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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
Teams Bryce and Muirhead won titles on the European curling circuit, while Team Hardie continued their impressive start to the season at the Dumfries Open.
Muirhead came out on top at the Women’s Masters Basel, having knocked out Team Fleming in the semi-finals, while Bryce were dominant at the EJCT Livechannel Cup in Sweden.
Other results saw Team Wilson win the Scottish Senior Mixed Championship, and Team Gallacher claim the Forfar U14 Slam.
The candidates to represent Scotland on the women’s side of the European Championships in November were both involved at the Women’s Masters Basel.
After Team Fleming’s (Hannah Fleming, Jen Dodds, Alice Spence, Vicky Wright) superior performance at the Stockholm Ladies Cup, this time it was Team Muirhead (Eve Muirhead, Kelly Schafer, Vicki Adams, Lauren Gray) who had the edge.
In the triple knockout format, Fleming lost their first match to Team Schöpp of Germany, 6-5 after an extra end, and looked like losing again when 6-2 down to Team Barbezat (Switzerland) after six ends, only to score three in end seven and steal singles in end eight and the extra to win it 7-6.
They then overcame two more Swiss rinks, Team Stern and Team Mani (both 6-4), and secured playoff qualification by beating Team Sigfridsson of Sweden 5-2, with twos in ends one and six.
As for Muirhead, they began with routine wins over Team Maillard (Switzerland), 4-1, and Team Matsumura of Japan, 6-2, to move one victory away from a playoff spot.
But against Team Kim of Korea they were 4-0 down after two ends and couldn’t bring that back, beaten 7-4 to drop to the B-Road – where they suffered a second successive loss, 5-2 against Team Sidorova of Russia.
Two wins required on the C-Road, then, and two wins secured. First they beat Matsumura again, 5-4 this time, and then Barbezat 6-5 with twos in the first and sixth ends.
We did it the tough way with lots of games ☺️ but we've booked our spot in the playoffs here @WMBCurling Quarters 8am tomorrow morning 👍
So after a qualification stage full of shocks – Teams Kim, Kubeskova and Schöpp going through as the A-Road qualifiers, and Teams Feltscher, Hasselborg and Tirinzoni making early exits – it was time for the quarter-finals.
Fleming, facing Sidorova, got off to a dream start with a four in end one and steal of one in end two. The Russians fought back hard but Fleming held on to win 7-5.
Muirhead faced Kubeskova of the Czech Republic, and scored two in end four and four in end six to win 7-5, setting up an all-Scottish semi-final against Fleming.
The match started with Muirhead holding Fleming in a vice-like grip, stealing one in end one. In the second end, Hannah Fleming was forced to draw against four and came up short, meaning Muirhead led 5-0 after two.
The teams then exchanged singles, before another steal of two for Muirhead in end five. Fleming took two in end six, and shook hands to concede the game at 8-3.
Good win this morning against sidorova but poor performance in the semi vs @Team_Muirhead puts us out. Good luck to them in the final
After two runner-up finishes in Canada, it was third time lucky for Muirhead in coming out on top in this final for their first title of the season.
Eve Muirhead said: “This weekend in Basel especially showed our grit and determination as a team to keep going and not give up.
“We battled through the C road with lots of games and really brought our A game to the playoffs, which is crucial.
“Delighted to win this event – first Scottish team to do so – and it brings us great confidence moving in to next weekend.”
Team Bryce, who have had a superb start to the season especially given their line-up changes, were in Harnosand, Sweden, for the EJCT Livechannel Cup.
Bryce (Cameron Bryce, Robin Brydone, Euan Kyle, Frazer Shaw) won their opening group stage match 8-1 against Team Foss of Norway, scoring four in end three and stealing two in end six.
They followed that with two more wins, both against Swedish rinks – 12-1 over Team Kohn (four in end one, threes in ends three and six) and 9-1 against Team Engqvist (four in end four and two in end five).
That put them directly into the semi-finals, where they beat Team Nygren (Sweden) 6-1 with a steal of one in end two and twos in ends five and six.
Team Lottenbach of Switzerland were Bryce’s opponents in the final (video here), and they took one with hammer in the first end – only for the Scots to take two in end two, then steal two more in end three.
Another steal put Bryce 5-1 up, the match ending 6-2, which made Bryce the men’s champions, Team Sundberg of Sweden taking the women’s title.
In what was a very busy weekend for Scottish curling, we also had the Dumfries Open, the second event on the Scottish Curling Tour, with 18 teams split into three pools.
Section 1 was headed up by Teams Jamieson and Mouat, Section 2 by Teams Hardie, Aitken and Taylor, and Section 3 by Teams Whyte, Pougher and Ward.
In the quarter-finals, defending champions Hardie saw off Taylor 6-1, while Whyte overcame Pougher’s Welsh men 8-4.
The other quarter-finals were particularly close. Mixed doubles partners Gina Aitken and Bruce Mouat went toe-to-toe before Mouat eventually prevailed 6-4, while senior rink Jamieson scored three in end eight to take victory against Ward’s English women after a see-saw affair.
In the last four, Hardie (Grant Hardie, Blair Fraser, Duncan Menzies, David Reid) scored a narrow 4-3 victory over Mouat (Bruce Mouat, Bobby Lammie, Derrick Sloan, Alasdair Schreiber), courtesy of a two in end two and taking one with hammer in end eight.
In the other semi, Whyte (Ross Whyte, Callum Kinnear, Ryan McCormack, Duncan McFadzean) stole their way to a 2-0 lead after three versus Jamieson (Willie Jamieson, Tom Pendreigh, Gary McFarlane, Jean Lesperance) before taking two in end six en route to a 5-3 win.
Aitken and Ward, meanwhile, faced off in the women’s final, Aitken taking the victory against their English opponents 8-6.
And so the Dumfries Open title would go to Hardie or Whyte – and what a final it would be.
Hardie scored two in end one and three in end three to lead 5-1, but Whyte hit back with twos in ends four and six, before stealing two in end seven to lead 7-6 after a sensational comeback.
It was Hardie holding hammer in end eight, though, and skip Grant Hardie drew the four-foot to score two and win the game 8-7.
It’s a repeat performance by Hardie, claiming both the Braehead Open and Dumfries Open titles, just as they did last season!
For Whyte, it’s a fourth appearance in a final so far this season… and a fourth runner-up finish. Such consistency will find its reward sooner rather than later.
Unfortunately it was another second place for us today but on the whole happy with our weekend. Congratulations to @TeamHardie on their win.
For more photos from the weekend, see the Facebook album here.
Finally, two Royal Caledonian Curling Club events took place at the weekend – the Scottish Senior Mixed Championship, and the Asham U14 Slam at Forfar.
Stranraer hosted the Senior Mixed, with 15 teams divided into three groups.
The qualifiers from Section A were Teams Horton and Hardie, Teams Wilson and Kenny progressed from Section B and Team Prentice made it out of Section C – all finishing their pool matches on six points.
In the semi-finals, Horton edged Prentice 7-6, while Wilson defeated Hardie 8-5.
Wilson (Philip Wilson, Kate Adams, William Johnston, Elspeth Johnston) came out on top in the final, scoring twos in ends one and three, then a four in end five, as they won out 8-3 – Horton finishing second just as they did last season.
In Forfar, there were 14 U14 teams placed in three sections, with qualifiers going onto the high or low road following best of four end matches.
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).
well, that's a good day at the office! 3 wins from 3 and we are in the playoffs! we play @TeamTirinzoni in a skins match tomorrow at 4pm
That set up a decisive match on Saturday evening against Team Moiseeva of Russia – and 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 Pätz.
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.