Teams Fleming and McNay take the plaudits

TeamFleming-Perthshire Picture Agency - Graeme Hart
SMILES: Team Fleming. Pic: British Curling/Graeme Hart (Perthshire Picture Agency)

Team McNay emerged victorious at the Dumfries Open, while over in Switzerland Team Fleming reached the semi-finals of the Women’s Masters Basel.

The weekend also saw the Scottish Curling Senior Mixed Championship take place, and Scotland (Team Hardie) begin their campaign at the World Mixed Curling Championship.

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The Women’s Masters Basel involved two Scottish rinks – Teams Fleming (Hannah Fleming, Jen Dodds, Alice Spence, Vicky Wright) and Muirhead (Eve Muirhead, Anna Sloan, Vicki Adams, Lauren Gray).

Fleming took the simplest possible route to the playoffs, as wins over Witschonke, Norberg and Matsumura sent them straight into the quarter-finals.

Muirhead – the reigning champions – also began well, with victories against Widmer and Hegner, but a loss to Fujisawa (giving up three steals in the last four ends) knocked them down onto the B-Road.

A second defeat, to Sidorova, followed, but Muirhead then beat Widmer again and Sigfridsson to set up a last-eight clash with Fleming.

The all-Scottish match went Fleming’s way, as they scored twos in ends three and five and one in end eight to win 5-4, and Muirhead’s title defence was over.

Having put so much into that match, though, things rapidly fell apart for Fleming against Feltscher in the semi-finals… the Swiss rink winning 8-1.

The final went the way of Bingyu Wang’s rink, the Chinese team beating Feltscher 9-3 to claim the title.

For Hannah Fleming, who had not beaten Muirhead since 2013, this win (and overall tournament performance) will give her and her team-mates hope of narrowing the gap to their Scottish friends and rivals as the season goes on.

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The second event in this year’s Goldline Scottish Curling Tour, the Dumfries Open, saw 10 teams take part – initially separated into two pools of five.

Team Jamieson topped Pool A with four straight wins, while Team Gallacher clinched Pool B and the other direct route into the semi-finals.

To see who would join them, Bryce met Taylor and McNay faced Pougher of Wales in the quarter-finals – which went the way of Bryce (8-3) and McNay (7-5).

Both of those rinks then won in the last four, Bryce seeing off Jamieson 7-4 and McNay breezing past Gallacher 7-1.

The final was a see-saw affair, with Bryce stealing their way into a 3-0 lead but McNay scoring three in the third end to level, before the teams traded singles up to end seven, where McNay scored two.

Bryce were forced to one in the eighth end, taking the game into an extra end, but McNay held hammer and scored one to win 7-6 – meaning it was they (Cameron McNay, David Baird, Robin McCall, Gavin Barr) who took the title.

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The Scottish Curling Senior Mixed Championship was held at Stranraer Ice Rink over the weekend, again with 10 teams in two groups.

The round robin stage ended with Teams Adam, Cannon, Kesley and McQueen making the semi-finals.

There, Adam beat McQueen 9-2 and Cannon overcame Kesley 8-5, setting up a final which was won 6-5 after an extra end by Adam (Graeme Adam, Alison McLennan, Stuart Wilson, Carolyn Hibberd).

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There were 16 teams involved in the first Asham Under-14 Slam of the season at intu Braehead.

The final saw Team Munro (Robyn Munro, Findlay Hare, Rory Dodds, Ben Kyle) beat Braehead Rockers 5-3 in four ends.

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Finally, at the World Mixed Curling Championship 2017, in Champéry, Switzerland, Scotland (Grant Hardie, Rhiann Macleod, Billy Morton, Barbara McFarlane) have two wins and a loss so far.

They opened with wins over Spain and Ireland, only to then lose 6-5 after an extra end to Korea.

Their next match sees them face Denmark; you can stay up to date with the scores from the tournament here.

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Teams Mouat and Jackson victorious at Scottish Juniors

winners
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…

Weekend round-up: Titles for Scots home and away

It was a busy weekend before Christmas for Scottish curlers, with Team Murdoch taking the Karuizawa International title in Japan while their compatriots battled each other in Dumfries and Lockerbie.

Team Murdoch (David Murdoch, Greg Drummond, Scott Andrews, Michael Goodfellow) joined men’s teams from Belarus, Canada, Germany, Norway and Sweden, as well as Japan and South Korea, at the Karuizawa International, with 15 rinks divided into three pools.

Murdoch began with a 9-2 win over Team Fukui of Japan, scoring three in end three and four in end six, before a 7-4 victory against Team Matsumura, again of Japan, with threes in ends two and four.

Further wins, 7-6 against Team Hoiberg of Norway and 5-3 over Team Baumann of Germany, sent Murdoch directly into the semi-finals.

There they faced Team Soo-Hyuk Kim of South Korea, and the Scots came out on top 6-4, with twos in ends one and five.

The final was contested between Murdoch and Team Simmons of Canada, and again Murdoch scored two in end one.

But Simmons came back with two in the sixth, and the game went to an extra end tied at 3-3.

Murdoch held hammer, though, and got the one required to win the competition – ending the week undefeated and with impetus to take into 2016.

The women’s competition was won by Team Ogasawara of Japan, who saw off compatriots Team Fujisawa 5-4 in the title decider.

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The latest Curling Champions Tour event, the Lely Challenge Series, was held at the Dumfries Ice Bowl – with both men’s and women’s titles up for grabs.

The men’s competition saw 16 teams divided into four sections, the first seeing Team Hardie finish top, ahead of Team Smith in second.

Section 2 was headed up by Team Mouat, ahead of Team Hamilton, while Section 3 saw Teams Bryce and Van Dorp as the top two.

Finally, Section 4 produced Team Brewster and Team Thune as qualifiers for the playoffs.

In the quarter-finals, Bryce defeated Hamilton 7-4, Hardie were 4-3 winners over Thune, Mouat saw off Van Dorp 9-5 and Brewster edged Smith 5-4 after an extra end.

Then, in the semi-finals, Brewster won 5-3 against Bryce with a three in end one, while Mouat defeated Hardie 6-2, largely thanks to steals of two in ends three and four.

So the final pitted last year’s winners Brewster (Tom Brewster, Glen Muirhead, Ross Paterson, Hammy McMillan) against Mouat (Bruce Mouat, Duncan Menzies, Bobby Lammie, Gregor Cannon, Angus Dowell).

Mouat started with a two in end one but Brewster stole ones in ends three and four to lead 3-2, before another two for Mouat in end five.

The game was 4-4 going into end eight, and Mouat scored one with hammer to claim the title.

Bruce Mouat told British Curling: “It’s been a really good week, winning [the Scottish Mixed Doubles] last weekend, then having two exams this week that went OK ahead of this.

“The guys played really well this weekend. I’m thankful that each and every one of them played really well. We got to know the ice.”

“It’s a great way to finish the year and we’ll be looking to come back with guns blazing as we have a really hectic February, March and April coming up.”

The 15 women’s teams were divided into three groups, the first one being headed by Teams Gisler and Rilea.

Group 2 saw Teams Driendl and Maillard qualify, while it was Teams Gray and Fleming who made it out of Group 3.

Driendl and Gisler went straight into the semi-finals, but the remaining four playoff teams faced off in quarter-finals – Gray beat Rilea 5-1 and Maillard beat Fleming 8-3.

Come the semis, there were wins for Gray, 6-5 against Driendl, and Maillard, 4-3 over Gisler.

The final, then, was between Gray (Lauren Gray, Jennifer Dodds, Vicky Wright, Mhairi Baird) and Maillard (Isabelle Maillard, Andrea Marx, Fabienne Furbringer, Bettina Bouhel).

And it was Gray’s Scottish rink who came out on top, scoring twos in ends three and five on their way to a 6-4 victory.

Skip Lauren Gray said: “It came down to the last shot with a hit and roll to win and another good team performance in a tight game.

“It’s our first competition that we’ve won as a team against good international teams so it’s been a great weekend.

“It’s our second season together and we’re starting to make our games tighter and we need to keep building on that, but we’re progressing quite fast and we’re really pleased to get a team win.”

Team Gray With Dumfries Challenger Series Trophy - David Owen
Team Gray with the trophy – photo: David Owen

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The final leg of the Asham U21 Slam took place in Lockerbie this weekend, with 10 junior men’s teams (including three from Denmark, England and the Netherlands) in two groups and eight women’s teams (also with one from Denmark), again divided into two groups.

Men’s Group A was topped by Team McNay (Cameron McNay, Fin Campbell, Ryan McCormack, Angus Bryce) ahead of Team Carson (Luke Carson, George Ballentyne, James Craik, Mark Taylor).

The second group saw Teams Joiner (Craig Joiner, Euan MacDiarmid, Robin McCall, Craig Patterson) and Whyte (Ross Whyte, James Baird, Gavin Baird, Euan Kyle, David Baird) qualify.

In the semi-finals, Joiner stole ones in ends six, seven and eight to beat Carson 6-3, while McNay versus Whyte went to an extra end before McNay scored their one with hammer to win 5-4.

The final was a more one-sided affair, McNay scoring twos in ends two and four and stealing three in end six to defeat Joiner 8-1 and claim the title, while in the third/fourth place match Whyte won 7-2.

Junior Women’s Group A saw Teams Murray (Katie Murray, Rebecca Morrison, Hailey Duff, Mili Smith) and Bryce (Amy Bryce, Lauren Morgan, Leeanne McKenzie, Rebecca Baird) progress.

Teams Young (Lesley Young, Beth Dandie, Kathryn Spain, Jane Barr) and Davie (Lisa Davie, Kirsty Barr, Emma Barr, Annabel Skuse) were the qualifiers from Group B.

Come the semi-finals, Young scored two in end one and stole one in end four on their way to beating Bryce 6-4, while Murray stole ones in ends four and five to see off Davie 4-1.

Murray went on to clinch the title by beating Young 8-3 in the final, courtesy of a two in end one, four in end four and two in end six – while Bryce won the third/fourth playoff 5-4.