Teams Bryce and Jackson excel at World Juniors

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SILVER: Cate Brewster, Laura Barr, Sophie Sinclair, Mili Smith, Naomi Brown and Sophie Jackson. Pic: twitter.com/CurlTeamJackson

Team Bryce and Jackson both performed strongly in Korea at the World Junior Curling Championships, Sophie Jackson’s rink winning silver in the women’s section and Cameron Bryce’s men finishing fourth in the venue for the forthcoming Winter Olympics.

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Scotland women (Sophie Jackson, Naomi Brown, Mili Smith, Sophie Sinclair, Laura Barr (alternate), Cate Brewster (coach)) enjoyed a huge turnaround from the last World Juniors, when they were relegated to the B-Division, but having won promotion they did superbly.

They cruised through the round robin with a W7 L2 record, starting with four consecutive victories – versus Korea (7-6, stealing one in end 10), Hungary (8-7), Turkey (10-5) and Sweden (6-5, stealing two in the 10th end).

Team Jackson then lost 8-7 to Switzerland, but bounced back with three more wins, against Japan (9-7), the USA (7-2) and Canada (8-5, scoring four in end four).

Their last round robin match brought an 8-7 loss to Russia after an extra end, but they had done enough to make the 1v2 page playoff.

There they were beaten 9-6 by Sweden, having given up a steal of three in end three, but they secured their spot in the final, guaranteeing a medal, with a emphatic victory against Canada.

The Scots got off to an ideal start, scoring three in end one, and added two in the third end, stole four in the fourth, three in the fifth and one in the sixth, for a 13-2 win after eight ends.

Skip Sophie Jackson said: “I think the fire was sparked in us. We were so ready for that game and we wanted to make the final so bad after last night’s loss.

“We were just really ready and really pumped for that. This takes the pressure off a wee bit, but we still want that gold so bad.”

The final brought a third meeting with Sweden, the sides having won once and lost once against each other already in Gangneung.

Isabella Wranaa’s Swedes took the spoils this time, as although Scotland scored three in end four to lead 4-3, Sweden hit back by taking a three of their own in end five, stealing two in the sixth end and adding another two in the eighth for a 10-7 win and the gold medals.

Scotland could still be delighted with claiming silver in a tough competition; Canada took bronze.

Jackson said: “I’m a bit gutted, but we’ve had a really good week.

“I’m speechless really, we’ve done way better than we expected, so we’re still happy.

“I’m so proud of my team, we’ve done so much this season.”

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It was a tougher route to the playoffs for Scotland men (Cameron Bryce, Robin Brydone, Euan Kyle, Frazer Shaw, Ross Whyte (alternate), Colin Morrison (coach)), who lost their opening two matches – 7-6 to the USA after an extra end (having been 6-2 down), and 8-7 to Norway (having been 6-1 down).

But they pulled out four successive wins to get back in contention – beating Sweden 8-6, Switzerland 8-7 (after an extra end), China 8-3 and Italy 7-5.

They went down 8-7 to hosts Korea (another extra end loss), which meant they had to win their final two round robin games to clinch a playoff spot.

That they did, overcoming Turkey 7-4 and Canada 9-8 (taking their one with hammer in an extra end).

They won the 3v4 game 8-7 against Norway, scoring two in end 10 and then stealing one in the extra end, but they came unstuck against Ki Jeong Lee’s Korea in the semi-final.

The host nation, who went on to beat the USA in the final to win gold, beat the Scots 11-4 courtesy of three in end one, two in end three, three in the sixth end and two in the eighth.

That left Scotland facing Norway (again!) for bronze, and here they fell short – as the Norwegians went 7-0 ahead courtesy of steals in the first three ends, and eventually won out 10-3 in eight ends.

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As well as the Scottish Championships, plenty of other national championships have been taking place this week, including the English Championships – which were won by Team Woolston (men’s) and Team Farnell (women’s).

In Canada, of course, we had the national women’s championship, the Scotties, which witnessed fierce competition between Teams Englot (Manitoba) and Homan (Ontario).

Englot won both the round robin encounter and the 1v2 page playoff game, but when it came to the final, it was Rachel Homan’s rink who won a see-saw affair 8-6, gaining the national title and securing a trip to face Team Muirhead and co at Worlds in Beijing.

 

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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.