Team Flaxey win Perth Ladies International

perth ladies winners flaxey
TROPHY: Perth Ladies International winners Team Flaxey (pic: facebook.com/perthladiescct)

‘International‘ was the key word in this weekend’s Curling Champions Tour event in Perth, as none of the eight teams making it into the knockout stages were Scottish.

In the end Team Flaxey of Canada defeated Team Tirinzoni of Switzerland in the final to take the prize at the Dewars Centre.

More on that later, after a quick check on Team Murdoch’s early form at the World Men’s Curling Championship…

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Scotland are represented at the Ford World Men’s Curling Championship in Edmonton, Canada, by Team Murdoch – David Murdoch, Greg Drummond, Scott Andrews, Michael Goodfellow, Ross Paterson (alternate), Ian Tetley (coach).

Their opening match pitted them against Norway – for once not represented by Thomas Ulsrud’s rink, as Steffen Walstad’s quartet qualified in their place.

The Norwegians scored two in end two and three in end four, but the Scots grabbed two in the third end, two in the fifth and a steal in the sixth to tie it up at 5-5.

Twos in ends seven and 10, though, gave the game to Norway 9-6.

The Scots bounced back to W1 L1 against the USA – which was a tight game up to the eighth end, as the teams traded ones and twos, but a disastrous end eight from the Americans handed Scotland the chance to score five, which they made to win 9-4.

They followed that up with a 7-4 win over Japan, scoring twos in ends three and five, and stealing one in end six.

So with Canada topping the early standings on W3 L0, Scotland are one of six teams on W2 L1.

 

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Back to Scotland, and the EDF Energy City of Perth Ladies International, which involved 24 teams from across the world – eight of those Scottish.

None of the home nation’s representatives made it beyond the round robin stage – though Team Smith came closest, as they finished alongside Teams Tippin (Canada) and Wrana (Sweden) on W3 L2 in Section A, but the Canadians’ draw shot was better – just – so they progressed to the last eight alongside Team Tirinzoni of Switzerland.

Teams Flaxey (Canada) and Feltscher (Switzerland) qualified from Section B at the expense of the Scottish rinks of Karina Aitken and Hannah Fleming, plus Anna Fowler’s English team.

Section C featured Teams Gina Aitken and Muirhead – the latter having just won Worlds bronze in Beijing of course – but neither could finish in the top two in the group, as Teams Middaugh (Canada) and Sinclair (USA) made it through instead.

Finally, Section D saw Teams Fukisawa (Japan) and Fleury (Canada) progress.

Saturday night’s quarter-finals saw wins for Teams Flaxey (6-5 over Fleury), Feltscher (4-3 versus Fukisawa), Tirinzoni (8-4 over Sinclair) and Tippin (4-2 against Middaugh).

Two Canadian rinks and two Swiss made it Sunday’s matches then, where Flaxey scored three in end four, two in end seven and one in the eighth to beat Tippin 7-4, while the all-Swiss semi went to Tirinzoni 6-3, largely thanks to a steal in end two and two in end six.

The final began with four blank ends from Tirinzoni (who, it must be pointed out, were playing with only three players, so did incredibly well to make the final!), before Flaxey stole one in end five.

After the teams traded twos Tirinzoni was forced to one in end eight, meaning an extra end Рwhere Flaxey (Alli Flaxey, Clancy Grandy, Lynn Kreviazuk, Morgan Court) used hammer advantage to score two and win the game 5-3 to clinch the Champions Curling Tour event title.

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Finally, there were two other events in Scotland this weekend, starting with the National Virtual Club Challenge on Saturday in Braehead.

Sixteen teams took part, leading to a high road final between Stirling and Dundee 2 – which Dundee 2 (Neil Mackintosh, Steven Lafferty, George Dewar, Ally Donald, Jenni Lyall) won 4-1 to take the spoils.

Then on Sunday it was the Newcomers Trophy at Greenacres.

Twelve teams were involved, divided into purple and green sections, before a high road final contested by Teams Ryder and Maxwell – with the latter (Jay Maxwell, Callum McLain, Erin Furey) winning that decider 3-0 for the silverware.

Weekend round-up: Titles for Team Muirhead and Aitken/Mouat

Team Muirhead
Perth Ladies International winners – Eve Muirhead, Vicki Adams, Sarah Reid and Mairi Milne (photo: Tom J Brydone (facebook.com/brydoneimages))

There was Scottish success in two different curling disciplines this weekend, as Team Muirhead triumphed on home turf in the Perth Ladies International and Gina Aitken/Bruce Mouat won the Latvian Mixed Doubles Curling Cup II.

Muirhead’s victory was all the more special given their efforts in kick-starting the event (which gained greater exposure through live coverage on BBC Alba), and that they achieved it without Anna Sloan, who picked up an injury on the eve of the tournament.

Then there is the small matter of the start of the World Men’s Curling Championship, where Scotland are represented by Team Brewster…

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It’s Basel where we start – Scotland (Tom Brewster, Glen Muirhead, Ross Paterson, Hammy McMillan, Scott Andrews (alternate)) began World Men’s like a house on fire but at the time of writing they sit W2 L2.

They scored twos in ends two and five, stole three in end six and finished with a two in end nine to beat Korea 9-3, before overcoming Norway with two in end three and steals of one in ends seven and eight for a 6-3 win.

But they then lost 9-6 to Russia (four in end four and three in end six proving fatal) and, despite a four in end seven, gave up a steal of one in end 10 to lose 6-5 to Japan.

It’s a rut they need to get out of, and the fightback starts against Canada (!) at 1pm today – a game you can watch live here.

All scores throughout the tournament here, plus updates on the Roaring Game Blog Facebook and Twitter.

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The City of Perth Ladies International attracted teams from Canada, England, Germany, Japan, Norway, Russia, Sweden and Switzerland, as well as seven Scottish rinks.

Tirinzoni
Silvana Tirinzoni delivers (photo: Tom J Brydone)

That reflected the pulling power of Team Muirhead internationally, as did the impressive list of event/team sponsors and the live coverage by BBC Alba and the Curling Champions Tour on YouTube.

The competition started with four sections of five teams, with Section A won by Team Hasselborg of Sweden ahead of Team Sweeting of Canada.

Sweeting only narrowly edged Team Fowler of England to second spot, winning their head-to-head 6-5 after an extra end.

Muirhead Рwithout third Anna Sloan due to a knee injury, so Chelsea Duncan and then Mairi Milne subbed in, pushing Sarah Reid to second and Vicki Adams to third Рheaded Section B with four wins from four, ahead of Team Ogasawara of Japan.

Team Tirinzoni of Switzerland won all their round robin games to top Section C; Teams Barbezat (Switzerland) and Fleury (Canada) both finished W2 L2 – Fleury winning the tiebreaker 7-5.

And Section D saw Team Pätz of Switzerland qualify for the quarter-finals with four wins, followed by Team Driendl of Germany.

Come the last eight, Muirhead and Tirinzoni continued their impressive runs by beating Fleury (7-4) and Sweeting (4-3) respectively, but the other two group winners went out РHasselborg lost 6-4 to Driendl and Pätz were shocked 7-1 by Ogasawara.

In the semi-finals, Muirhead scored threes in ends one and three, then stole two in end seven, to beat Driendl 9-5, while Tirinzoni overcame Ogasawara 10-2 (four in end one, three in end two and two in end four).

The final was a predictably tight affair, both teams missing opportunities for twos at various points. But Muirhead controlled the scoring in the even ends, took a two in end four and sealed the one needed to win the game 5-4 and the title.

For more photos from the event, check out Brydone Images’ gallery here.

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There was also a title win for Scots abroad – after Judith and Lee McCleary came third in the Latvian Mixed Doubles Curling Cup I last weekend, Gina Aitken and Bruce Mouat took part in Latvian Mixed Doubles Curling Cup II.

Aitken/Mouat beat¬†Huembelin/Gubler of Switzerland 12-3, then¬†Trubańćs-Boginska/Purmalis of Latvia 11-1.

In round three, they lost 7-6 to Bryzgalova/Krushelnitskiy of Russia, but bounced back in rounds four and five to defeat Wang/Ba (China) 8-6 and Yu/Xu (also China) 7-3.

That set up a rematch with the Russian pair who’d beaten them previously, but this time Aitken/Mouat scored two in end two, then stole one in end three, four in end four and another one in end five to win 8-2!

aitken,mouat
Bruce Mouat and Gina Aitken (photo: facebook.com/LatvianMixedDoublesCurlingCup)

The win sets Aitken and Mouat up nicely for the World Mixed Doubles later this month.

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One of the teams Aitken/Mouat will face at Worlds in Karlstad will be Canada – represented by Jocelyn Peterman and Brett Gallant.

Thirty-six teams battled it out in the Canadian Mixed Doubles Championship in Saskatoon this weekend, with Peterman/Gallant overcoming Laura Crocker/Geoff Walker 12-8 in the final.

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Finally, several further events took place in Scotland over the weekend.

The National Virtual Club Challenge (involving RCCC ‘virtual clubs’ whose members are in their first two years of curling) took place in Braehead, involving 28 teams.

The final was contested by Stirling 1 and Forfar РStirling (Norman Ainslie, John Glass, Iona Paterson, Bob Sherrard, Laura Lee) winning 5-0 Рwhile third spot went to Dundee 2, who won 4-3 against Braehead 2 after an extra end.

And the Scottish Student Sport Curling Championships were held in Stranraer, with 16 teams taking part from Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Heriot Watt, Stirling and Strathclyde universities, plus a rink of graduates.

The high road final was won by Strathclyde 2 (Stuart Taylor, Robin McCall, Gavin Barr, Jayne Stirling), 8-1 against the graduates, while Edinburgh 5 (Andrew Johnston, Eilidh Yeats, Szymon Sacher, Rosie Duckworth) beat Glasgow 2 in the low road final, 5-4.

sss
High road winners, Strathclyde 2 (photo: Jayne Stirling)

 

Team North America win Continental Cup, Team Tirinzoni win Glynhill International

Curling’s Ryder Cup equivalent, the Continental Cup, was contested in Las Vegas – and it was Team North America who again took the title… though Team World ensured it went down to the wire. And there was another trophy for Team Tirinzoni…

Six men’s and six women’s teams from across the globe competed across four days of team, mixed doubles and skins games, each worth a certain point value in the race to 30.5 points.

Team North America were represented by Teams Koe, Simmons (both Canada) and Shuster (USA) on the men’s side, Teams Homan, Jones (both Canada) and Brown (USA) on the women’s.

As for Team World, their men’s teams were Zang (China), Ulsrud (Norway) and Edin (Sweden), while Ogasawara (Japan), Muirhead (Scotland) and P√§tz (Switzerland) made up the female side.

The opening round of team matches featured an extraordinary, topsy-turvy game between Teams Homan and Muirhead – Muirhead’s Scots sprinted into a 4-0 lead after three ends, Homan fought back and scored five in end seven when Eve Muirhead flashed twice, but Muirhead then secured the two in end eight that tied the game 8-8 and earned the teams a half point each.

Teams North America and World tied at 1.5 points apiece, it was onto the mixed doubles.

Thomas Ulsrud and Vicki Adams defeated Ben Hebert and Emma Miskew 8-6 (see that match below), and Torger Nergard and Eve Muirhead tied thanks to a three in end eight, but Christoffer Svae and Anna Sloan were beaten, so it was now three all.

The next team round saw Team World get two points to North America’s one (with wins for Edin and Zang), but Team North America were back ahead as Homan, Jones and Shuster swept the board in the third team round at the start of day two.

But Team World edged the second mixed doubles round, with wins for Pätz/Sundgren and Winkelhausen/Xu, and then it was their turn to pick up the maximum three points in the team round, Team Muirhead beating Brown 6-2 alongside wins for Edin and Ulsrud Рthat meant Team World led 10-8 at the end of day two.

Day three began with the third and final mixed doubles round, and the Continental Cup organisers decided to ditch the shot clock and music between points that gave the first two rounds added novelty factor but also seemed to confuse the competitors… good on them for experimenting, with mixed doubles on the up, but it¬†needs more thought.

With these mixed doubles games worth two points, momentum was with Team World – Sarah Reid and Havard Vad Petersson getting one of their two wins as they went 14-8 up – only for Jill Officer to make a great shot that clawed Team North America back to 14-10… it arguably acted as a turning point in the competition.

In the fifth team round, Jones defeated Muirhead as the Scots gave up a steal in end eight to lose 6-5, while Brown beat Ogasawara and Simmons tied with Ulsrud.

After the sixth team round – with wins for Homan and Koe for North America, Ulsrud for World – Team World’s lead was trimmed to 15.5-14.5 going into the final day, though Team North America would be without the Homan rink, who had to leave Vegas for the Ontario Scotties.

Day four¬†was all about skins games (rules explained here). Ulsrud¬†v¬†Simmons (mixed) and Ogasawara¬†v¬†Brown (women’s) both finished 2.5 points apiece, but Shuster got three to Zang’s two in the men’s game to draw the sides level at 22.5-22.5.

So, unlike last year where Team Canada steamrollered to victory, it came down to the final skins games with both sides having a genuine chance of lifting the Continental Cup.

Team Edin played a fine¬†men’s game against Team Koe, winning 4-1 after a draw to the button for the last 2.5 points, but Team Muirhead gave up steals in ends four and seven to lose 4-1 to Team Jones in the women’s match.

That meant the result hung on the Torger Nergard v John Morris mixed skins game. Morris started strong, Nergard’s team fought back, but in end eight Morris had the chance for two and the point Team North America needed for the cup… which he made!

So near yet so far for Team World, as the recent North American dominance of this event continues.

But with high quality games in a more relaxed atmosphere than the Grand Slams or major championships, it was a superb showcase of how fun and yet also tense curling can be. And an attendance of 62,524 (a US record) is perhaps the biggest positive of all for the sport.

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In Scotland, the Glynhill Ladies International took place in Braehead – read about Alan Sloan and his team of organisers here.

The Scottish teams taking part were the rinks of Gina Aitken, Karina Aitken, Hannah Fleming, Lauren Gray, Sophie Jackson and Katie Murray.

Murray made a fast start, with wins over Barbezat (6-2), Driendl (7-6) and Lundman (7-1), but defeats to Sidorova (8-3) and Hegner (6-4) saw them finish just shy of a quarter-final spot.

In fact none of the Scottish teams made the last eight, despite G. Aitken, Fleming, Gray and Jackson picking up a couple of wins apiece – Jackson’s 8-5 victory over Gray getting them third place in their section and a consolation competition place.

Team¬†√Ėstlund of Sweden won the consolation event, while the quarter-finals saw Team Tirinzoni beat fellow Swiss rink Maillard 8-2, Team Sigfridsson of Sweden defeat another Swiss rink, Hegner, 5-4, Russians Team Sidorova beat Team Nielsen of Denmark 6-4, and Team Wrana of Sweden see off Koreans Team Kim 7-1.

In the semi-finals, Tirinzoni beat Sidorova 7-3 and Sigfridsson saw off compatriots Wrana 8-5, which set up a repeat of the previous¬†weekend’s Bernese Ladies Cup final.

And again it was Tirinzoni who emerged victorious (Sigfridsson being down to three players due to Maria Prytz being unwell), continuing their current hot streak with an 8-2 win and the Glynhill title.

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The Dutch Masters Mixed Doubles also took place this weekend, with Scotland represented by Lee and Judith McCleary – one of 20 teams in five groups of four.

They topped their group, beating Switzerland’s first team 6-3, the third Dutch team 18-0 and then Belgium 16-0.

But in the quarter-finals they were drawn against the current World Mixed Doubles champions, Zsolt Kiss and Dorottya Palancsa of Hungary, and the Hungarians triumphed 7-5 to make the last four.

Ultimately it was Kiss and Palancsa who won the Dutch Masters title, beating Russia’s Petr Dron and Victoria Moiseeva¬†10-6 in the final.

Weekend round-up: Perth Masters and Bernese Ladies Cup

Curling was back with a vengeance after the festive break, with Scotland hosting a¬†top class¬†line-up of men’s teams at the Perth Masters, while the International Bernese Ladies Cup took place in Switzerland.

The 40th edition of the Perth Masters attracted rinks from across the world (Canada, Finland, Japan, the Netherlands, Sweden and the USA among the countries represented), and there was live coverage on BBC Alba as well as the Curling Champions Tour YouTube channel.

There were also eight Scottish teams involved – Teams Brewster, Brydone, MacDonald, Mouat, Murdoch, Shaw, Smith and Taylor.

In a triple knock-out format (A, B and C-Roads, with teams needing to win enough¬†matches to make the playoffs before they’d lost three), it was the high class duo of Team Koe (Canada) and Team Ulsrud (Norway) who qualified directly via the A-Road.

Team Murdoch (David Murdoch, Greg Drummond, Scott Andrews, Michael Goodfellow) carried on their good form from the end of 2015 to qualify via the B-Road, beating Teams Ramsfjell 5-3, Brown 5-4 and Schwaller 6-5, losing 6-1 to Koe, then defeating Brown again 6-1 and Attinger 4-1.

Teams Brydone, MacDonald, Shaw, Smith and Taylor recorded some good wins between them, but by the time of the C-Road finals it was just Teams Brewster and Mouat left standing.

Brewster (Tom Brewster, Glen Muirhead, Ross Paterson, Hammy McMillan) had lost 7-4 to Rantamaki, beaten Stukalskiy 7-3 and lost 5-2 to Attinger in the first five draws, so needed to reel off four straight wins – and they did, against Baumann (6-5), Hoiberg (4-3), Rantamaki (5-3) and De Cruz (3-2).

Mouat (Bruce Mouat, Gregor Cannon, Bobby Lammie, Duncan Fraser) also lost twice early on – 7-3 to Hoiberg and 7-4 to Wrana – but like Brewster they produced four consecutive victories – over Sik (9-3), Taylor (5-4), Van Dorp (7-4) and Heidt (6-2).

In the quarter finals, there was an all-Scottish clash between Brewster and Murdoch – the latter coming out on top 6-1, with a two in end one and four in end six.

Mouat faced Norwegian powerhouse Ulsrud and initally held their own Рit was 2-2 after four ends Рbut the former world champion then pulled away with a four in end five and steal of two in end six to win 8-2.

Ulsrud also dispatched Murdoch, their semi final opening with a two in end one for the Norwegians. They stole a single in end five and ran Murdoch out of stones in end eight for a 4-2 victory.

The final was played between the two A-Road qualifiers – Koe and Ulsrud – and it was 4-4 after four ends, Koe picking up a three in end three and Ulsrud a couple of twos.

It was the Canadians who clinched the title though, scoring two in end six and stealing one in end seven to win the game 7-4 and with it £6,500.

The event was a notable success, with great facilities and atmosphere, and high class curling.

The coverage on the BBC was a massive boost and although it would have been good to see more Scottish teams featured in live games РMacDonald, Mouat and Smith missed out, for example Рthose that were shown reflected the truly international flavour of the event, and it will hopefully be a precedent for curling coverage in Scotland.

All the commentators brought extra enjoyment to the event – personally I found David Hay to be particularly excellent, both engaging and insightful.

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Four Scottish rinks took part in the International Bernese Ladies Cup – Teams G. Aitken, Fleming, Gray and Muirhead.

Like the Perth Masters, this was a triple knock-out competition, and Team Aitken (Gina Aitken, Rowena Kerr, Laura Ritchie, Heather Morton) lost their opening three games to drop into the Consolation Cup – there they beat Regza 7-4 but then lost their next match 6-3 to Hegner.

Team Fleming (Hannah Fleming, Lorna Vevers, Alice Spence, Abi Brown) won their first couple of matches, 8-1 against Schöpp and 8-6 against Sigfridsson, but dropped to the B-Road after a 6-3 loss to Sidorova.

There Рafter beating Nielsen 6-5 Рthey met Team Gray (Lauren Gray, Jen Dodds, Vicky Wright, Mhairi Baird), who had previously lost 5-2 to Jäggi but then beaten Regza 4-1, Fujisawa 7-4 and Barbezat 6-4.

Fleming came out on top of the all-Scottish tie, stealing at the last to win 6-5 Рand Gray were then eliminated after a 5-3 loss to Feltscher. That meant the Consolation Cup, where they beat Maillard 9-7 but lost 8-1 to Hasselborg.

Meanwhile Fleming were beaten 6-5 by Ogasawara to fall again onto the C-Road and looked to be heading out when they went 6-2¬†down to¬†√Ėstlund, only for a remarkable comeback which saw them steal three in end eight to win 8-6¬†and make the quarter finals.

Team Muirhead (Eve Muirhead, Anna Sloan, Vicki Adams, Sarah Reid) suffered a surprising loss to Stern in their opening game, 9-4, but bounced back by beating Dupont 7-2, Sigfridsson 8-1, Feltscher 9-5 and Hasselborg 10-6.

They then had a narrow defeat to Kim, 8-7, but secured a playoff spot after victory over Barbezat, 5-3.

In the quarter finals, Fleming were beaten 6-4 by Kim, while Muirhead were involved in a tight match – and repeat of the 2015 European Championship women’s final – against Sidorova, only to come out on the wrong side of a 5-4 scoreline.

The event was won by Swiss rink Tirinzoni, who saw off Sigfridsson (who had surprisingly beaten Sidorova in the semis) in the final, 5-3.

Fleming can reflect favourably on their run to the last eight after a tough opening half of the season, while for Muirhead it was a bit of a disappointment, but they did well given their skip was suffering a nasty cold (!) and it was good match practice before their trip to Las Vegas as part of Team World for the Continental Cup.

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Across the Atlantic, the TSN Skins events saw three days of play involving the cream of¬†Canada’s curling crop.

In the women’s competition, Sweeting defeated Homan via a draw to the button and Jones saw off Rocque – Jones then beat Sweeting in the final to win¬†$54,000 in total.

As for the men, Gushue beat Simmons and Jacobs defeated McEwen. Jacobs ran out overall champions and pocketed $71,000 overall.

For in-depth coverage of the All-Star Skins, check out Twine-Time’s very entertaining blog posts here.

Women’s Masters Basel: Playoff pain for Teams Fleming and Muirhead

The two Scottish teams at the Women’s Masters Basel took very different routes to the last eight, but there was defeat for Team Fleming in the quarter finals and Team Muirhead in the semis.

While Team Muirhead (Eve Muirhead, Anna Sloan, Vicki Adams, Sarah Reid) won all three of their games on the opening day to book a spot in Sunday’s playoffs, Team Fleming (Hannah Fleming, Lorna Vevers, Alice Spence, Abi Brown) had to fight their way through the C-road to make it.

Team Muirhead secured their quarter-final place with wins over Team Hegner of Switzerland (3-2) and the Swedish teams Hasselborg (6-2) and Sigfridsson (8-7).

For Team Fleming, Friday was a more up-and-down day. After beating Team Palancsa of Hungary 6-3, they were beaten 8-5 by the Russians Team Sidorova.

That knocked them down to the B-road, and that soon became the C-road after a 6-4 loss to Team Dupont of Denmark.

Another defeat on Saturday would see them eliminated, but they kept their cool and recorded wins over Teams Stern of Switzerland (8-4) and Nielsen of Denmark (5-2).

That set up a decisive match on Saturday evening against Team Moiseeva of Russia Рand it was Team Fleming who made it into the last eight, a steal of four in end two crucial in their 7-2 win.

While Team Fleming were fighting for survival, Team Muirhead were playing a skins game against one of the other direct quarter-final qualifiers, Team Tirinzoni, which you can watch here¬†– if you’re unfamiliar with the rules of skins play, watching a game is the best way to get to grips with it.

Team Muirhead took the first five skins, and 1,500 Swiss francs, before Tirinzoni finished the game by claiming the sixth skin and with it 600 Swiss francs.

Onto Sunday, and the playoffs. Team Muirhead were forced into a change due to Sarah Reid suffering a¬†‘lower body¬†injury’, so organising committee member Janine Greiner came in at lead for their match with Team P√§tz.

Team Muirhead looked in trouble when they gave up three in end five, but they responded with a three of their own in end six and won the game 5-4.

Team Fleming were unable to follow them into the semi finals, however, going down 5-2 to in-form GSOC Tour Challenge winners Team Tirinzoni.

The last four saw Team Muirhead paired with Team Sidorova, and it was the Russians who came out on top, a steal of one in end five proving pivotal as they won 5-4.

Team Sidorova went on to win the title, coming from 4-0 down to beat Tirinzoni with a three in end eight securing an unlikely 7-6 victory. Watch that final here.

So having both impressed this weekend, Teams Fleming and Muirhead now focus on the European qualifiers from Wednesday.

Can Team Fleming carry their good form into those playdowns and give real concern to Team Muirhead, for whom Sarah Reid is now an injury doubt?