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.
Team Drummond were the star performers from a Scottish point of view this week, making the final of the Champery Masters, where they lost out to Team Edin.
Teams Brewster and Mouat also did well in Switzerland, while Team Kinnear won the EJCT Oslo junior men’s title.
Over in Canada, Teams Muirhead and Smith warmed up for the next Grand Slam tournament of the season – the National – by competing in a couple of World Curling Tour events.
There were three Scottish rinks at the Champery Masters in Switzerland, and all three made the playoffs.
Team Brewster (Tom Brewster, Duncan Menzies, Scott Andrews, Alasdair Schreiber) cruised through the round robin stage with a W5 L0 record – beating Teams Edin, Hess, Mancini, Retornaz and Schwaller.
Team Mouat (Bruce Mouat, Grant Hardie, Bobby Lammie, Hammy McMillan) also topped their pool, thanks to wins over Teams Kauste, Snitil, Stjerne and Van Dorp, plus a loss to Smilga of Latvia.
And Team Drummond (Greg Drummond, Ross Paterson, Gregor Cannon, Michael Goodfellow) topped Pool D, also with a W4 L1 record – overcoming Teams Baumann, Lottenbach, Pfister and Sik, and losing to Team Attinger.
Three became one following the quarter-finals, however, as Drummond beat Mouat 4-3, while Brewster exited at the hands of Van Dorp.
Drummond saw off the Dutch rink in the last four though, scoring four in end six in a 6-5 triumph.
That put them into a final against former world champions Edin, and it was the Swedes who moved ahead early on, scoring two in the second end and stealing one in the third.
Another two in end five gave the Scots too much to do, Edin winning 6-3 to claim the title.
This is, nonetheless, the most impressive performance so far this season from Drummond, after a slow start to the season, and one they’ll be looking to push on from.
“We were able to utilise Misha Botting’s sports psychology services over the course of the event and his input has provided a good base for us going forward.
“Playing Niklas Edin in the final was always going to be tough but it was a good test for our team at this stage in the season.
“We were just disappointed that we weren’t able to execute our game plan.”
Team Smith (Kyle Smith, Thomas Muirhead, Kyle Waddell, Cammy Smith), meanwhile, were in Quebec for the ARENA Challenge de Curling de Gatineau.
As a warm-up for the GSOC Masters (October 24-29 in Lloydminster, Saskatchewan, with Smith facing Gushue, Ulsrud, Shuster and McEwen), it was a short-lived one – only lasting four games.
Defeats to Chandler and Allen tipped Smith onto the C-Road, where they beat Homan but then lost to Murphy to depart the competition – which saw the title go to Rui Liu of China, thanks to an 8-2 victory over Team De Cruz in the final.
One to forget about from a Smith perspective.
Also in Canada, Team Muirhead (Eve Muirhead, Anna Sloan, Vicki Adams, Lauren Gray) were in action in the Canad Inns Women’s Classic in Portage la Prairie, Manitoba.
Wins over Holland and McCarville put them within touching distance of the playoffs, only for Englot to beat them in the A-Road final.
Defeat to Carey put them on the C-Road, where the Scots got back to winning ways against Meilleur and Tirinzoni, but Einarson proved too strong in the C-Road final, winning 9-6 (despite threes from Muirhead in ends four and seven).
The competition was won by Team Roth of the USA, who beat Team Hasselborg 5-4 after an extra end in the final.
Muirhead, like Smith, are taking part in the Grand Slam in Lloydminster – they take on Sidorova, Flaxey, Sinclair and Hasselborg.
Back in Europe, there were three Scottish rinks at the EJCT Oslo event in Norway – with quite a contrast between the men’s and women’s outcomes.
Neither Team Bryce (Amy Bryce, Molly Keen, Layla Al-Saffar, Jane Barr) nor Team Morrison (Rebecca Morrison, Amy MacDonald, Hailey Duff, Leeanne McKenzie) were able to make it out of the group stage.
Bryce finished with a W1 L4 record, having beaten Moberg but lost to Dami (11-10, Bryce scoring six in the fourth end!), Tanner, Ramsfjell and Hoehne, while Morrison won two – against Mesloe and Norrlander – but lost three – to Halse, Loertscher and Keiser (the eventual winner of the event).
On the men’s side, however, Team Kinnear (Callum Kinnear, Duncan McFadzean, Ryan McCormack, Matthew McKenzie) got out of their section on W4 L1 – as they lost their opening game to Heinimann but then claimed victories over Nygren, Bjoernstad, Hermansson and Kringlebotn to make the playoffs.
There the wins just kept on coming, with Lochmann seen off 5-1 in the quarter-finals, and Ramsfjell 5-2 in the semis.
That means a rematch with Heinimann in the final, but there were no problems for Kinnear this time, as steals in ends three and five, then three in end seven, won them the match 6-1 and thereby the title.
The Kinnear rink were unfortunate not to make the playoffs at last season’s Scottish Championships, and here is more evidence of their exciting potential.
Finally, the Stirling Wheelchair International Invitational, at The Peak, saw eight of the world’s best wheelchair curling teams gather to compete.
Russia defeated Scotland 5-4 in the final, with Switzerland in third place.