‘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…
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.
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 – where 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.
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.