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.

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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.