With a week to go to the start of the Edinburgh International, it is time to have a look at the sections and teams and begin to pick winners and losers.
There are eleven teams from overseas competing in the event, including regular visitors Aku Kauste from Finland, David Šik from the Czech Republic and two young teams skipped by Jaap van Dorp from the Netherlands and Sweden’s Fredrik Nyman. It is also good to see Finland’s veteran Olympic Silver medallist skip, Maarku Uusipaavalniemi back competing in Scotland. He has been to Edinburgh before, but his most famous Scottish appearance, I suppose was at the Glasgow World Championships way back in 2000 when he and his team beat the USA’s Craig Brown 9-4 in the Bronze medal game.
Favourite for this year’s competition though has to be Scotland’s Tom Brewster, with his team of Glen Muirhead, Ross Paterson, Hammy McMillan and Thomas Muirhead. They currently sit proud at the head of the Champions Tour rankings with twice as many points as Thomas Ulsrud in the number two spot. Bruce Mouat also finds himself in the top twenty at this early stage in the Champions tour and has a real chance to progress up the rankings. Last year’s Edinburgh International Champions, skipped by David Edwards with John Penny, Scott Macleod and new lead this season, Billy Morton recently won the tough European playdowns against reigning Scottish Champions, Ewan Macdonald, reigning Olympic Silver medallists David Murdoch and Tom Brewster – so he is in good form as well.
In terms of the four sections, I am predicting Brewster and Mouat from section A, with both David Šik and Maarku Uusipaavalniemi competing strongly. From section B, it looks to me like Kyle Smith and Lee McCleary, but look out for Graeme Black and Aku Kauste. David Edwards and young van Dorp look good in section C and finally from Section D, Rantamäki and last year’s beaten finalists, Ross McCleary.
All to play for!
The competition kicks off at 8.30 am on Friday morning and the final is at 2.30 pm on Sunday 9th November. There is viewing from the club rooms above the rink as well as in the rink itself. Needless to say that there is a restaurant and bar for spectators, so why not come along and have a look at some of the best curling you will see in Scotland this year.
The Draw for the Edinburgh International Curling Championships and Senior events have now been posted on our website. The online scoring for the EICC main event is also now available., and our webcast will be available from the first game.
Here is a schedule of the games that will be covered by the webcast :
8.30am – Gallo v Mouat
11.00am – R McCleary v Lill
2.00pm – van dorp v Shaw
4.20pm – Nagy v Smith
7.25pm – Mouat v Brewster
8.00am – Lill v Rantamaki
10.20am – Stevenson v Edwards
1.20pm – Black v Smith
3.40pm – Brewster v Gallo or Sik v Uusipaavalniemi
6.45pm – Rantamaki v R McCleary
The draw for the two senior competitions has been made.
Keith Prentice v John Dignan
Jim Hogg v Robin Aitken
Norman Brown v John Summers
Alan Durno v JohnJo Kenny
Friday 21 November at 12.30
Thereafter Section A will play at 6.00 pm, and on Saturday at 9.00 am and 2.30 pm
Graeme Adam v Alastair MacNish
Ian Gillespie v Gary MacFarlane
Ken Horton v David Hardie
D Michael Sutherland v Mike Dick
Friday 21 November at 2.45 pm
Thereafter Section B will play at 8.15 pm, and on Saturday at 11.15 am and 4.45 pm.
The quarter-finals are scheduled for Sunday 23 November at 9.00 am, the semi-finals will take place at 12 noon and the final will be at 3.00 pm.
Christine Cannon v Mary Barr
Christine Hamilton v Elaine Semple
Ena Smith v Lois Brown
Friday 21 November at 12.30 pm
Thereafter section C will play at 6.00 pm, and on Saturday at 9.00 am and 2.15 pm.
Grace Paterson v Ka Gibb
Barbara Watt v Enid Brown
Kate Adams v Ann Johnston
Friday 21 November at 2.45 pm
Thereafter section D will play at 8.15 pm and on Saturday at 11.15 am and 4.30 pm.
The semi-finals will take place on Sunday 23 November at 12 noon and the final will be at 3.00 pm.
The senior competitions are fully-subscribed and we have a waiting list for both.
There are a few spots left in the main event. If you want to enter the competition, please complete the attached form, scan it and forward it to email@example.com. If your entry is accepted, we will contact you for payment. The entry fee for the 2014 competition is UK£390.00 per team.
The Edinburgh International Curling Championship will take place on Friday 7th to 9th Nov 2014.
The Senior Mens and Ladies events will take place from Friday 21st to Sunday 23rd November
Watch this space for details of the teams who will be attending the event. Full details will be available on our website – www.EdinburghICC.co.uk
16 teams played in two four-round schenkel leagues, the top four from each league progressing to the knock-out stages on Sunday morning. The leagues produced some exciting play and some tight games. There were a couple of early casualties that might have, if you had asked them in a private moment, expected to progress further in the competition. The most notable early casualties were probably the recently-crowned Scottish senior mixed champion skip, Gary MacFarlane, reigning Scottish senior champions team Brown from Stranraer and the strong-looking American team skipped by former US champion, Russ Armstrong.
Two of the quarter-finals were tight affairs, but eventually Robin Aitken’s team prevailed over the Jim Stirling’s Greenacres rink and former Scottish schools, Scottish Junior under-25s, Scottish and Scottish Senior champion Graeme Adam got the better of former Irish, Irish Senior and World Senior champion JohnJo Kenny. There’s just no shortcuts with these two! In the other two games, Alan Durno scored a four and a two in the first two ends, followed by a five at the fourth; that was enough for local opponent John Dignan and his merry men. Keith Prentice also got off to a big early start against Hamilton’s Alastair Smith and safely manoeuvred his way through to the semi-finals.
Both of the semi-finals were tight, tight games and both went to extra ends. In the Aitken v Adam game, Brian Fleming (throwing last stones for team Aitken) threw a last stone hit that just over-curled leaving Graeme lying shot and not needing his last stone to win the game. Alan Durno, flying off to Norway the next day on Royal Club duty at the European Championships, took Keith Prentice all the way to the extra end before losing out. It was an Adam v Prentice final.
Keith Prentice, Lockhart Steele, Robert Anderson and Tommy Fleming are a formidable outfit at this level as their record in the Scottish Senior Championship demonstrates. To beat them, you have to play well. They started off the game with a one, then a stolen two and they never let Graeme, Drew Howie, Stuart Naismith and Jean Lesperance back into the game. A stolen two in end six effectively sealed the win and though the seventh end was played out, Keith, Lockhart, Robert and Tommy were worthy winners of the Championship.
12 teams played in two four-round schenkel leagues, the top two from each league progressing to the semi-finals on Sunday morning. With no disrespect to either Mary Barr or Christine Hamilton (both of whom had fine teams in front of them as evidenced by the results!), but the smart money was probably on defending champion, Kate Adams and maybe last year’s semi-finalists, Gwen Prentice as the most likely qualifiers from section C. They scored two points between them! Curling is a slippery game and no mistake!
Reigning Scottish champion, Christine Cannon dropped a tight game against Grace Paterson, but still managed to qualify from section B with Elaine Semple’s Glasgow team.
So, the semi-finals pitched Elaine versus Christine Hamilton and Christine Cannon versus Mary Barr. The wheels came off the Barr wagon in the semi and Christine progressed comfortably though to the final. The other semi was a much more torrid affair and, though Christine Hamilton got off to a good start, Elaine managed to peg her back to peels playing the eighth. It was going team Semple’s way playing the last, with a veritable wall of blue stones (their colour!) out front and stones in the house – one biting the four-foot at the back of the house-behind the cover. All that Christine had to show for her efforts was a solitary corner yellow stone, dangerously placed though for a tap up to the four foot.
The helpful chat behind the glass suggested that for Elaine’s first stone, either a hit or a guard was called for to prevent Christine using the yellow. She chose to ignore it and draw another stone into the house on the other side. It actually came too far and ended up at the back of the house. Christine immediately moved to her yellow stone and called for the outwick tap-up. In the event, her stone slid of the side of the target stone and rather fortuitously diverted to Elaine’s stone at the back of the four foot. Elaine’s attempted tap back drew too much and wrecked and that was that. I suspect that the Glasgow girls will rue their skip’s first stone as they awake at night wondering what might have been!
Just to confuse your writer even further, the two Christines had qualified. Christine Hamilton had Anne-Marie Ross at three (in the team in place of Agnes Barr), Christine Smellie at second and Jean Brash at lead. Christine Cannon had Margaret Richardson at third, Isobel Hannen at second and Margaret Robertson at lead.
The Cannon team immediately took control of things and scores of two, two, one and one in the first four ends effectively sealed the championship win for them. Try as they might, Christine and her team just could not get it together and least said, soonest mended. When they managed to get on the board with a nice two in the sixth end, they sportingly congratulated their opponents on a fine performance. They ought to be congratulated though on a fine championship performance. They played and beat many a fine team on their way to the final.
So, a great first-time win can be recorded for Christine Cannon, Margaret Richardson, Isobel Hannen and Margaret Richardson. They say that cream rises to the top and team Cannon will go forward to the Scottish Ladies Senior Championship with great confidence after a dominant performance at Murrayfield.
Dominant performance in the final
The game hinged on the second end. Edwards had scored a nicely-controlled two shots in the first end with hammer. Ross faced three shots with his last shot of the end. He had two choices: either he could play the out-turn draw to the four foot, knowing that he just had to make the eight foot to cut two of the three Edwards counters; alternatively he could play a heavy draw / back twelve foot weight to the Edwards number one stone to count his one. He elected for the latter, but his stone ran agonisingly straight and sailed through the house. Result: a three to Edwards and a five-nil lead in the game.
And that, to be honest, was that. No matter how hard they tried the McCleary team could not get back into the game and eventually, after seven ends, handshakes were offered.
Many congratulations to David and his team. For David, this is the second time that he has won the famous old World Championships trophy.
The famous old Worlds Championship Trophy will remain in Scotland for another year. David Edwards skipped his team, John Penny from Aberdeen, Scott Macleod from Blair Atholl and Edinburgh’s own Colin Campbell to an emphatic win against young Grant Hardie. This was a convincing performance by team Edwards, one of the favourites for the Scottish Championship later in the season.
Ross McCleary always had the beating of Logan Gray and had an open hit for the game in the last end. Ross skips James Stark at third, James Gudmundsson at second and Gavin Baird at lead.
David, a previous winner, will go in as warm favourite, but don’t write team McCleary off just yet!