Team Smith triumph at Oakville OCT Fall Classic

smith oakville
Team Smith: Kyle Smith, Thomas Muirhead, coach Viktor Kjall, Kyle Waddell, Cammy Smith (photo courtesy of Jonathan Brazeau/Sportsnet)

Team Smith claimed the Oakville OCT Fall Classic men’s title and $3,000 prize money by defeating Team McCormick of the USA 7-2 in the final.

While fellow Scots Team Mouat exited with a W1 L3 record at the pool stage of the World Curling Tour event in Ontario, Smith went unbeaten throughout.

Back across the Atlantic, meanwhile, there was double Scottish success at the Braehead Junior International – Teams Bryce and Jackson winning the boys’ and girls’ competitions respectively in their first competitions after line-up changes.

***

Team Smith (Kyle Smith, Thomas Muirhead, Kyle Waddell, Cammy Smith) came into the Oakville OCT Fall Classic off the back of a run to the quarter-finals at the Baden Masters in Switzerland, and hit their stride in Canada straight away.

They began the round robin pool stage by beating Team Birr 4-2 (with a pivotal steal of one in end five), then saw off Team Ferris 6-3 with a three in end eight.

Passage to the quarter-finals was secured with two further victories, against Team Balsdon 8-4 (threes in ends four and eight) and Team Murphy (three in end six).

Team Mouat (Bruce Mouat, Bobby Lammie, Derrick Sloan, Gregor Cannon), in contrast to Smith, altered their line-up over the summer (Sloan coming in) and this was their first competition of the 2016-17 season.

They opened with a 7-4 loss to Team Brown, giving up a four in end two, before enjoying a comfortable 8-1 win over Team Stewart, stealing four in end seven.

However, narrow defeats to Team Krell (7-6) and Team McCormick (8-7) saw them exit the competition on a W1 L3 record. They don’t have to wait long to put that behind them though – they’re back in action this coming weekend, in Stu Sells Oakville Tankard tier 2.

In the quarter-finals, Smith started poorly, giving up a steal of two in end one versus Team Deruelle, but responded with a two and then a massive steal of five. The match was over after six ends, Smith the winners 8-4.

The semi-finals pitted them against Team Gardner, and the Canadians were 2-1 up after four ends. Smith scored one in end six and stole two in end seven, and although Gardner scored two in end eight, it was the Scots who took their one in the extra end to win 5-4 and make the final.

There they faced McCormick of the USA – both rinks reaching the final with W6 L0 records. But it was Smith who started like an express train, scoring two in end one and stealing singles in ends two and three.

The Americans got on the board with two in end four, but ones for Smith in ends five, six and seven handed them a 7-2 victory, $3,000 and precious tour ranking points.

Skip Kyle Smith said: “I’m really pleased with how we played. The ice has been really good and we played as well as we could really.”

Smith will look to carry this early season winning form into the Stu Sells Oakville Tankard next weekend, joined in tier 1 by fellow Scots Brewster and Murdoch.

The Oakville OCT Fall Classic women’s title was won by Team Hasselborg, who overcame Team Wrana 6-2 in an all-Swedish final.

***

bryce braehead jnrs
Team Bryce: Cameron Bryce, Robin Brydone, Euan Kyle, Frazer Shaw (photo: Leslie Ingram-Brown)

In Scotland, the opening European Junior Curling Tour event of the season took place – the Braehead Junior International, which involved 12 boys’ teams and eight girls’.

Team Bryce (Cameron Bryce, Robin Brydone, Euan Kyle, Frazer Shaw) topped Pool A on the boys’ side, thanks to wins over Muskatewitz (6-1), Lottenbach (8-1) and Foss (7-2), plus peels against Ramsfjell (4-4) and Carson (6-6).

That meant they went straight into the semi-finals, whereas Teams Ramsfjell (Norway) and Carson (Luke Carson, James Carswell, George Ballantyne, Mark Taylor) finished second and third in the group and so proceeded to quarter-finals.

Pool B was won by Team Whyte (Ross Whyte, Callum Kinnear, Ryan McCormack, Duncan McFadzean), who won against Teams Schnider (8-2), Haswell (8-3), Myran (6-1) and Hoesli (7-5), and lost to Hess (5-3).

Team Haswell (Blair Haswell, Adam Keron, Cameron Paterson, Adam MacDiarmid), despite a 6-5 win over Hess of Switzerland, finished bottom of the group – Swiss rinks Hess and Schnider made it into the quarters.

On the girls’ side, the pool was headed by three Swiss teams – Witschonke, Stritt and Keiser. Scottish Teams Aitken (Karina Aitken, Rebecca Morrison, Hailey Duff, Laura Barr) and MacDonald (Amy MacDonald, Ellie Hamilton, Amy Bryce, Layla Al-Saffar) finished on W2 D1 L2 records to sit fourth and fifth.

Behind them, defending champions Team Jackson (Sophie Jackson, Naomi Brown, Mili Smith, Sophie Sinclair) squeezed into the quarter-finals having won two (against Davie and Keiser) and lost three (to MacDonald, Witschonke and Stritt).

In the quarter-finals, Hess scored three in end six in beating Carson 6-1, while Ramsfjell defeated Schnider 8-4. As for the girls, Aitken scored three in end four to overcome MacDonald 5-4, while Jackson got two in end two and stole two in end five to defeat Keiser, also 5-4.

Bryce started their boys’ semi-final against Hess with a bang, scoring four in end one, adding a steal of three in end four to win 8-4. Whyte, meanwhile, scored twos in ends five and seven to beat Ramsfjell 5-2.

In the girls’ semis, Jackson were on a roll now and they overcame Stritt 7-4 (having been 4-1 down, they scored three in end six, stole two in end seven and another one in end eight); Aitken were unable to join them in the final, though, giving up two in end four and a steal of one in end five to lose 5-3 to Swiss junior champions Witschonke.

The boys’ final pitted two Scottish teams against each other, and Whyte stole two in end three to lead 3-1. Bryce responded with two in end four, then a steal of one in end six.

Whyte scored two in end seven, but Bryce replied with two of their own in the last end to win the match 6-5 and claim the title.

There was also Scottish success in the women’s final. Witschonke led 2-1 at halfway, but Jackson scored two in end five and stole two in end six for a 6-5 win – a remarkable success given their line-up change and their slow start to the competition, only just making the knockout stages.

Hess won the boys’ third/fourth playoff 5-4 against Ramsfjell, while Stritt beat Aitken 4-3 in the girls’ playoff.

For more photos from the event, and video interviews with skips Cameron Bryce, Sophie Jackson, Ross Whyte and Selina Witschonke, visit the event’s Facebook page here.

Advertisements

Greenacres Junior International: Teams Whyte and Aitken triumph

The first Asham Under-21 Slam event of the season brought success for two Royal Caledonian Curling Club Academy sides, Teams Whyte (in the men’s competition) and Aitken (women’s).

The event, held at Greenacres Curling Rink, Howwood, involved nine men’s teams, split into two pools, and six women’s teams – a round robin format being followed by semi finals and finals.

Team Barr (Grant Barr, Kerr Sands, George McConnell and Thomas Halder) topped Group A with three wins and a tie.

They were joined in qualifying for the semi finals by Team Brydone (Robin Brydone, Callum Kinnear, Callum Greenwood, Craig Waddell), who had a record of won three, lost one.

The qualifiers from Group B were Team Whyte (Ross Whyte, James Baird, Gavin Barr, Euan Kyle, David Baird), on three wins from three, and Team Carson (Luke Carson, George Ballantyne, James Craig, Mark Taylor), on two wins and one loss.

The women’s group was headed up by Team Aitken (Karina Aitken, Amy MacDonald, Sophie Sinclair, Laura Barr), who won four and drew one of their round robin games, followed by Team Murray (Rebecca Morrison, Hailey Duff, Mili Smith – and, with Katie Murray being at the World Mixed Curling Championship in Switzerland, Mairi MacDonald), on four wins and one loss.

Also making the last four were Team Bryce (this weekend being skipped by Lauren Morgan, with Leeanne McKenzie, Jenni Cannon, Becca Baird), on won three and lost two, and Team Young (Lesley Young, Beth Dandie, Kathryn Spain, Jane Barr), who won two, lost two and drew one.

The men’s semi finals pitted Team Barr against Team Carson, and it was Carson who triumphed, scoring five in end five on their way to a 9-3 victory.

The other semi was between Teams Brydone and Whyte, and again the Group B side came out on top, but it was much closer.

Despite a score of four by Whyte in end seven, the game was level at 5-5 after eight – in the extra end, Whyte took one to win the match 6-5.

The women’s semi finals saw wins for Team Aitken over Team Young (7-6, largely thanks to steals in ends five, six and seven) and Team Bryce against Team Murray (10-9, with a stolen point in an extra end).

Team Whyte had only just beaten Team Carson (8-7) in the group stage, but they had a firm grip on their encounter in the men’s final after four ends, leading 4-1.

That was too big a gap to be bridged, and it was Whyte who claimed the tournament win with a result of 6-4.

The women’s final, by contrast, went to an extra end as Teams Aitken and Bryce could not be separated at 6-6 after eight.

Team Aitken needed to steal for victory and they did just that, coming through 7-6.

Team Barr won the men’s third place match 6-4, and Team Murray claimed the women’s 3/4 by a score of 5-4.

The next Under-21 Slam (four events designed as a performance pathway for junior curlers, with tournament experience and competing for prize money) is the Kinross Junior Classic on October 2-4.