Teams Bryce and Jackson excel at World Juniors

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SILVER: Cate Brewster, Laura Barr, Sophie Sinclair, Mili Smith, Naomi Brown and Sophie Jackson. Pic: twitter.com/CurlTeamJackson

Team Bryce and Jackson both performed strongly in Korea at the World Junior Curling Championships, Sophie Jackson’s rink winning silver in the women’s section and Cameron Bryce’s men finishing fourth in the venue for the forthcoming Winter Olympics.

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Scotland women (Sophie Jackson, Naomi Brown, Mili Smith, Sophie Sinclair, Laura Barr (alternate), Cate Brewster (coach)) enjoyed a huge turnaround from the last World Juniors, when they were relegated to the B-Division, but having won promotion they did superbly.

They cruised through the round robin with a W7 L2 record, starting with four consecutive victories – versus Korea (7-6, stealing one in end 10), Hungary (8-7), Turkey (10-5) and Sweden (6-5, stealing two in the 10th end).

Team Jackson then lost 8-7 to Switzerland, but bounced back with three more wins, against Japan (9-7), the USA (7-2) and Canada (8-5, scoring four in end four).

Their last round robin match brought an 8-7 loss to Russia after an extra end, but they had done enough to make the 1v2 page playoff.

There they were beaten 9-6 by Sweden, having given up a steal of three in end three, but they secured their spot in the final, guaranteeing a medal, with a emphatic victory against Canada.

The Scots got off to an ideal start, scoring three in end one, and added two in the third end, stole four in the fourth, three in the fifth and one in the sixth, for a 13-2 win after eight ends.

Skip Sophie Jackson said: “I think the fire was sparked in us. We were so ready for that game and we wanted to make the final so bad after last night’s loss.

“We were just really ready and really pumped for that. This takes the pressure off a wee bit, but we still want that gold so bad.”

The final brought a third meeting with Sweden, the sides having won once and lost once against each other already in Gangneung.

Isabella Wranaa’s Swedes took the spoils this time, as although Scotland scored three in end four to lead 4-3, Sweden hit back by taking a three of their own in end five, stealing two in the sixth end and adding another two in the eighth for a 10-7 win and the gold medals.

Scotland could still be delighted with claiming silver in a tough competition; Canada took bronze.

Jackson said: “I’m a bit gutted, but we’ve had a really good week.

“I’m speechless really, we’ve done way better than we expected, so we’re still happy.

“I’m so proud of my team, we’ve done so much this season.”

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It was a tougher route to the playoffs for Scotland men (Cameron Bryce, Robin Brydone, Euan Kyle, Frazer Shaw, Ross Whyte (alternate), Colin Morrison (coach)), who lost their opening two matches – 7-6 to the USA after an extra end (having been 6-2 down), and 8-7 to Norway (having been 6-1 down).

But they pulled out four successive wins to get back in contention – beating Sweden 8-6, Switzerland 8-7 (after an extra end), China 8-3 and Italy 7-5.

They went down 8-7 to hosts Korea (another extra end loss), which meant they had to win their final two round robin games to clinch a playoff spot.

That they did, overcoming Turkey 7-4 and Canada 9-8 (taking their one with hammer in an extra end).

They won the 3v4 game 8-7 against Norway, scoring two in end 10 and then stealing one in the extra end, but they came unstuck against Ki Jeong Lee’s Korea in the semi-final.

The host nation, who went on to beat the USA in the final to win gold, beat the Scots 11-4 courtesy of three in end one, two in end three, three in the sixth end and two in the eighth.

That left Scotland facing Norway (again!) for bronze, and here they fell short – as the Norwegians went 7-0 ahead courtesy of steals in the first three ends, and eventually won out 10-3 in eight ends.

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As well as the Scottish Championships, plenty of other national championships have been taking place this week, including the English Championships – which were won by Team Woolston (men’s) and Team Farnell (women’s).

In Canada, of course, we had the national women’s championship, the Scotties, which witnessed fierce competition between Teams Englot (Manitoba) and Homan (Ontario).

Englot won both the round robin encounter and the 1v2 page playoff game, but when it came to the final, it was Rachel Homan’s rink who won a see-saw affair 8-6, gaining the national title and securing a trip to face Team Muirhead and co at Worlds in Beijing.

 

Brewster secure home victory at Perth Masters

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Team Brewster, Perth Masters champions (photo: facebook.com/TeamBrewsterCurling)

Team Brewster began 2017 as they ended 2016 – with a title, this time at the Perth Masters.

Last year saw Tom Brewster’s quartet win the Scottish Championships, European Playdowns and Karuizawa International, and they got this year off to the ideal start.

Also this weekend, Team Smith were involved in another Grand Slam of Curling event, the Canadian Open, while Team Jackson have successfully qualified Scotland for the World Women’s Junior Championship.

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Thirty-two teams from around the world arrived for the Perth Masters, which is becoming a major Curling Champions Tour event – with live online coverage to match.

Ten Scottish teams began the triple knockout competition, and three of those made the playoffs – Teams Brewster (Tom Brewster, Glen Muirhead, Ross Paterson, Hammy McMillan), Hardie (Grant Hardie, Blair Fraser, Dave Reid, Duncan Menzies) and MacDonald (Ewan MacDonald, David Edwards, Duncan Fernie, Euan Byers).

Brewster began with wins over Foss (7-1), Snitil 6-2 and MacDonald (7-1), but lost their A Road final 5-3 against last year’s runners-up, Team Ulsrud of Norway.

It mattered little, though, as they then beat Pfister 4-1 and MacDonald (again, 5-1 this time) on the B Road to secure a playoff spot.

MacDonald, having beaten Kauste 10-4 and Pfister 6-4 but suffered their first defeat to Brewster, took victories over Ramsfjell (6-1) and Eskilsson (7-3).

There then followed their second loss to Brewster, but a 7-3 success against fellow Scots Bryce saw them into the knockout stages.

As for Hardie, they opened by overcoming Walstad 5-4, but then lost 5-3 to Eskilsson.

On the B Road they defeated compatriots Bryce 5-4 (stealing one in the extra end) but were then knocked down to the C Road, Pfister edging their match 3-2.

So Hardie needed three straight wins to make the playoffs… and that’s just what they got, against Schwaller (7-5), then two other Scottish rinks – Murdoch (5-4, again stealing one in the extra end) and Mouat (7-3).

Come the quarter-finals, Brewster stole singles in ends seven and eight to eke out a 6-4 victory against Liu Rui of China.

But the last eight proved to be the limit for Hardie – beaten 8-2 by Baumann of Germany after giving up four in end four – and MacDonald – losing out 4-2 to Ulsrud in a tight match.

Brewster had to board the steal train again in their semi-final with Baumann; having been 3-0 down, they scored twos in the seventh and eighth ends for another 6-4 win.

In the final they faced Walstad, who had shocked their fellow Norwegians Ulsrud in last four, and the match was tied 3-3 after five ends.

But three for Brewster in end six, followed up by a steal of two in the seventh, handed them victory by an 8-3 scoreline and meant they were Masters of Perth!

Tom Brewster – celebrating his record fourth Perth Masters title – told British Curling: “This is a fantastic event – it’s really well organised, the ice is always good.

“It’s always a strong field and to come out on top is a real honour.

“It goes down in the record books because people see this as one of the biggest events in Europe.”

 

See photos from the event on the competition website, or via Brydone Images.

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Team Smith (Kyle Smith, Thomas Muirhead, Kyle Waddell, Cammy Smith) took part in the Grand Slam of Curling Canadian Open in North Battleford, Saskatchewan, but unfortunately they were not involved for long.

In a triple knockout competition, they lost 5-4 to Team Jacobs, 9-5 to Team Korte and 6-3 to Team Epping, which saw them eliminated.

The men’s final was contested by Teams Edin and Gushue, and it was the Canadians – with skip Brad Gushue clearly back in the swing of things after injury, as he threw 100 per cent in the final – who triumphed 8-3.

As for the women’s title, that went to Team Scheidegger – not one of the best known Canadian rinks, but one which has found fine form this season, including winning the HDF Insurance Shoot Out, where they defeated Team Muirhead in the final.

Here they faced Team Tirinzoni of Switzerland, and won it 5-4 thanks to a steal of one in the eighth end.

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Team Jackson (Sophie Jackson, Naomi Brown, Mili Smith, Sophie Sinclair, Laura Barr (alternate), coached by Cate Brewster) have qualified Scotland for the women’s section of the 2017 World Junior Championships.

Playing at the World Junior-B Championships in Östersund, Sweden, they won all six of their round robin matches – against Spain (11-4), Latvia (6-3), Estonia (5-3), Norway (5-2), Romania (13-2) and the Czech Republic (7-1).

That set up a quarter-final rematch with Norway, which yielded an 8-2 victory, largely thanks to a steal of three in end four, plus one in end five, and finished off by two in end seven.

 

And in the semi-finals they scored two in end three, having been 2-0 down, before stealing singles in ends four through to seven, for a 6-2 triumph – and Worlds qualification!

They play Turkey for gold, a match shown live here.

England also had teams at the B Championships, but neither managed to reach the playoffs – the men were defeated in all seven of their matches, while the women took three wins to three losses.

Team Mouat win World Juniors gold

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Team Mouat celebrate World Juniors gold (photo: Tom Brydone (facebook.com/brydoneimages))

Scotland’s Team Mouat won men’s gold at the World Junior Curling Championships in Denmark, defeating the USA in the final.

By contrast, it was a chastening week for Scotland women, as they lost seven games and were relegated to the B-Division for next season.

In Canada, Team Kevin Koe claimed the Brier title and will represent their country at the World Men’s Curling Championship in Switzerland.

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At the World Juniors in Copenhagen, Team Mouat (Bruce Mouat, Bobby Lammie, Gregor Cannon, Angus Dowell, Robin Brydone (alternate)) shook off an uneven start – beating Norway 7-4 but then losing 7-6 to the USA after an extra end – by reeling off five straight round robin wins.

They scored three in end nine and stole three in end 10 to overcome Canada 10-7, before beating Turkey 13-4, Sweden 9-2, Korea 10-3 and Russia 10-2.

Despite a 10-4 loss to Switzerland (third Bobby Lammie feeling unwell and unable to sweep), they finished their round robin with an 8-2 win over Denmark that proved enough to make it into the 1v2 page playoff game.

There, they scored two in end seven and three in end 10 to beat the USA 7-5, skip Bruce Mouat drawing the port for the winning shot.

Korey Dropkin’s US side won their semi-final against Switzerland (who then lost the bronze medal match to Canada) to set up a third match of the week against the Scots.

In the final, Scotland blanked the first end and in the second Mouat drew for a 2-0 lead. The US were forced to one in end three, before Mouat hit for two and a 4-1 lead in the fourth.

The sides then traded ones, so Scotland held a 6-3 lead and hammer into end 10, where they ran the US out of stones to win 6-4 and claim gold!

Skip Mouat said afterwards: “It was a really good and close final. My guys knew what they had to do today and because of that we were able to control things.

“The team has been awesome all week and I am really chuffed for the guys. I feel we really deserve this.

“We knew it was our last chance as a team to win the title. We had the same vision and same goal before the start of this week and we agreed we wouldn’t settle for anything less than gold.

“That added to the pressure and it has been a roller-coaster of a week; we had a few missed shots in some of the games as well as a bit of illness in the team to contend with, including today as Bobby still wasn’t feeling 100% in the final.

“But we had a great fifth man in Robin. He is exactly what you need from a fifth player and he got to play in one game, so he played his part in all of this.”

Unfortunately it was a very different week for Scotland women (Sophie Jackson, Naomi Brown, Rachael Halliday, Rachel Hannen, Katie Murray (alternate)), despite them winning their opening game 6-4 against Japan.

The team then suffered defeats against Hungary (10-6), Korea (6-5), Sweden (7-6), the USA (8-4) and Russia (5-2), before finally coming out on top in a close match, scoring three in end eight to beat Turkey 7-6.

However, further defeats to Switzerland (11-4) and Canada (6-2) meant they finished the round robin with a W2 L7 record – and so Scotland women will play in the Junior B-Division next season.

Canada won women’s gold, beating the USA 7-4 in the final, while Korea won bronze by defeating Hungary 8-4.

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The Canadian men’s championship, the Brier, took place in Ottawa over the last week and saw Northern Ontario (Jacobs) finish the round robin with a perfect record of 11 wins and no losses.

They qualified for the 1v2 page playoff along with Newfoundland and Labrador (Gushue) (W9 L2), while Alberta (Kevin Koe) and Manitoba (McEwen) both held W8 L3 records to make it into the 3v4 game.

Before the playoffs, there was time for Craig Savill – who has been battling Hodgkin’s Lymphoma – to return to the ice and deliver a perfect guard for Ontario. There were few dry eyes in the arena.

Gushue’s rink came back from 4-1 down to win the 1v2 match 7-6 after an extra end, and Koe’s Alberta team won the 3v4 playoff 7-5.

In the semi-final, Alberta overcame Northern Ontario (despite this extraordinary shot from Ryan Fry, below) 6-5 with a two in end 10 – Northern Ontario went on to win bronze, beating Manitoba 7-6 after an extra end.

The final pitted Newfoundland and Labrador against Alberta – the latter started with two steals and scored two in end four, leading 4-2 at halfway.

Gushue’s team stole in end six to claw their way back to 4-3, but Koe made a pick to score three in seven – and Gushue conceded at 9-5 after nine.

So Alberta (Kevin Koe, Mark Kennedy, Brent Laing, Ben Hebert) capped a phenomenal hat-trick for the province at national championships (Team Carey having won the Scotties and Lizmore the Mixed) and they will line up at the World Men’s in April alongside Scotland’s Team Brewster and co.

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In other events this weekend, the Fleming Trophy was played at Fenton’s rink in Kent.

Anna Fowler and Lauren Pearce (from the England women’s team at the 2015 European Championships) were joined by Lucy Sparks and Sara Jahodova – they won their way through to the final and there they took the victory 6-0.

And in South Korea, the Uiseong Masters took place – involving 10 women’s teams from Canada, Japan, Switzerland and the USA, as well as the host country.

The final was contested between Team Rocque of Canada and Team Tirinzoni of Switzerland – Rocque winning 5-1.

Tough start for Scottish junior teams at Worlds

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Team Jackson: The Scottish women’s rink at the World Juniors in Denmark

Scotland’s men’s and women’s teams have both won one and lost one at the start of the World Junior Curling Championships 2016 in Copenhagen, Denmark.

The teams, skipped by Bruce Mouat and Sophie Jackson, began the round robin stage with victories, but then suffered defeat in their second matches.

Meanwhile, there were several competitions taking place across Scotland, and the Brier championship is underway in Canada.

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The World Juniors involves 10 men’s and 10 women’s teams, with a round robin stage ahead of page playoffs, semi-finals and finals.

Scotland’s men’s and women’s teams have, at the time of writing, won one and lost one so far.

Scotland men (Bruce Mouat, Bobby Lammie, Gregor Cannon, Angus Dowell, Robin Brydone (alternate)) got their campaign underway with a 7-4 victory over Norway – scoring twos in ends one and seven, and stealing one in end five.

But they lost their second game 7-6 after an extra end to the USA, giving up a 4-1 lead after four ends and being forced to one in end 10.

As for the women (Sophie Jackson, Naomi Brown, Rachael Halliday, Rachel Hannen, Katie Murray (alternate)), they got started with a win over Japan – they scored twos in ends three and six, and stole singles in ends seven and eight, to take the game 6-4.

Against Hungary, however, they were unable to build on that opening win – falling 4-0 behind after two ends and dropping short of a comeback, a steal of two in end nine giving the Hungarians a historic first win at this level by a 10-6 scoreline.

Scotland men have a tough task up next, versus Canada (a match that will be televised live online here), while for the women the next game is against Korea.

Follow linescores throughout the tournament here.

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There have been a number of events in Scotland over the weekend too, including the Rink Championship in Forfar.

This competition saw teams representing their home ice rinks, with four sections of six teams involved.

Perth and Aberdeen 1 qualified from Section A, Stirling and Ayr 2 made it out of Section B, Forfar 4 and Murrayfield 1 came from Section C, and Section D saw Braehead 1 and Kinross 2 go into the quarter-finals.

There, Perth 1 beat Ayr 2 5-2, Aberdeen 1 defeated Stirling 6-5, Kinross 2 saw off Forfar 4 6-4, and Braehead 1 beat Murrayfield 1 7-0.

In the last four, Kinross 2 won 6-5 against Perth, and Aberdeen 1 defeated Braehead 1 8-2.

Aberdeen 1 (David Edwards, Ian Grigor, Rhiann Macleod, Craig McNaughton) then became champions, 8-5 victors over Kinross 2 in the final.

In addition, the third and final Asham Under-14 Slam of the season took place in Perth on Saturday, with Team Gallagher winning the final 5-1 against Team MacIntosh, while Team Sellar won the Scottish Wheelchair Curling Championship in Stirling, beating Team Donaldson 9-3 in the final.

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At the Brier, the Canadian men’s championship, Jamie Koe’s Northwest Territories won through the pre-qualifier to take their place as one of the 12 teams in the main event.

Mike McEwen’s rink lost on their long-awaited Brier debut to Brad Gushue, but it is Teams Jacobs and Simmons (the defending champions) who have made the strongest starts to the round robin.

With each team having played three matches in Ottawa, it is Canada (Simmons) and Northern Ontario (Jacobs) who sit on W3 L0.

But there’s a very strong line-up of teams just behind them, with Alberta (Kevin Koe), Manitoba (McEwen), Newfoundland & Labrador (Gushue) and Ontario (Howard) all on W2 L1.

Prince Edward Island (Casey) and Northwest Territories (Jamie Koe) are the two teams yet to pick up a win.

Round robin games run through to this Friday, with page playoffs on Saturday and the final on Sunday.