Curling’s back! Not that it’s been a quiet summer…
In terms of Scottish teams, Team Mouat – so successful last season – are one of few constants.
There are now two Team Muirheads – though Eve Muirhead will not be skipping her rink at the start of the season, as she recovers from surgery, while Anna Sloan has stepped back from competitive curling… and Vicki Adams is now Vicki Chalmers after getting married.
Jennifer Dodds and Vicky Wright have moved over from what was Team Fleming, to form a five-strong rink for this season.
And the other Team Muirhead? Skipped by Glen Muirhead alongside his brother Thomas, and joined by another two brothers – Kyle and Cammy Smith.
Teams Jackson and Paterson round out the British Curling performance (i.e. funded) teams, with three mixed doubles pairings also on the performance programme.
They are Gina Aitken and Scott Andrews (Bruce Mouat focusing on the four-person game for now), Jayne Stirling and Fraser Kingan, and – interestingly enough – an English pair, siblings Anna and Ben Fowler.
There’s a new event to look forward to this season – the Curling World Cup, made up of three legs and a grand final, to go alongside the usual World Curling Federation, World Curling Tour, Scottish Curling Tour and Grand Slam of Curling events.
You can see a calendar of the major events this season – both in Scotland and overseas – here.
It could be something of a transitional season for curling, and many of the Scottish teams – but it’s bound to be an exciting one.
Already we’ve had the Baden Masters in Basel – which saw Team Mouat scrape into the playoffs with a W2 L2 record, only to lose 6-3 to eventual champions Team Ulsrud (#teampants continue!) in the quarter-finals.
The Olympics may be old news now – the Paralympics have taken the spotlight – but curling goes on with its cycle of competitions.
Aberdeen hosted the World Junior Curling Championships and enjoyed home success in the form of Team Whyte (Ross Whyte, Robin Brydone, Fraser Kingan, Euan Kyle, Duncan McFadzean) taking silver.
They cruised through the round robin stage with nine wins from nine, and then beat Switzerland 5-4 in the semi-finals.
The final proved one step too far, although they fought back well from giving up three and then a steal to trail Canada 5-2 after seven ends.
With two and then a steal, Whyte brought it back to 5-5 and forced an extra end, but they could not pull off a second straight steal as Tyler Tardi made the draw to win gold for Canada.
It was still a brilliant tournament for Whyte, but Scotland women (Rebecca Morrison, Amy MacDonald, Hailey Duff, Leeanne McKenzie, Sophie Jackson) struggled.
Finishing up with three wins and six losses, that means Scotland drop down to the B-Division for next season and so must re-qualify for the main World Juniors event in 2019.
Meanwhile, it’s been quite a couple of weeks for Bruce Mouat.
He skipped his team to World Championship Playoff victory over Team Smith, and a place in Las Vegas, and now he has returned to mixed doubles in style alongside Gina Aitken.
The pair were on the Continent for the Slovakia Mixed Doubles Curling Cup, and eased through the group stage with five straight wins.
Sykorova/Sykora were seen off 6-2 in the quarter-finals and Naceradska/Bohac beaten 12-5 in the last four.
That set up a decider with Hungarians Szekeres/Nagy, and Aitken/Mouat scored four in the third end on their way to a 9-4 triumph.
This week has also seen the Brier take place, with Team Gushue defending their title as Team Canada, beating Brendan Bottcher’s Alberta 6-4 in the final to ensure they will be going to Las Vegas for the World Championship.
That event is still a couple of weeks off, but the World Women’s Championship starts this Saturday in North Bay, Canada, where Scotland will of course be represented by Hannah Fleming’s rink.
Teams Whyte and Morrison claimed the men’s and women’s titles at the 2018 Scottish Curling Junior Championships in Aberdeen, earning the right to represent Scotland at Worlds.
With eight men’s rinks and nine women’s in action, a round robin stage would determine which three teams from each side of the competition would reach the knockout stages.
No tiebreakers were required, with Teams Whyte (W7 L0), Kinnear (W6 L1) and Baird (W5 L2) making it on the men’s side, and Teams Bryce (W7 L1), S Jackson (W7 L1) and Morrison (W6 L2) coming through from the women’s field.
In the 1v2 page playoffs, Whyte edged Kinnear 5-4, while Bryce beat Jackson 5-3.
The semi-finals saw Jackson’s women’s title defence ended, as Morrison won 5-4 after an extra end, while Kinnear stole four in the 10th end to seal an 11-5 victory against Baird.
Both finals were suitably close, with Bryce and Morrison trading twos before another two in end seven and a steal in the 10th handed a 5-3 win and the women’s title to Team Morrison (Rebecca Morrison, Amy MacDonald, Hailey Duff, Leeanne McKenzie).
Across in the men’s final, and Team Whyte (Ross Whyte, Robin Brydone, Fraser Kingan, Euan Kyle) got off to a flier with three in the first end, and despite a steal of two for Kinnear in the seventh, it was Whyte who held on to triumph 7-5.
The victorious pair will represent Scotland in the World Junior Curling Championships on home soil, with this event also being hosted by Aberdeen, on March 3-10.
There was a welcome return to the mixed doubles arena for Gina Aitken and Bruce Mouat this weekend, with the duo competing in the Gefle Mixed Doubles Cup in Gavle, Sweden.
Aitken/Mouat sailed through to the playoffs by winning their three matches on the A-Road – 11-2 against Wild/Kohn, 8-3 versus Wendel/Wingfors and 7-5 over Noreen/Noreen.
The wins kept coming in the knockout stages, too, as they beat Andersson/Andersson 7-3 in the quarter-finals and then Szekeres/Nagy of Hungary 12-2 (with steals of two, three and three, then a four in the fifth end) to make the final.
There they played Perret/Rios of Switzerland, and the Scottish pair made it six wins from six in Sweden, scoring two in the third end and four in the sixth on their way to clinching it 8-4.
Finally, just a quick pointer towards Sunday night’s BBC Countryfile, which profiled Glen and Thomas Muirhead – and then put Matt Baker on the ice with Team Smith in Stirling – ahead of the Winter Olympics.
It’s been a packed end to the season, with the good (Team Smith’s European Masters win, bronze for Scotland women at World Seniors) mixed with the bad (Scotland/GB missing out on Olympic Mixed Doubles).
Here’s a quick round-up of how the 2016-17 season has come to its conclusion.
Firstly to St Gallen, where the European Masters involved three Scottish men’s teams – Brewster (Tom Brewster, Glen Muirhead, Ross Paterson, Hammy McMillan), Murdoch (David Murdoch, Greg Drummond, Scott Andrews, Michael Goodfellow) and Smith (Kyle Smith, Thomas Muirhead, Kyle Waddell, Cammy Smith).
Team Fleming (Hannah Fleming, Jen Dodds, Vicky Wright, Alice Spence) were the sole Scots on the women’s side, but after two wins in the opening two matches versus Teams Schöpp (6-4) and Thompson (6-5) they lost their three remaining group matches to miss out on the final.
Not the results we wanted at the European masters but a great event none the less,Thanks to the organisers. Our season done is for 16/17
In the men’s event, it wasn’t a great tournament for Murdoch, as they only picked up one win from seven round robin games – 7-4 against Team Walstad.
Team Brewster did rather better, with wins against Murdoch (8-2), Pfister (5-3), Walstad (10-1) and McCormick (4-2) qualifying them for the 3v4 game versus McCormick, which the Scots won 4-2.
The best performance, though, came from Team Smith, who won four of their round robin matches – against Pfister (5-4), Murdoch (7-5), Brewster (7-3) and McCormick (8-5) – to edge by Brewster to make the final.
There they faced the ever-menacing Team Edin, and Smith finally got one over on the serial Slam-winning Swedes, as two in end four and one in end eight saw them pinch it 5-4.
The Champions Cup – for teams who have won major competitions during the season – took place in Calgary, Alberta, and involved three Scottish rinks – Teams Brewster and Hardie (Grant Hardie, Blair Fraser, David Reid, Duncan Menzies) on the men’s side, and Team Muirhead (Eve Muirhead, Anna Sloan, Vicki Adams, Lauren Gray) on the women’s.
Neither men’s team could progress from the round robin, with Brewster taking a win against Team Morozumi (9-3) but being beaten by Teams Laycock (5-4), McEwen (9-1) and Gushue (6-3).
Had a blast at the Grand Slam last week in Calgary… we'll be working hard to be back next season! A huge thank… https://t.co/Kwh6SOA4pV
Hardie, meanwhile, lost all four games – against Teams De Cruz (8-1), Carruthers (6-3), Jacobs (8-6) and Morris (6-3) – but this was undoubtedly a helpful experience for the team in a Slam environment.
The men’s title went the way of Team Jacobs, who overcame Team Koe 6-2 in the final.
Muirhead also missed out on the women’s playoffs – beating Flaxey (9-4) but losing to Pätz (7-2), Jones (7-6) and Wrana (6-2).
Well that's a wrap from Team Muirhead on the 16/17 season! Looking forward to time off and hard work over the next months…keep you posted! pic.twitter.com/o3TtOgHdCM
The women’s final was contested by Teams Homan and Hasselborg, with Homan scoring two in end eight to pinch it 5-4.
The World Mixed Doubles Curling Championship in Lethbridge, Canada, saw Scotland represented by Gina Aitken and Bruce Mouat.
They swept the round robin, with victories over Norway (6-3), Bulgaria (10-3), Ireland (8-5), Wales (11-2), Serbia (11-0), Denmark (8-2) and Italy (8-4).
Also in Scotland’s group, Ireland (Alison Fyfe and Neil Fyfe) won four and lost three (beating Serbia 10-2, Denmark 7-3, Bulgaria 11-4 and Wales 11-2, but losing to Italy 5-4, Scotland and Norway 10-4), with Wales (Dawn Watson and Adrian Meikle) coming in on W2 L5 (winning against Serbia 11-3 and Denmark 9-7, but defeated by Norway 6-2, Scotland, Italy 9-8, Ireland and Bulgaria).
England (Anna Fowler and Ben Fowler) just missed out on qualifying from the round robin, finishing on a W4 L3 record (beating France 8-5, Kazakhstan 17-2, Turkey 10-5 and Germany 9-6, but losing to the USA 7-2, the Czech Republic 6-4 and Canada 7-6).
The quarter-finals saw Ireland face Korea, losing 6-3, while Scotland – despite winning their group – faced Canadians Joanne Courtney and Reid Carruthers, and they were beaten 8-3 after giving up four in end seven.
Now scrambling to qualify for the Olympics, Aitken and Mouat faced Sweden – and scored four in end four as they beat them 9-2 – while the Irish pair lost to Russia 7-5.
It was the Russians Anastasia Bryzgalova and Aleksandr Krushelnitckii up next for Scotland, and again Aitken/Mouat lost to a very strong opponent, 6-5, as Russia scored singles in ends one, three, four, six, seven and the extra to edge a tight match.
Scotland had to beat Italy next and hope. They did that, 7-5, but Norway’s win over Finland denied them a spot at Pyeongchang 2018, with just two points in it on the ranking system.
Sport is seldom ‘fair’, and Scotland had the misfortune to face Canada and Russia after a flawless round robin.
What would seem flawed is a qualification process that places so much emphasis on a couple of games at one event, over the hard work and consistent tournament success of a Scottish duo who have spent the last four years working towards an Olympic spot, and were clearly heartbroken to fall short.
Switzerland, who went unbeaten through the championship, beat Canada 6-5 in the final to win gold, with China taking silver.
Lethbridge also hosted the World Senior Curling Championships, with Scotland represented by Ian Drysdale, David McQueen, Ronald Wilson, Graham Lindsay and Andrew Hemming (alternate) in the men’s event.
They finished the round robin with a W3 L3 record, as they saw off Finland 6-3, England 4-2 and Russia 12-2, but were beaten by Canada (7-2), Wales (6-4) and New Zealand (5-2)).
That meant a tiebreaker against Wales (Adrian Meikle, Richard Pougher, Chris Wells, Gary Waddell, Alistair Reid (alternate)), who had also won three and lost three, and again the Welsh came out on top, 5-4 this time, to put the Scots out.
England men (Thomas Campbell, Philip Barton, Mike Spain, Alastair Fyfe) ended up on W1 L5, with Ireland men (Peter Wilson, Johnjo Kenny, Bill Gray, David Whyte, David Hume (alternate)) on W5 L2.
Wales beat Israel 8-6 to make the last eight, but there they succumbed 8-1 to Canada; Ireland, though, qualified for the quarter-finals with a 5-4 win over Denmark.
Canada proved too strong for the Irish in the semi-finals, winning 5-2, but the Irish did secure bronze with a 6-3 win over Germany in the 3v4 game, while Sweden pipped Canada to gold.
As for the women’s competition, Scotland (Jackie Lockhart, Christine Cannon, Isobel Hannen, Margaret Richardson, Janet Lindsay (alternate)) qualified from Group B with five wins (against the Czech Republic (9-2), Slovakia (15-1), Australia (9-1), Finland (7-6 after an extra end) and Switzerland (8-4)) and one loss (versus the USA (6-4)).
England women (Judith Dixon, Val Saville, Helen Forbes, Deborah Higgins) were W3 L4 for the event, with Ireland women (Carolyn Hibberd, Marie O’Kane, Louise Kerr, Clare McCormick) W1 L6.
Scotland, having finished second in their group to the USA, had to beat Russia to make the last four, which they did 10-0.
Their semi-final pitted them against Colleen Jones’ Canada, and it was the host country who emerged victorious with a two in end eight to win 5-3.
Canada took gold and Switzerland silver, and Scotland ensured they joined them on the podium by beating the USA 8-5 (scoring four in end five) in the bronze medal match.
Skip Lockhart said: “It feels really good to get a medal and to go back with something after not playing quite the ‘A’ game we wanted against Canada.
“We had to fight really hard for that. It’s been a tough week but every medal makes the season worthwhile and we’ve still got years to play in seniors, so…bring it on.”
Scotland’s Team Muirhead ended a see-saw week at the World Curling Championships with a bronze medal, a positive outcome from a competition that had seen Team Homan prove just too good for everyone else.
At one point the Scots looked unlikely to even make the playoffs, so for them to add another international medal to the Muirhead mantelpiece was a big plus ahead of next year’s Olympic Games.
Also this weekend, the Dumfries Mixed Doubles took place, with Camilla and Per Noreen of Sweden coming out on top.
Twelve teams battled it out at the 2017 World Women’s Curling Championships in Beijing, with playoff and Olympic qualification at stake.
Scotland (Eve Muirhead, Anna Sloan, Vicki Adams, Lauren Gray, Kelly Schafer (alternate), Glenn Howard (coach)) had a dramatic start to the week, stealing ones in end 10 and then the extra end to beat the USA 9-8.
But after that point they struggled to find momentum. They went down to a surprise 7-6 defeat against Italy, and although they hit back by beating Russia 10-7 (scoring three in end one and stealing four in end four) and Denmark 7-2, they then suffered three successive defeats – against Sweden 7-3, Korea 10-6 and Canada 8-2.
Sitting at W3 L4, it was win or bust for Scotland from here on. They overcame the hosts China – who had a surprisingly poor week in front of their home crowd, only winning twice – by an 8-6 scoreline, and suddenly it was back on.
Switzerland, who started the week well but faded, were the Scots’ next victims, beaten 7-4 with a three in end nine and steal of one in the 10th, and once Germany were dispatched 7-2 the Muirhead rink found themselves one win away from making the playoffs alongside runway leaders Canada (W11 L0 in the round robin), Russia and Sweden.
The Czech Republic stood in their way, a team eyeing up a playoff spot themselves – the Czechs scored twos in ends five and seven to lead into the 1oth, but a superb draw behind a centre guard from skip Eve Muirhead, and a miss from counterpart Anna Kubeskova, set up the peel for two – which Muirhead made to win it 7-6.
That ensured Olympic qualification for Scotland (as Team GB) for Pyeongchang 2018, and after a Friday off the Scots faced Sweden in the 3v4 page playoff, a must-win match with a semi-final against Russia the reward for the victor.
It was Sweden (Team Hasselborg) who grabbed that chance, stealing one in end two and going on to score two in end six and three in end eight to win 8-5 and extinguish Scottish hopes of making the final.
But the two teams met again in the bronze medal match, Sweden having lost the semi to Russia, and it was third time lucky for Muirhead against Hasselborg in Beijing.
The teams traded ones and twos up to end nine, where Muirhead claimed a steal of one – and then did the same in end 10, both times forcing Anna Hasselborg to play tough, tough final stones and therefore winning it 6-4.
Taking a medal from a tough field was a good result for the Scots, skip Muirhead saying: “We’re absolutely delighted and that was a really strong team performance.
“We really wanted that medal. It’s been a tough week, with a lot of ups and a lot of downs so to come away with a medal is really quite satisfying.
She added: “That was my first bronze, I’ve got world gold, silver and bronze now, so I’m delighted and it’s good to have a solid Worlds going into the Olympic Games.
“It takes a lot to come back and win bronze, it’s one of the toughest medals for a team to win.
“We’d be too greedy if we thought we should have had more this week, because I think the two best teams are in the final.”
The final saw Canada’s Team Homan do what no other side had done at a World Women’s Championships – go the entire week undefeated.
Russia (Team Sidorova) could not stay with them, giving up a two in end two, a steal of one in end three and then three in end six.
A two for Russia in end seven brought it back to end 6-3, but they knew it wasn’t their day when skip Anna Sidorova didn’t release her final stone of end eight before the hog-line and Rachel Homan drew in for two and an 8-3 victory that sealed the gold medals.
Back in Scotland, a Curling Champions Tour event – the Dumfries Mixed Doubles – was taking place, with 24 teams participating.
Sorted into four pools of six teams, there was good British representation – with English, Irish, Scottish and Welsh pairings involved – but only the mixed doubles big-hitters of Gina Aitken and Bruce Mouat (first in Pool C, with a W5 L0 record), and Judith and Lee McCleary (second in Pool B, W3 L2) made the knockout stages.
Good win this morning vs Turto/Turto but a loss this afternoon means we're knocked out on 1-4 @Benwfowler#teamFowler
The two remaining Scottish rinks met head-on in the quarter-finals, and on this occasion it was the McClearys who came out on top, stealing one in end three then scoring three in end five and four in end seven to triumph 9-3.
But McCleary/McCleary fell in the semi-finals, as Swedish pair Camilla and Per Noreen took two with hammer in end eight to win 6-5.
The McClearys did claim third, though, stealing one in the first end, scoring two in the third and stealing another one in end six on their way to beating Anastasia Bryzgalova/Alexander Krushelnitsky of Russia 6-3.
Noreen/Noreen took the title, scoring four in end four as they defeated Irantzu Garcia/Gontzal Garcia Vez (Spain) 7-3 in the final.
A busy weekendsaw the start of the World Women’s Curling Championship, as well as events in Scotland, Europe and Canada.
Team Hardie were the standout success, winning the Aberdeen International event, while there was also bronze for Team Aitken/Mouat in their latest mixed doubles endeavour.
But first to Beijing, where Scotland women have had a rollercoaster start…
The 2017 World Women’s Curling Championship sees Scotland represented, once again, by Team Muirhead (Eve Muirhead, Anna Sloan, Vicki Adams, Lauren Gray, Kelly Schafer (alternate), Glenn Howard (coach)).
Two days in and, at time of writing, three games played – Scotland sit on a W2 L1 record.
They began against the USA, and after a three in end one, they were hauled back to 3-3 after four, only to answer with another three in end five.
But they then gave up five points over the next three ends, to trail 8-6, and were forced to one in the ninth.
But steals of one in end 10 and the extra end saw them snatch a 9-8 victory.
The outcome from their next match was less positive, as they were shocked by an inexperienced Italian team.
Diana Gaspari’s rink scored three in end seven and two in end nine, meaning the Scots needed three in end 10 to force an extra – an opportunity opened up but the shot was missed, so Italy won 7-6.
Scotland needed to bounce back quickly and did so, overcoming Team Sidorova of Russia, always a strong force at these championships.
Again the Scots started well with three in end one, and a steal of four in end four saw them lead 8-1.
Russia fought back, creeping up to only trail 8-5, but ones in ends eight and 10 got the job done for the Muirhead rink, who face Denmark and Sweden in Monday’s action.
The early pace-setters as of Sunday – Canada, the Czech Republic and Switzerland, all W3 Lo from the first two days.
Back in Scotland, and a Curling Champions Tour event – the Aberdeen International Curling Championship – had drawn a high quality field.
In a triple knockout format, the A-Road qualifiers were Team McEwen of Canada (defeating Team Stjerne (Denmark) 10-3 in the A-Road final) and the Scots of Team Murdoch (who overcame Team Ulsrud of Norway 7-6 to qualify).
Murdoch’s compatriots were having a tougher time of it, as it was Teams Deruelle (Canada) and Eskilsson (Sweden) who made the quarter-finals via the B-Road, meaning that Teams Brewster, Bryce, Craik, Hardie, Hutcheon, Mouat (minus their skip – more on him later), Smith and Whyte all ended up on the C-Road.
Of those, only Hardie and Whyte (thanks to a win over Ulsrud) made the C-Road finals, and while Hardie defeated Stjerne 4-3 to make the last eight, Whyte lost 10-5 to Team Schwaller of Switzerland.
Schwaller claimed another Scottish scalp on the Sunday, beating Murdoch 5-2 in their quarter-final, leaving Hardie – 7-2 winners over Deruelle – as the last Scots standing.
In the semi-finals they faced McEwen – serial Grand Slam champions and recently bronze medal winners at the Brier… not that any of that fazed Hardie, as they stole one in end one and two in end four, before adding three in end six to clinch it 7-3.
Hardie faced Team Liu of China in the final, and after the teams traded ones, it was the Scots who claimed two in end three, then forcing Liu to one in four and scoring another two in end five – which proved enough as the next two ends were blanked and they ran their opponents out of stones in the eighth to claim victory 5-2.
So congratulations Grant Hardie, Blair Fraser, Duncan Menzies and David Reid, the team having had another good season – just missing out on playoffs at the Scottish Championships again, but proving they can mix it with the best by claiming another Scottish Curling Tour title.
There was more Scottish success overseas, as Gina Aitken and Bruce Mouat took bronze at the Westbay Hungarian Mixed Doubles Cup.
They cruised through their group with four wins from four – beating Szekeres/Nagy 8-7 (after an extra end), Sykorova/Misun 9-0, Morand/Borini 14-4 and Florek/Herman 9-3.
Also competing in Budapest were Judith and Lee McCleary, who also won their opening four matches – overcoming Szabo/Foti 7-4, Komarova/Goryachev 5-2, Wiksten/Wiksten 9-0 and Pathy-Dencso/Szabo 8-7.
That meant both Scottish pairs were into the quarter-finals, but that was as far as McCleary/McCleary could go, as they gave up a four in end six to lose 7-4 to home rink Palancsa/Kiss.
Aitken/Mouat, though, made the last four by defeating Heldin/Sjoberg of Sweden 8-5, which was largely down to a score of five in end two.
Defeat to Komarova/Goryachev, 9-7, ended their hopes of the title, but while the Russians went on to win gold, Aitken/Mouat bounced back to defeat Szekeres/Nagy again, by a 7-3 scoreline this time, which secured bronze.
Finally, the latest Grand Slam of Curling event took place in the shape of the Elite 10 in Port Hawkesbury, Nova Scotia.
The 10-team competition featured match play scoring – the game decided by the number of ends won by each team (full explanation here).
It came down to a final between Teams Jacobs and Morris, and it was the latter (Jim Cotter, John Morris, Tyrel Griffith, Rick Sawatsky) who claimed the Slam title with a 1-up triumph.
Scottish curlers filled out second and third place at the Dutch Masters Mixed Doubles this weekend, with Gina Aitken and Bruce Mouat only just missing out on the top prize.
Three Scottish rinks competed at the Bernese Ladies Cup, but only Team Fleming made the playoffs – where they were beaten by eventual runners-up Team Tirinzoni.
And Team North America continued their domination of the Continental Cup, taking their fifth title in a row versus Team World.
Gina Aitken and Bruce Mouat, fresh from winning the Scottish Mixed Doubles Championship at the end of 2016, went into the Dutch Masters Mixed Doubles event as one of the favourites.
And they secured passage from Pool A of the round robin stages with a perfect record – winning against Molder/Lill of Estonia 10-3, Bryzgalova/Krushelnitsky of Russia 8-6, Fowler/Fowler of England 8-3 and Turto/Turto of Finland 9-3.
That record was emulated by Judith and Lee McCleary, the runners-up at the Scottish Championships, who finished Pool C on W4 L0 after beating Walczak/Knebloch (Poland) 15-4, Fyfe/Fyfe (Ireland) 10-3, Norberg/Stenberg (Sweden) 10-7 and Kalocsai/Van Dorp (Hungary/Netherlands) 6-5.
The English team, Anna and Ben Fowler, and Irish, Alison and Neil Fyfe, both finished the group stage on W2 L2 records – both missed out on the playoffs, but the English pair did at least take third spot in their pool (the Fyfes were one of three rinks on W2 L2 in their group but placed fourth), meaning they were into the Consolation event.
There they took down Menard/Baker of Canada 8-5, before losing out to Kalocsai/Van Dorp in the Consolation final, beaten 9-6 after an extra end.
Lost out on the last shot to an impressive angled raised double TO from Jaap. Still smiling though and on the way back to London/Glasgow pic.twitter.com/7kAi6aJjHq
Back to the main event, and the quarter-finals, where Aitken/Mouat found themselves 3-1 down to Szekeres/Nagy of Hungary after four ends, only to explode with a six in end five – which meant that two successive steals to end the match were not enough for the Hungarians, as the Scots took it 7-6.
Again the McClearys matched their compatriots, reaching the semi-finals with a 7-3 victory over Palancsa/Kiss (Hungary), who were the winners of this competition in 2016, having scored four in end one and stolen singles in ends six and seven.
That meant a head-on collision between Scots, and again it was Aitken/Mouat who took the spoils – scoring two in end one, one in end two, three in end three and four in end five to wrap it up 10-1.
The McClearys had one last match, the third-place playoff against Norberg/Stenberg of Sweden, which they won 11-5, with fours in ends three and six.
The final brought Aitken/Mouat a rematch with Russian world champions Anastasia Bryzgalova and Alexander Krushelnitsky, and the Scots enjoyed an ideal start – three in end one.
But the Russians hit back hard, scoring four in end two and stealing singles in ends three and four to lead 6-3 at halfway.
It wasn’t over yet, as Aitken/Mouat scored ones in ends five, six and seven to tie it up 6-6 – but two (thanks to a fine runback double) in end eight for Bryzgalova/Krushelnitsky gave them the match 8-6 and the title.
Scottish women’s teams were back in action following a few weeks off over Christmas, with three taking on a world class field at the Bernese Ladies Cup, a triple knockout tournament.
Team Muirhead (Eve Muirhead, Anna Sloan, Vicki Adams, Lauren Gray) started with a big win over Team Mathis, 10-2, but were knocked down to the B-Road by Team Schöpp of Germany, beaten 8-7.
They bounced back well, cruising past Team Kauste 10-2, and then beating Team Nielsen 7-3, but a loss to European gold medallists Team Moiseeva, 5-4, put them one defeat away from elimination.
Muirhead kept themselves alive on the C-Road by overcoming Schöpp at the second time of asking, 3-2, but a 7-2 loss against Team Sigfridsson in the C-Road final knocked them out.
Team Smith (Hazel Smith, Sarah Reid, Claire Hamilton, Kerry Clark) opened by edging Team Hegner 8-7, but there followed two straight defeats – against Team Wang 10-1 and Team Koana 5-4.
They kept themselves alive by overcoming Kauste 6-2, but Koana beat them again (7-5 this time), and they then lost 9-2 to Nielsen in the Consolation Cup to exit the event, which Nielsen went on to win.
Team Fleming (Hannah Fleming, Jen Dodds, Alice Spence, Vicky Wright) began their competition by defeating Team Keiser 6-5, then saw off Team Babezat 5-4, before defeat in the A-Road semi-final to Team Tirinzoni, 8-6.
They lost again on the B-Road, 7-2 to Moiseeva, but won 5-4 against Team Jentsch and then scored two in end eight to edge Team Christensen 7-6 – thus making the playoffs!
The quarter-finals proved to be Fleming’s limit, however, as they met the in-form Tirinzoni and lost out 7-3.
That shouldn’t take away the added level of consistency we’re seeing from Fleming this season compared to the last couple of years, as they continue to narrow the gap at the top of the Scottish women’s game.
So congratulations to the winners – Kevin Koe, Marc Kennedy, Brent Laing, Ben Hebert, Heath McCormick, Chris Plys, Korey Dropkin, Tom Howell, Reid Carruthers, Braeden Moskowy, Derek Samagalski, Colin Hodgson, Chelsea Carey, Amy Nixon, Jocelyn Peterman, Laine Peters, Jamie Sinclair, Alex Carlson, Vicky Persinger, Monica Walker, Jennifer Jones, Kaitlyn Lawes, Jill Officer and Dawn McEwen.