Team Morton win Scottish Mixed Championship

sco wheelchair bronze
DELIGHT: Scotland’s World Wheelchair bronze medallists (pic: twitter.com/rccccurling)

After the intensity of the Scottish Championships, there are fewer major competitions taking place as the focus switches towards Worlds – but there have been several headline makers nonetheless.

Team Morton claimed the Scottish Curling Mixed Championship, the Scottish Schools title went to Perth, and Scotland’s wheelchair curlers came away from Worlds with bronze medals – a fantastic achievement.

And we now know which rink will be flying the flag for Canada at the World Men’s Championship in Edmonton, as Team Gushue won the Brier in St John’s, Newfoundland.

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The Scottish Mixed Championship was held this weekend at Curl Aberdeen (also hosting the Aberdeen International, a Curling Champions Tour event, in a few days’ time), with eight teams – two male players, two female – involved.

Section A was topped by Team Waddell (Craig Waddell, Mili Smith, Cammy Smith, Sophie Sinclair), who won all of their round robin games – against Morton 5-4, Taylor 6-3 and Penny 5-2.

Team Morton (Grant Hardie, Rhiann MacLeod, Billy Morton, Barbara MacFarlane) won two out of three though – beating Penny 7-2 and Taylor 5-2 – to also make the semi-finals.

Section B involved the holders, Team Bryce (Cameron Bryce, Katie Murray, Bobby Lammie, Sophie Jackson), and they made the last four with a W2 L1 record, defeating Brydone 8-5 and Aitken 7-6, before losing 10-5 to Macleod.

It was Team Macleod (Scott Macleod, Layla Al-Saffar, Fraser Kingan, Tamzin Smith) who finished first in that group, also on a W2 L1 record – having lost 5-4 to Aitken but winning 5-4 over Brydone.

Come the knockouts, both the Section A teams triumphed – Waddell scoring three in end one, two in end four and stealing one in end seven to win 7-5 and end Bryce’s reign as mixed champions.

As for the other semi-final, Morton stole singles in ends three and six as they edged out Macleod 4-2.

Another Morton steal got them off to the ideal start in the final, though Waddell grabbed two in end three and forced Morton to one in end four.

Successive steals of one in ends five and six for Morton ultimately proved decisive, as Waddell could not recover the two-point deficit – meaning Team Morton were crowned Scottish champions!

That qualifies them for the World Mixed Curling Championship 2017, held in Champery, Switzerland, in October.

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Also this weekend, the Scottish Schools Curling Championship took place in Braehead, with 24 teams that included many of Scotland’s up-and-coming curlers, divided into four sections.

The quarter-finals saw wins for Kelso High School, Lockerbie Academy, Perth High School and Stranraer Academy, before Lockerbie defeated Kelso 6-4 and Perth saw off Stranraer 4-1 in the semi-finals.

In the final it was Perth (Duncan McFadzean, Leeanne McKenzie, Matthew McKenzie, Cameron Paterson) who came out victorious, stealing two in end three and one in end four, adding another two in end six, to win 6-4 and take the title.

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Scotland’s wheelchair curlers, having only recently gained promotion to the main World Championship, put together an excellent run in Gangneung, South Korea, to come away with a medal.

The rink of Aileen Neilson (skip), Gregor Ewan, Hugh Nibloe, Robert McPherson, Angie Malone (alternate) and Sheila Swan (coach) finished the round robin with a W6 L3 record, putting them into the 1v2 playoff with Russia, which they lost 4-2.

They were then defeated 7-3 by Norway in the semi-final, but bounced back to win the bronze medals, beating China 9-5 thanks to three in end seven and a steal of two in end 10.

Skip Aileen Neilson said: “It’s a bit surreal to be honest. Having come off from losing in the 1v2 game to Russia, and then to Norway [in semi-final] we knew we had to come back out here and fight.

“We stuck together and we didn’t let it go until the very last stone was thrown.

“We have gained so much experience in having come back from the qualifiers to come back and medal.

“It’s just fantastic. I’m really, really pleased.”

Norway won gold, overcoming Russia 8-3 in the final.

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And at the Brier, Canada’s national men’s championship, it was a joyful homecoming for Team Gushue in St John’s, Newfoundland.

Backed by a passionate crowd, the Gushue rink (Brad Gushue, Mark Nichols, Brett Gallant, Geoff Walker) overcame Manitoba (McEwen) in the 1v2 playoff by a 7-5 scoreline, then faced Team Canada (K Koe) in the final.

Gushue made a fast start, going 5-1 up after five ends, but Koe scored three in end six and stole one in end seven to level it up.

Gushue, though, kept his composure to take his ones in ends eight and 10, which meant a 7-6 victory and passage to the World Men’s Championship, to face Team Murdoch of Scotland and the other big hitters of the global game.

 

Brewster secure home victory at Perth Masters

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Team Brewster, Perth Masters champions (photo: facebook.com/TeamBrewsterCurling)

Team Brewster began 2017 as they ended 2016 – with a title, this time at the Perth Masters.

Last year saw Tom Brewster’s quartet win the Scottish Championships, European Playdowns and Karuizawa International, and they got this year off to the ideal start.

Also this weekend, Team Smith were involved in another Grand Slam of Curling event, the Canadian Open, while Team Jackson have successfully qualified Scotland for the World Women’s Junior Championship.

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Thirty-two teams from around the world arrived for the Perth Masters, which is becoming a major Curling Champions Tour event – with live online coverage to match.

Ten Scottish teams began the triple knockout competition, and three of those made the playoffs – Teams Brewster (Tom Brewster, Glen Muirhead, Ross Paterson, Hammy McMillan), Hardie (Grant Hardie, Blair Fraser, Dave Reid, Duncan Menzies) and MacDonald (Ewan MacDonald, David Edwards, Duncan Fernie, Euan Byers).

Brewster began with wins over Foss (7-1), Snitil 6-2 and MacDonald (7-1), but lost their A Road final 5-3 against last year’s runners-up, Team Ulsrud of Norway.

It mattered little, though, as they then beat Pfister 4-1 and MacDonald (again, 5-1 this time) on the B Road to secure a playoff spot.

MacDonald, having beaten Kauste 10-4 and Pfister 6-4 but suffered their first defeat to Brewster, took victories over Ramsfjell (6-1) and Eskilsson (7-3).

There then followed their second loss to Brewster, but a 7-3 success against fellow Scots Bryce saw them into the knockout stages.

As for Hardie, they opened by overcoming Walstad 5-4, but then lost 5-3 to Eskilsson.

On the B Road they defeated compatriots Bryce 5-4 (stealing one in the extra end) but were then knocked down to the C Road, Pfister edging their match 3-2.

So Hardie needed three straight wins to make the playoffs… and that’s just what they got, against Schwaller (7-5), then two other Scottish rinks – Murdoch (5-4, again stealing one in the extra end) and Mouat (7-3).

Come the quarter-finals, Brewster stole singles in ends seven and eight to eke out a 6-4 victory against Liu Rui of China.

But the last eight proved to be the limit for Hardie – beaten 8-2 by Baumann of Germany after giving up four in end four – and MacDonald – losing out 4-2 to Ulsrud in a tight match.

Brewster had to board the steal train again in their semi-final with Baumann; having been 3-0 down, they scored twos in the seventh and eighth ends for another 6-4 win.

In the final they faced Walstad, who had shocked their fellow Norwegians Ulsrud in last four, and the match was tied 3-3 after five ends.

But three for Brewster in end six, followed up by a steal of two in the seventh, handed them victory by an 8-3 scoreline and meant they were Masters of Perth!

Tom Brewster – celebrating his record fourth Perth Masters title – told British Curling: “This is a fantastic event – it’s really well organised, the ice is always good.

“It’s always a strong field and to come out on top is a real honour.

“It goes down in the record books because people see this as one of the biggest events in Europe.”

 

See photos from the event on the competition website, or via Brydone Images.

***

Team Smith (Kyle Smith, Thomas Muirhead, Kyle Waddell, Cammy Smith) took part in the Grand Slam of Curling Canadian Open in North Battleford, Saskatchewan, but unfortunately they were not involved for long.

In a triple knockout competition, they lost 5-4 to Team Jacobs, 9-5 to Team Korte and 6-3 to Team Epping, which saw them eliminated.

The men’s final was contested by Teams Edin and Gushue, and it was the Canadians – with skip Brad Gushue clearly back in the swing of things after injury, as he threw 100 per cent in the final – who triumphed 8-3.

As for the women’s title, that went to Team Scheidegger – not one of the best known Canadian rinks, but one which has found fine form this season, including winning the HDF Insurance Shoot Out, where they defeated Team Muirhead in the final.

Here they faced Team Tirinzoni of Switzerland, and won it 5-4 thanks to a steal of one in the eighth end.

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Team Jackson (Sophie Jackson, Naomi Brown, Mili Smith, Sophie Sinclair, Laura Barr (alternate), coached by Cate Brewster) have qualified Scotland for the women’s section of the 2017 World Junior Championships.

Playing at the World Junior-B Championships in Östersund, Sweden, they won all six of their round robin matches – against Spain (11-4), Latvia (6-3), Estonia (5-3), Norway (5-2), Romania (13-2) and the Czech Republic (7-1).

That set up a quarter-final rematch with Norway, which yielded an 8-2 victory, largely thanks to a steal of three in end four, plus one in end five, and finished off by two in end seven.

 

And in the semi-finals they scored two in end three, having been 2-0 down, before stealing singles in ends four through to seven, for a 6-2 triumph – and Worlds qualification!

They play Turkey for gold, a match shown live here.

England also had teams at the B Championships, but neither managed to reach the playoffs – the men were defeated in all seven of their matches, while the women took three wins to three losses.

Weekend round-up: Scotland bounce back at World Women’s

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Team Scotland in Swift Current: Eve Muirhead, Anna Sloan, Vicki Adams, Sarah Reid, Rachel Hannen

Scotland sit on two wins and one loss after day two of the World Women’s Championship in Swift Current, Saskatchewan.

Elsewhere, Judith and Lee McCleary were runners-up at the Westbay Ltd Hungarian Mixed Doubles Curling Cup, while several other events took place involving Scottish and English teams.

And Team Gushue won the latest Grand Slam of Curling event, the Elite 10, after women’s rink Team Homan made a little history by taking on the men.

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Scotland sat out the first session of play at World Women’s in Canada, then were beaten 5-3 by Team Sigfridsson of Sweden in their opener, a two in end five and steal of one in end six proving crucial for the Swedes.

But they bounced back by beating Korea 8-6 – with twos in ends one, four and six – and then Germany 10-3 – taking two in end two, three in end four and stealing four in end seven.

So with all teams playing three times, it’s only Canada and Japan who sit unbeaten.

For linescores throughout the tournament, go here, while you can watch selected games on World Curling TV.

You can get updates on Scotland’s games here, plus the Roaring Game Blog Facebook and Twitter.

And photos from the event can be found here and here.

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The Westbay Ltd Hungarian Mixed Doubles Curling Cup involved the Scottish pair Judith and Lee McCleary.

At the quarter-final stage, they defeated Michelle Gribi and Reto Gribi of Switzerland 9-4, before overcoming Victoria Moiseeva and Petr Dron of Russia 7-6 in the semi-finals.

They faced another Russian pair, Anastasia Bryzgalova and Alexander Krushelnitskiy, in the final – despite a four in end two and three in end five for the Scots, the game went to an extra end, and the Russians were victorious 10-9.

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In Scotland, the Scottish Curling Pairs Championship was played in Stranraer, and was won by Lockerbie (Scott Hamilton/Robert Hamilton), 5-2 victors in the final against Murrayfield 1.

Meanwhile, the RCCC Funspiel took place in Braehead – with Stranraer 1 winning the under-15 final and Lockerbie triumphant in the under-13 final.

And Greenacres hosted the English Mixed Championship, which featured five teams playing a double round robin before a final between the rinks skipped by Greg Dunn and Andrew Woolston.

Dunn and his team of Angharad Ward, Nigel Patrick and Lorna Rettig won 6-4 for the title and a spot at the World Mixed Curling Championship in Kazan, Russia, in October.

***

Finally, the Grand Slam of Curling Elite 10 was held in Victoria, British Colombia, featuring eight Canadian men’s teams, one Swedish men’s team (Niklas Edin’s rink) and one Canadian women’s team, that of Rachel Homan.

Team Homan played four pool matches against men’s rinks (the games using match play format) and won one of their ‘battles of the sexes’ by defeating Team Thomas.

But ultimately the competition came down to a final between Teams Carruthers and Gushue.

Gushue went two up, Carruthers pulled it back level and the title was decided by a shootout to the button – won by Brad Gushue.

 

GSOC Masters: Preview

There are just two Scottish teams competing in the second Grand Slam of Curling event of the season – the Masters, October 27-November 1, in Truro, Nova Scotia – Team Murdoch on the men’s side and Team Muirhead on the women’s.

The Scots are among 15 men’s and 15 women’s teams divided into three groups of five, with a round robin format deciding the top eight on each side to progress to the playoffs.

Who do they face, and what are their chances? Well, read on to find out.

Team Murdoch
The rink of David Murdoch, Greg Drummond, Scott Andrews and Michael Goodfellow have been handed a tough draw, facing three experienced Canadian teams and the current world champions.

David Murdoch (Photo: Anil Mungal/Grand Slam of Curling)
David Murdoch (Photo: Anil Mungal (@PhotoVagrant)/Grand Slam of Curling)

Their first match is tomorrow, against Team Howard. Four-time world champion Glenn Howard reshuffled his team for this season, bringing in Wayne Middaugh at third, moving Richard Hart to second and adding his own son Scott at lead.
The combination has worked well so far, as the team reached the quarter finals of the first Grand Slam of the season, the Tour Challenge, only to be beaten by Team Gushue, then made the finals of the Shorty Jenkins Classic (beaten by Gushue again) and Toronto Tankard (beaten by Team McEwen).
They did, however, fail to make the playoffs in their last competition, the Canad Inns Men’s Classic.

The second match comes on Thursday, against Team Epping. It has been chop and change for skip John Epping recently, and this year he plays alongside Mathew Camm, Patrick Janssen and Tim March.
The quarter finals have been their limit this season, getting to that stage at the Shorty Jenkins Classic (beaten by Gushue) and the Challenge Chateau Cartier de Gatineau last weekend, where they were beaten by Team Mouat of Scotland.
Otherwise, they failed to make the playoffs at the Stu Sells Oakville Tankard, Tour Challenge, Point Optical Classic and Toronto Tankard.

After that, on Friday, Murdoch face Team Edin. The Swedes (Niklas Edin, Oskar Eriksson, Kristian Lindström, Christoffer Sundgren), who won the world title in Halifax in April, began their 2015-16 season by winning the Baden Masters, beating Team Brewster in the final.
Since then, they made the Oakville Tankard quarter finals (lost to Gushue), failed to make the Tour Challenge playoffs (one of their losses being to Murdoch) and then reached three quarter finals – at the Shorty Jenkins Classic (beaten by Howard), Point Optical Classic (lost to Team Jacobs) and Toronto Tankard (again beaten by Jacobs).
Most recently, they’ve gone out before the playoff stage at both the Canad Inns Men’s Classic and the Challenge Chateau Cartier de Gatineau.

And Murdoch finish off with another Friday game, this time against Team Gushue (Brad Gushue, Mark Nichols, Brett Gallant, Geoff Walker).
Gushue’s rink are undoubtedly the form team in world curling. They have picked up titles at the Oakville Tankard, Shorty Jenkins Classic, Swiss Cup Basel and, just this past weekend, the Challenge Chateau Cartier de Gatineau.
The only exceptions to the winning rule came at the Tour Challenge, where they lost the final to Team Koe, and the Toronto Tankard, where they lost in the quarter finals to McEwen.

Verdict: Can Murdoch win enough games in this group to make the playoffs? It looks a tough ask. Like Epping, their limit this season has been the quarter finals (at the Baden Masters and Oakville Tankard); they fell short of making the playoffs at the Tour Challenge, and couldn’t reach the last eight at last weekend’s Challenge Chateau Cartier de Gatineau.
Results aren’t what the team would want them to be at the moment – and faced with form teams in Gushue and Howard, it’s going to be tricky for Murdoch to turn things round here.

Team Muirhead
Fresh from qualifying for the European Championships next month, Team Muirhead (Eve Muirhead, Anna Sloan, Vicki Adams, Sarah Reid – the latter returning from injury) face three Canadian teams and one Swiss in Truro.

Eve Muirhead (photo: Anil Mungal/Grand Slam of Curling)
Eve Muirhead (Photo: Anil Mungal (@PhotoVagrant)/Grand Slam of Curling)

They begin against Team Einarson tonight. The Canadians (Kerri Einarson, Selena Kaatz, Liz Fyfe, Kristin MacCuish) won their first championship together at the Tour Challenge Tier 2, claiming $9,200 and a place at the Masters.
Since then, they’ve made semi finals at the Mother Club Fall Classic (lost to eventual winners Team Montford) and Prestige Hotels & Resorts Classic (beaten by eventual winners Team Lawton), before failing to make the playoffs at the Curlers Corner Autumn Gold Classic and then reaching the Canad Inns Women’s Classic quarters (lost to Englot).

Muirhead’s next opposition are Team McDonald tomorrow. This rink (Kristy McDonald, Kate Cameron, Leslie Wilson-Westcott, Raunora Westcott), formed last season, have been all about the quarter finals so far in 2015-16.
That was the stage they reached at the Tour Challenge (beaten by Team Kim), Mother Club Fall Classic (lost to Team Link) and Canad Inns Women’s Classic (beaten by eventual winners Team Kim).

Thursday evening sees Muirhead face Team Feltscher. The 2014 women’s world champions (Binia Feltscher, Irene Schori, Franziska Kaufmann, Christine Urech) have had a mixed season.
They fell short of the Tour Challenge playoffs (finishing with a W1 L3 record), then failed to make the Stockholm Ladies Cup last eight, placing third in their group behind Östlund and Muirhead.
They did then reach the Womens Masters semi finals, going out to Team Tirinzoni, and most recently were in the final of the Swiss European Championships qualifiers, only to lose out to Team Pätz.

Muirhead round off their round robin with a match on Friday morning against Team Sweeting (Val Sweeting, Lori Olson-Johns, Dana Ferguson, Rachel Brown), who won last season’s Masters and finished second at the 2015 Scotties Tournament of Hearts.
After making the quarter finals at the Oakville Tankard (lost to Pätz), Sweeting failed to get off the ground at the Tour Challenge, finishing W1 L3.
They have picked up since then, though, winning the HDF Insurance Shoot-Out and reaching the Curlers Corner Autumn Gold Classic semi finals, being knocked out by Team Carey.

Verdict: On paper, Muirhead look to have a kinder draw than Murdoch. But it’s no stroll in the park either, as even the underdogs of the group, Einarson, are very capable of a shock.
Feltscher have the pedigree, McDonald a knack of reaching playoffs and Sweeting are deservedly seen as one of Canada’s top three women’s teams alongside Homan and Jones.
Nonetheless, if Muirhead’s rink maintain their focus and show the form that got them to the Stockholm Ladies Cup final and Womens Masters Basel semis, they should at least make the playoffs in Nova Scotia.

The full Masters draw schedule is here. And you can watch games live online from Thursday on Sportsnet (the link to subscribe is here).

Swiss Cup Basel: Team Smith fall to Gushue in semi finals

Team Smith performed best out of the three Scottish teams at the Swiss Cup Basel, battling through to the last four before succumbing to the in-form Canadians of Team Gushue.

The Curling Champions Tour competition involved 32 teams and was played in a triple knock-out format – A, B and C-roads, before playoffs for the last eight teams standing.

There were opening game defeats against Finnish opposition for both Team Murdoch (David Murdoch, Greg Drummond, Scott Andrews, Michael Goodfellow) – 6-3 versus Team Kiiskinen – and Team Smith (Kyle Smith, Thomas Muirhead, Kyle Waddell, Cammy Smith) – 5-3 versus Team Kauste.

The only Scottish rink to pick up a win from the opening round of matches were Team Brewster (Tom Brewster, Glen Muirhead, Ross Paterson, Hammy McMillan), who beat Team Ruch 8-3.

Knocked down to the B-road, Teams Murdoch and Smith picked up wins in their next games, against Teams Oehninger (5-2) and Suter (6-5) respectively.

They were then joined on the B-road by Team Brewster, who lost 5-3 to Team Ali of Russia.

While Team Smith made steady progress along that road, defeating Team De Cruz 6-4 and Team Ali 7-4, their compatriots suffered further defeats on Friday evening – Team Brewster losing 6-3 against Team Ulsrud and Team Murdoch going down 6-4 to Team Gushue, who had surprisingly lost their first match 8-5 to Team Høiberg.

Team Murdoch kept themselves alive on the C-road with an 8-3 victory over Team Sik, but Team Brewster lost 6-3 to Team Baumann, knocking them out of the tournament.

They were swiftly followed out the exit door by Team Murdoch, who were beaten 6-5 by Team Schwaller.

That left Team Smith as Scotland’s sole representative. After a 5-2 loss to Team Kiiskinen knocked them down to the C-road, they won 6-3 against Team Keller to set up a winner-takes-all clash with 2014 world champions Team Ulsrud.

Despite a steal of three by Team Smith, the Norwegians took the match to an extra end. But the Scots held their nerve, scoring the one they needed for an impressive 8-7 victory.

That took them into Sunday’s quarter finals, where they faced another Norwegian side, Team Høiberg. They were 4-2 behind going into the last two ends, only to score two in the seventh and steal one in the eighth to win 5-4.

Their semi final against Team Gushue proved a match too far, however, the Canadians winning 8-2 with scores of three in ends two and four.

Team Gushue have started this season like a steam train, and they secured themselves another title with a 7-2 win over Team Van Dorp of the Netherlands in the final.

World Curling Tour round-up: Quarter finals the limit for Scottish teams

This weekend saw four Scottish teams compete in two World Curling Tour events across in Canada – Teams Brewster and Smith in the HDF Insurance Shoot-out in Edmonton, and Teams Murdoch and Gray in the AMJ Campbell Shorty Jenkins Classic in Cornwall.

Brewster, Smith and Murdoch all qualified for the quarter finals of their respective competitions, but that was as far as they could go, the tournaments once again dominated by Canadian teams.

Team Smith (Kyle Smith, Thomas Muirhead, Kyle Waddell, Cameron Smith) started brilliantly at the HDF Insurance Shoot-out, winning three consecutive games to qualify directly for the quarter finals along the A road.

After opening with a 4-3 win over Team Webb, the Scots beat Team Sluchinski 5-4 and Team Scoffin 7-4 to book themselves a place in the last eight.

Team Brewster (Tom Brewster, Glen Muirhead, Ross Paterson, Hammy McMillan), by contrast, did things the hard way.

They lost their first match to Team Sturmay, 6-5 after an extra end, but bounced back in style, cruising past Team Meachem 9-1.

A 4-3 defeat to Team Sluchinski knocked them down to the C road, where they stayed alive thanks to a 5-4 extra-end win over Team Lizmore, before a 6-3 victory over Team Hanson that saw them into the quarters.

There, both Scottish teams fell to defeat. Team Smith lost 8-4 to Team Korte, steals of two in ends seven and eight proving fatal.

Team Brewster, meanwhile, were edged out 7-6 by Team Thomas, who scored two in end eight to take the win.

The competition was eventually won by Team Meachem, who had recovered from that 9-1 loss to Team Brewster and battled through the C road, as they defeated Team Bottcher 8-4 in the final.

The women’s event was claimed by Team Sweeting, who secured a hometown victory by beating Team Lawton 6-4 in the final.

In the Shorty Jenkins Classic, Team Murdoch (David Murdoch, Greg Drummond, Scott Andrews, Michael Goodfellow) followed Team Smith’s example by starting with three wins.

They defeated Team Fournier 6-4, Team Fanset 6-2 and Team Brewer 7-2 – and then made it four wins in a row by beating Team Bailey 4-2.

Despite a 4-2 loss to in-form Team Gushue in their final pool match, Team Murdoch were safely into the last eight.

The quarter finals saw them pitted against Team Jacobs, the rink which had defeated them in the 2014 Olympic final in Sochi, and again the Canadians came out on top, 8-3.

The final, between Teams Gushue and Howard, went to an extra end, but it was Gushue who prevailed, 5-4.

The fourth Scottish team competing in Canada over the weekend were Team Gray (Lauren Gray, Jennifer Dodds, Vicky Wright, Mhairi Baird), in the women’s section of the Shorty Jenkins Classic.

They were beaten in their first three matches – losing to Team Birt 7-3, Team Larouche 4-3, and Team Inglis 5-3 – but then recorded a 7-6 victory over Team Hanna.

Although they then lost 7-1 to Team Middaugh and finished on a W1 L4 record, this was good early season experience for Gray’s rink ahead of the Stockholm Ladies Cup this coming weekend.

The Shorty Jenkins Classic women’s competition was won by Team Eun Jung Kim, the south Korean rink beating Team Flaxey 5-4 in the final.

Stu Sells Oakville Tankard: Canadians triumph, Fleming and Murdoch show promise

Teams Gushue and Homan took the men’s and women’s honours at the Stu Sells Oakville Tankard, but there was good early season form on show from Scottish teams Fleming and Murdoch too.

The first World Curling Tour event of the year attracted big names including 2014 Olympic champions Team Jones and current world champions Team Edin and Team Pätz.

The format was a triple knock-out, with A, B and C roads leading to quarter finals on Sunday night, then semi finals and finals on Monday.

Team Fleming (Hannah Fleming, Lorna Vevers, Alice Spence and Abi Brown) were dealt an early blow when they lost 8-5 to Team Liu of China, conceding four in the eighth end.

However, they bounced back in their next match, eking out a 5-4 win over Team Driendl, before going on to beat Canadians Team Carlson 6-5, with a score of three in end six and a steal of one in end seven proving pivotal.

An 8-3 win over Team Hastings, again of Canada, came next – as they claimed steals in ends one, two, five and eight – and that set up a big tie against Team Sweeting.

Team Fleming held their own against the 2015 Scotties finalists, drawing level at 4-4 in the sixth end, but Sweeting claimed scores of one in ends seven and eight to win 6-4.

That bumped Team Fleming down to the C road, and their Oakville Tankard journey was over as Team Liu beat them again, this time 6-0 – having scored two in end one, the Chinese rink claimed steals of one in ends two, three, four and five to force the concession.

The women’s event was won by Team Homan, who raced into a 5-1 lead over Team Pätz in the final before seeing it out 5-4. It’s Rachel Homan and co who go into the first Grand Slam of Curling event (the Tour Challenge, beginning today) in the hottest early season form.

In the men’s competition, Scotland was represented by Team Murdoch, who matched their Basel Masters performance by reaching the quarter finals again.

After a 6-5 extra end victory over Team Harris of Canada, the Scots fell to a 7-6 loss to Team Walker, also of Canada and also in an extra end.

A second consecutive defeat – 8-6 versus Canadians Team Retchless – dropped Team Murdoch down to the C road, but they kept themselves alive with a 5-4 win over Team Plys (USA).

Two extra end 6-5 victories over Canadian rinks – Team Balsdon and Team Desjardins – saw Team Murdoch into the quarter finals the long way round.

Unfortunately they were swept aside in their last eight clash with Team Carruthers – losing 7-0 – as Carruthers marched into the semis and then the final, where they lost an all-Canadian encounter against Team Gushue by a 5-3 scoreline.