Teams Whyte and Morrison are Scottish Junior champions

Whyte Scottish juniors
DELIGHT: The victorious Team Whyte. Pic: twitter.com/scottishcurling

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.

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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.

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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.

If you missed the programme, it’s available to watch again here.

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Bryce and Jackson win Scottish Juniors

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Scottish Junior men’s champions Team Bryce (photo: facebook.com/CurlingTeamBryce)

Teams Bryce and Jackson will represent Scotland at the World Junior Curling Championships next month after winning the national titles in Aberdeen.

There was also success this weekend for Team Muirhead, who claimed a home victory at the Glynhill Ladies International, a Curling Champions Tour event in Braehead.

And Team Smith made the final at the German Masters in Hamburg, finishing as runners-up to Team Walstad of Norway.

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The Scottish Curling Junior Championship, hosted by Curl Aberdeen, saw Team Bryce (Cameron Bryce, Robin Brydone, Euan Kyle, Frazer Shaw) top the men’s round robin with seven wins from seven.

They defeated Teams McNay (8-2), Cormack (10-2), Whyte (7-5), Joiner (10-2), Carson (5-3), Craik (6-3) and Baird (7-3).

Team Whyte (Ross Whyte, Callum Kinnear, Ryan McCormack, Duncan McFadzean) finished second in the section on W6 L1, ahead of Teams Baird (David Baird, Fraser Kingan, Robin McCall, Gavin Barr) and McNay (Cameron McNay, James Baird, Fin Campbell, Angus Bryce) on W4 L3, who had to play a tiebreaker – won 8-6 by McNay after a steal of two in end 10.

On the women’s side, it was Team Jackson (Sophie Jackson, Naomi Brown, Mili Smith, Sophie Sinclair), who went undefeated, with round robin victories against Teams Farmer (7-6), Aitken (14-5), MacDonald (8-4), Dandie (9-6), Keen (12-1) and Davie (9-4).

Behind them came Teams Davie (Lisa Davie, Kirsty Barr, Annabel Skuse, Emma Barr) and Aitken (Karina Aitken, Rebecca Morrison, Hailey Duff, Laura Barr), both on W4 L2 records.

In the 1v2 page playoff games, Bryce scored twos in ends seven and nine to beat Whyte 7-5, while Jackson roared into a 7-2 lead after five ends in overcoming Davie 8-6.

Whyte earned their third crack at Bryce by winning the men’s semi-final 7-4 against McNay, but it was Aitken who claimed the women’s match – defeating Davie 8-3.

The finals were both tight affairs. Bryce led Whyte 6-3 after five ends but their opponents forced the issue right to the end, Bryce having to take one in end 10 to win 9-7 and clinch the title.

The women’s final was even closer, as Aitken and Jackson traded singles up to 2-2 after six ends; Aitken then stole in end seven, but Jackson scored two in end nine to lead.

One from Aitken in end 10 forced an extra end, where Jackson scored one to take it 5-4 and claim a place at the World Juniors that they had qualified Scotland for this month.

Jackson’s third Naomi Brown said: “After such a nip and tuck game and following all the hard work that went into the World Bs this is probably the best feeling ever after this Scottish final.

“For a new team we have achieved such a lot together; I didn’t even know Mili at the start of the season and we have all gelled so well and held it together and kept the focus.

“I am really proud of all of my team mates and our coach Cate (Brewster) who is so much part of our team and our results today, it has made all of the hard work worthwhile.”

Bryce and Jackson will fly the Saltire in Gangneung, Korea, between February 16-26.

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The Glynhill Ladies International returned to Braehead for its 10th edition, with four Scottish teams among the 24-strong field.

The teams were divided into four sections, and Section A saw Teams Kubeskova (Czech Republic) and Wang (China) qualify – Team Aitken (Gina Aitken, Rowena Kerr, Rachael Halliday and Rachel Hannen) dropped short despite wins over Teams Tirinzoni (6-5) and Nielsen (7-3).

In Section B it was Teams Pätz and Muirhead (Eve Muirhead, Anna Sloan, Vicki Adams, Lauren Gray) who progressed, Muirhead having won against Kauste (8-4), Sveliga-Frynia (7-2), Wrana (6-3) and Pätz (9-3), and lost to Barbezat (4-1).

Section C saw Team Feltscher join Swiss compatriots Pätz in the last eight, but Team Fleming (Hannah Fleming, Jen Dodds, Alice Spence, Nancy Smith (super sub)) just missed out after a 9-7 loss to Team Jentsch meant the Germans went through.

Fleming were then beaten 7-3 by Team Moiseeva in the Consolation competition semi-finals, Moiseeva finishing runner-up to Barbezat in that part of the event.

And Section D was topped by Team Sigfridsson of Sweden and Team Hegner of Switzerland – with Team Smith (Hazel Smith, Sarah Reid, Laura Ritchie, Claire Hamilton) going out on a W2 L3 record.

Muirhead faced Feltscher in the last eight and scored twos in ends three, four and seven to overcome the Swiss 8-3.

The semi-finals pitted them against Hegner, and this match was won 7-5, the Scots stealing two in end three and scoring three in end six.

And they faced Swiss opposition once again in the final, in the form of Pätz.

Muirhead scored twos in ends two and four to lead 4-3 at halfway, before steals of three in end five and one in end six handed them the win 8-3 and their first Glynhill title.

Skip Eve Muirhead told British Curling: “Alina [Pätz] won last week in Switzerland when we didn’t have such a good week, so for us to bounce back from that after a lot of good chats with our coaches and all our support staff, we had a few key things to work on and to focus on and I think we did that really well.

“To get a Scottish winner’s always nice, and there was a lot of support in here. I was really impressed with the numbers that came along.”

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There were also four Scottish rinks involved in the German Masters in Hamburg, and while Teams Brewster and Murdoch went out early on W1 L2 records, there was more success for Teams Mouat and Smith.

Smith (Kyle Smith, Thomas Muirhead, Kyle Waddell, Cammy Smith) were in Pool B, and won three straight matches – versus Teams Brunner (6-4), Rui Liu (7-2) and Retornaz (7-4).

Mouat (Bruce Mouat, Bobby Lammie, Derrick Sloan, Gregor Cannon), in Pool E, lost their opener 6-3 to Team Walstad of Norway, but hit back by defeating Teams Wunderer (8-4) and Baumann (7-5).

Smith, having topped their group, had two chances to qualify for the quarter-finals and after losing the first 5-4 to Walstad after an extra end, they won the second 7-4 against Team Bottcher of Canada.

Mouat joined them in the quarter-finals after pipping the colourful trouser enthusiasts of Norway, Team Ulsrud, 6-5.

In the last eight, Smith scored four in end four in beating the Swiss De Cruz rink 6-4, but Mouat gave up a four in end six versus Walstad to lose 8-3 and exit the competition.

Come the semi-finals, Smith faced Team Timofeev of Russia, and having scored two in end two, they took their ones when they needed to, winning 4-2.

That set up a final with Walstad, the Norwegians having been something of a nemesis so far for the Scottish rinks.

And so it proved again. Walstad stole one in end four, but Smith stole in end six to level it up at 3-3.

But a three for the Norwegians in end seven proved the game-winner, as they took the title 6-3 – having won every game played in Hamburg – with Smith as worthy runners-up.

Teams Mouat and Jackson victorious at Scottish Juniors

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Scottish Juniors winners Jackson (back) and Mouat (photo: Royal Caledonian Curling Club/Brian Battensby (brianbatphotography.co.uk))

The Scottish Curling Junior Championships were held this weekend in Aberdeen, and Team Mouat and Team Jackson won the men’s and women’s titles respectively.

Curl Aberdeen hosted eight men’s and eight women’s rinks, with a round robin stage being followed by page playoff, semi-final and final for each section.

Team Mouat (Bruce Mouat, Bobby Lammie, Gregor Cannon, Angus Dowell), looking to defend their title from 2015, led the men’s round robin from the start.

They qualified in top spot with seven wins from seven – beating Hay 7-4, Bryce 7-4, McNay 9-3, Whyte 8-5, Brydone 7-3, Barr 10-3 and Joiner 9-1.

Taking second spot in the men’s group were 2015-16 Asham Under-21 Slam winners Team Whyte (Ross Whyte, James Baird, Gavin Barr, Euan Kyle, David Baird), who lost to Mouat and Bryce, but defeated Joiner 10-5, Brydone 5-4, Barr 10-4, Hay 10-5 and McNay 7-4.

And in third were Team McNay (Cameron McNay, Fin Campbell, Ryan McCormack, Angus Bryce), who saw off Cameron Bryce’s RCCC Academy side courtesy of wins over Brydone (13-4), Joiner (10-3), Barr (8-2), Bryce (8-7) and Hay (9-2).

The women’s round robin was led throughout by Team Jackson (Sophie Jackson, Naomi Brown, Rachael Halliday, Rachel Hannen), who defeated Compton 10-3, Murray 10-6, Bryce 7-4, Aitken 6-1, Davie 8-1 and Young 7-5, before losing 8-7 to Hamilton.

The women’s 2015-16 Asham Under-21 Slam winners, Team Murray (Katie Murray, Rebecca Morrison, Hailey Duff, Mili Smith), joined Jackson in the page playoff courtesy of wins against Young (9-3), Davie (10-6), Hamilton (7-4), Bryce (7-6), Compton (9-6) and Aitken (7-6).

Third spot in the group came down to a tiebreaker between Teams Aitken (Karina Aitken, Amy MacDonald, Sophie Sinclair, Laura Barr) and Young (Lesley Young, Louise Joiner, Beth Dandie, Jane Barr), both finishing the round robin on W4 L3 records – and it was Aitken who won that decisive match 8-7.

In the men’s 1v2 page playoff, Mouat scored two in end one, three in end four and two in end six to defeat Whyte 8-5 – Whyte then losing again in the semi-final as McNay advanced to the final courtesy of steals of one in ends four and five and a huge steal of three in end eight in a 7-4 win.

In the final, Mouat made a fast start, with two in end one and a steal of two in end two, before effectively wrapping the game up with a three in end seven for an 8-3 victory that meant they retained their title and will represent Scotland at the World Juniors from March 5-13.

As for the women, Jackson scored twos in ends five and eight on their way to a 6-3 win over Murray, who took their second chance to make the final by beating Aitken 7-5 in the semi-final with twos in ends four and eight.

Despite a two for Jackson in end four of the final, a steal in end six for Murray tied it up at 3-3 going into the seventh end.

There, Jackson scored two, Murray responded with a two of their own, but Jackson scored another two in end nine before running Murray out of stones in the tenth to claim the match and the title – a second in two years for team members Naomi Brown and Rachel Hannen – so they will be joining Mouat in Copenhagen next month.

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The Canadian Junior Championships also took place this weekend, with Team Dunstone of Manitoba winning the men’s title and Team Fay of Nova Scotia the women’s.

And the qualifiers for Canada’s greatest prizes, the Brier and Scotties, continued.

Team Robichaud won New Brunswick, Team Curtis took Newfoundland and Labrador, Team Galusha were victorious in Northwest Territories, and Team Campbell won Saskatchewan to complete the Scotties line-up.

As for the Brier playdowns, Team Gushue (as expected) won in Newfoundland and Labrador, while Teams J. Koe, Menard, Murphy and Smallwood have also qualified – there are still eight spots to be decided.

And the Swedish championships were also played this weekend, to decide their men’s and women’s titles and who would represent Sweden at the World Championships.

No surprises in the men’s event, as current World and European champions Team Edin were triumphant, while in the women’s section it was Team Östlund who came out on top.

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And finally…