (Grand Slam of Curling)
Dates: October 25-30
Number of teams: 30 (15 men’s; 15 women’s)
Scottish teams: Team Murdoch, Team Smith; Team Muirhead
Prize money: $100,000; $100,000
Last year’s winners: Team McEwen (Canada); Team Homan (Canada)
Website: http://www.thegrandslamofcurling.com/curling/masters

The season’s opening Grand Slam takes place in Okotoks in Alberta, with three Scottish teams part of a world-class field based on the Order of Merit rankings up to 2016-17 week four. In the opening round-robin stage, Teams Murdoch and Smith (making their top Slam debut after competing in Tour Challenge tier 2 last season) face each other first up, before playing Teams Carruthers, McEwen and Morris. Team Muirhead are up against Teams Kim, Pätz, Rocque and – last but certainly not least! – Homan.

***

Riga International Curling Challenge (Curling Champions Tour)
Dates: October 28-30
Number of teams: 12
Prize money: €3,000
Last year’s winners: Team Demkina (Russia)
Website: http://kerlingahalle.lv/ricc

This women’s competition held in Riga, Latvia, returns for a second year. No Scots on board, but Teams Barbezat (Switzerland), Driendl (Germany), Kauste (Finland), Lundman (Sweden) and Maillard (Switzerland) are Curling Champions Tour regulars.

***

Scottish Province Championship (Royal Caledonian Curling Club)
Dates: October 28-30
Number of teams: 30
Last year’s winners: Loch Leven
Website: http://competitions.royalcaledoniancurlingclub.org/competitions/scottish-province-championship-4

Thirty teams, covering provinces across Scotland, are divided into six groups for this competition at Greenacres. Those sections then lead to quarter-finals, high and low road semi-finals and high and low road finals. The club teams competing have all won their provincial qualifier to get here.

***

Lanarkshire (U17 Slam) (Royal Caledonian Curling Club)
Dates: October 29-30
Number of teams: 24
Last year’s winners: Team Kinnear
Website: http://competitions.royalcaledoniancurlingclub.org/competitions/asham-under-17-slam-lanarkshire-3

As with the Province Championship, this competition features sections and knockouts heading towards high and low road finals – matches being up to six ends. Last year’s high road winners and runners-up, Teams Kinnear and Craik, are back – while Lisa Davie’s women’s rink, fourth at the Kinross Junior Classic U21 Slam last weekend, are also contenders.

Weekend round-up: Canada conquer World Men’s

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Canada (Team Koe), World Men’s champions (photo: twitter.com/CurlingCanada/status/719213209387831296)

Kevin Koe and his Canadian rink won gold at the World Men’s Curling Championship in Basel, Switzerland, while Denmark took silver and the USA bronze.

Scotland (Team Brewster) missed the playoffs, but finished their week strongly with a win over the defending champions Sweden.

Meanwhile, in Aberdeen, Cameron Bryce’s rink retained their Scottish Mixed Championship title and again earned passage to Worlds.

***

Scotland (Tom Brewster, Glen Muirhead, Ross Paterson, Hammy McMillan, Scott Andrews (alternate)) opened their Worlds campaign with a 9-3 victory over Korea, then an impressive 6-3 win against last year’s runners-up Norway.

But from there the wheels seemed to fall off, as the team suffered five consecutive losses. After a 9-6 defeat to Russia, they looked set to recover against Japan, only to give up a steal in the extra end to lose 6-5.

They were then beaten 5-3 by Canada, 5-4 by Switzerland and 9-7 by the USA, the latter two results both after an extra end.

The Scots finally stopped the rot against Finland, a three in end eight capping a 7-3 victory, and then beat Germany 7-6, taking their one with hammer in the extra end.

Yet another extra end loss followed against Denmark, 7-6, but they finished their tournament on a high with a three in end 10 to defeat the holders Sweden 6-4.

Skip Brewster reflected: “It’s nice to finish on a win and it’s good for Olympic points  But it’s what could have been, I think. The guys have played great and we’ve learned a lot – I’ve learnt a lot and they’ve learnt a lot.

“Mike [Harris] our coach was saying that last night… there’s a lot of great things there and if we take that experience and move on we can only be a stronger team next season.”

Scotland ended up in seventh position, on five wins and six losses, behind Norway and Sweden, last season’s finalists both failing to make the final four.

Canada defeated Denmark 5-3 in the 1v2 playoff, before the USA saw off Japan 5-4 in the 3v4 game (though their three in end eight was a controversial one, as a Japanese shooter bounced off the boards and kept a US stone biting).

Rasmus Stjerne’s Danes overwhelmed the USA 9-3 in the semi-final – the Americans going on to win bronze by beating Japan 8-6.

In the final, Denmark scored two in end three but Canada hit back with two in end five and then claimed two in end nine for a 5-3 lead before running the Danes out of stones.

That meant gold for Kevin Koe, Marc Kennedy, Brent Laing, Ben Hebert and alternate Scott Pfeifer, continuing what has been an enormously successful season for the Koe crew – and it is Canada’s 35th World Men’s win.

***

Back in Scotland, the Scottish Mixed Championship took place at Curl Aberdeen, with seven teams formed of two males and two females playing in alternate positions.

Cameron Bryce, Katie Murray, Bobby Lammie and Sophie Jackson won the championship last season and returned to defend their title – they qualified for the final by beating Mouat 6-2, Marshall 8-2, A. Bryce 7-4, Penny 6-1 and Fraser 9-7, only losing one round robin game, 5-2 to Waddell.

Also making the final on a W5 L1 record were Blair Fraser, Rowena Kerr, Duncan Menzies and Abi Brown – their victories coming against Marshall 6-5, Mouat 9-1, Waddell 10-2, Penny 9-4 and A. Bryce 4-1.

Fraser’s rink began the final with a steal of one, but Bryce scored one in end two and then stole one in three, three in four and two in five to lead 7-1.

Fraser took three in end six to give themselves hope, but Bryce hit back straight away with their own three in end seven to win the game 10-4 and retain the championship.

Their reward is a trip to Kazan, Russia, for the World Mixed Curling Championship from October 15-22.

***

Finally, the Ladies One Day Bonspiel, run by the Royal Caledonian Curling Club’s ladies branch, took place in Kinross.

Sixteen teams (two players with more than five years of curling experience, two players with less than five years) played in two sections of eight.

Section A was topped by Team Drysdale (Maggie Scott, Elizabeth Glennie, Jane Drysdale, Lesley Johnston), who defeated Milne 7-2 and Nicoll 9-2.

And Section B was headed by Team White (Margaret White, Pat Galloway, Janice Sutherland, Karen McCreath), winners over Corstorphine 8-1 and Adams 6-3.

Team Drysdale were overall winners, with more shots up than Team White.

Weekend round-up: Ross Whyte wins silver at Youth Olympics

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Ross Whyte with mixed doubles partner Han Yu (photo: WCF/Richard Gray)

Ross Whyte won silver representing Great Britain in the mixed doubles curling at the Lillehammer 2016 Youth Olympic Games.

That success followed GB’s squad impressing in the group stage of the mixed team event, before a quarter-final loss to Russia.

But Whyte ensured that the GB curlers would not leave Norway without a medal, as he and partner Han Yu of China finished mixed doubles runners-up.

***

GB’s mixed team (Ross Whyte, Amy Bryce, Callum Kinnear, Mili Smith – coached by Cate Brewster) began their campaign with a 9-2 win over Korea, scoring two in end one and stealing two in end five and three in end six.

They then suffered a 4-2 loss to Canada, a steal of two in end eight winning it for the Canadians, but bounced back with a 21-0 victory against rookies Brazil, notably scoring five in end one and six in end five.

From there, they beat hosts Norway 9-3 (scoring fours in ends two and four), Sweden 8-2 (with four in end one and two in end three), Estonia 8-2 (two in end one, three in end four and two in end six) and the Czech Republic 9-3 (fours in ends three and four).

That meant second spot in Group B and a quarter-final against Russia.

But the day belonged to Russia, who scored three in end two in end six to lead 6-3. Although GB scored two in end seven to close the gap to a point, three for Russia in end eight meant a final score of 9-5 and GB’s elimination.

Canada won mixed team gold, beating the USA 10-4 in the final, while Switzerland won bronze.

***

The mixed doubles competition saw participants paired with competitors from other nations of the opposite gender, going against each other in a straight knock-out format.

There were early exits for GB’s Amy Bryce (paired with Martin Blahovec (Czech Republic), beaten 12-1 by Honoka Sasaki/Tyler Tardi) and Mili Smith (paired with Hong Jun Yeong (Korea), defeated 8-2 by Holly Thompson/Sterling Middleton).

But Callum Kinnear and team-mate Stefania Constantini (Italy) won their first match 9-1 against Karlee Burgess and Eiko-Siim Peips (stealing twos in ends three, five and seven), and then beat Nadezhda Karelina and Kosuke Aita 7-3 (stealing ones in ends three, six and eight, and two in end seven).

They went out at the quarter-final stage, losing 10-9 to Zhao Ruiyi and Andreas Haarstad, scoring four in end seven to tie it up at 9-9 before Zhao and Haarstad scored the winning point in the eighth.

Ross Whyte and Chinese partner Han Yu put together a run beginning with a 9-5 victory over Mary Fay and Elian Sabra Rocha (scoring four in end one, three in end three and two in end six), then saw off Oh Su Yun and Tunc Esenboga 8-6 (two in end one and four in end six) and won their quarter-final 6-5 against Selina Witschonke and Jarl Gustsin, with twos in ends two and four.

In the semi-finals, they were victorious against Sasaki and Tardi (who had knocked out Bryce’s pairing), scoring three in end five and stealing ones in ends three and six to win 6-3.

That guaranteed them a silver medal, and it was silver they won – as Yako Matsuzawa (Japan) and Philipp Hoseli (Switzerland) proved too strong in the final, winning 11-5 with four in end four and five in end six.

Whyte said: “Getting a medal for GB is just amazing. It’s what I’ve always wanted to do and achieving it is brilliant.

“Yu [Han] has been amazing, I couldn’t have asked for a better partner. She played really well throughout the whole competition.

“Having had this whole experience will help my curling hugely.”

Zhao and Haarstad, of China and Norway respectively, won bronze.

***

Back in the UK, the English Championships took place this weekend in Dumfries.

There was no competition for women, with the team that represented England at the 2015 Europeans in Esbjerg – Anna Fowler, Hetty Garnier, Angharad Ward, Lauren Pearce, Naomi Robinson – being the sole entry to represent the country at Braehead 2016.

But the men’s championship was contested by seven teams, with Teams Dunn and MacDougall making the final.

MacDougall (Alan MacDougall, Andrew Reed, Andrew Woolston, Tom Jaeggi, Ben Fowler) won that match 8-0 to retain their title and book passage to Braehead in November.

***

The Swiss national championships also concluded this weekend. In the men’s competition, Teams De Cruz and Michel won through to the 1v2 match after a double round robin.

Michel won that game 5-3, and although De Cruz beat Team Attinger 8-7 after an extra end in the semi-final, the final again saw victory for Michel, 7-4 this time, meaning it is them who will represent the hosts at the World Men’s Championship in Basel.

As for the women, Teams Feltscher and Tirinzoni qualified for the 1v2 game, Feltscher winning 9-5.

Tirinzoni secured a chance of gaining revenge with a 5-4 semi-final victory over 2015 Worlds champions Team Pätz… but Feltscher beat them again in the final, 8-6 with two in end 10, and they have the opportunity to regain the title they won in 2014, as well as making it three World Women’s triumphs in a row for Switzerland.

***

Finally, Canada’s women’s championship, the Scotties, has begun in Grande Prairie, Alberta – notably without Teams Homan and Sweeting.

But things are not going swimmingly for the remaining member of Canadian women’s curling’s ‘big three’, Team Jones, who as defending champions have lost two of their first three games – 12-5 to Team Carey (Alberta) and 8-7 to Team McCarville (Northern Ontario).

Carey and McCarville sit top of the standings on three wins and no losses… but there’s a long, long way still to go in this one.