October 26, 2009

International Draw Online

The draw for the Edinburgh International Curling Championship, sponsored by Belhaven Best, is now available and can be seen here.

Twenty-four teams play in four sections, the first games scheduled for 09.30 on Friday, November 27. Two qualifiers will go forward from each section to the quarterfinals and each of the sections looks tough and will provide the teams with a pretty rigorous workout. Each team, of course, is guaranteed five games of top-class curling on ice that has been consistently swingy in the first month of the new season.

Current champion, Andy Kapp and his German team face local teams Brewster, Shaw and veteran Colin Hamilton as well as the Irish team skipped by JohnJo Kenny and the Italians, skipped by Joel Retornaz. I suspect that the 2.00pm Saturday draw will give the neutral an important game to watch in that section; Andy Kapp plays Tom Brewster in what could well be the decider for first and second place in the section.

Reigning European and World Champions, Team Murdoch, have had a slow start to their season so far. Mind you, they make a habit of peaking at the right time and winning the major Championships. The Edinburgh International falls neatly the week before the upcoming European Championships, so I expect them to be approaching peak condition in Edinburgh. They meet England's Jamie Malton, Michael Opel, Henry Carter and Keith Wilson in the opening draw of the competition. But maybe their toughest competition will come from young Glen Muirhead, who showed so well in last season’s Scottish Championship. Glen brings a revised team from last season, but with Michael Goodfellow and Thomas Sloan as new team members, they will be up for the challenge. The Murdoch v Muirhead clash takes place at 11.30 on Saturday morning.

Warwick Smith is perhaps favourite to progress from his group though the section does look wide open. Jamie Dick is taking some time to get it together with his new rink and will be anxious to do better than he has up until now. French and Russian Champions Dufour and Drosdov are also in this section. Adrian Meikle had a good win against Dick in the Hamilton Mini Tour event and will be keen to repeat his win while Lee McCleary will also be up for things.

Perhaps the toughest looking section is D, where local star, Pete Loudon, faces some stiff foreign competition from Due (Norway), Rantamäki (Finland) and Gulbis (Latvia). But lurking in the background, lying in wait for all-comers, is Hammy McMillan, who returns with his strong team of last season. Former GB Olympic curler, Philip Wilson plays third stones and former Scottish Junior Champions, Ross Paterson and local boy Sandy Gilmour make up the front end.

That's Ritvars Gulbis in the photo above. The Latvian skip brings his team to this Curling Champions Tour event in Edinburgh, en route to the European Championships in Aberdeen. The Latvians are up against Hammy McMillan in their first match at noon on Friday, November 27.

Robin Copland

Pic © Skip Cottage

October 10, 2009

Seniors Draw now online

The draw for the Edinburgh International Senior Curling Championship, November 25-29, has been made and has thrown together some intriguing games in the league sections.

The competition will be run in four sections of four teams with league games taking place on Wednesday 25 and Thursday 26 November. The winners of each section qualify for the semifinals of the competition. The runners-up will qualify for the consolation event semifinals. All semifinals will take place on Sunday, November 29, at 11.30.

The two finals will go ahead in parallel with the Edinburgh International Final at 3.00pm the same day.

Section A contains Kirsty Letton and her strong Glasgow team. They are former Scottish and World Senior Champions and will provide a stern test for Jimmy Green, Hugh Meikle and local man, John Dignan.

Section B sees Sandy Nelson’s strong Kinross team face former Scottish Senior Champion, Ronnie Peat, as well as the wily Walter Brown and Janice Manson.

Section C looks competitive. David Clydesdale, runner-up in the Scottish Seniors last season will make a strong push for the number one spot, but Ian Gillespie and Bob Smith bring strong teams to the event and Ken Watson has local knowledge in his favour!

If you want my tip for the most competitive section, though, look no further than section 4! Alan Durno brings his marauders down from the north; Iain Hamilton has been curling on Edinburgh ice since Moses was but a gleam in his faither’s e’e; Jean Robertson will provide feisty opposition and Michael Sutherland returns from over the border to defend his title. The sparks will fly!

The first league games take place at Murrayfield on Wednesday 25 November at 10.00am. For the full draw, check out this link.

Robin Copland

Top photo is of Michael Sutherland in last year's final © Skip Cottage.

October 08, 2009

Teams announced for Edinburgh International

Andy Kapp (above) will bring his team to Edinburgh to defend the trophy he won last year. The Edinburgh International, sponsored by Belhaven Best, is a Curling Champions Tour event, and will be held at the Murrayfield Rink, November 27-29, 2009. The lineup (correct as at October 8) is:

International teams:
Czech Republic - David Śik (with Milan Polívka, Marek David, Pavel Menśík)
Russia - Andrey Drosdov (with Artem Bolduzev, Alexey Stukalsky, Alexander Kirikov, Anton Kalalb)
Latvia - Ritvars Gulbis (with Ainars Gulbis, Aivars Avotins, Normunds Sarsuns)
England - Jamie Malton (with Michael Opel, Henry Carter, Keith Wilson)
Finland - Tomi Rantamäki (with Timo Patrikka, Jermu Pöllänen, Lauri Ikävalko)
Canada/Spain/Norway - Sebastian Robillard (with Antonio de Mollinedo, Thomas Due, Carlos Gonzales)
Germany - Andy Kapp (with Andy Lang, Holger Hoehne, Andreas Kempf, Oliver Axnick)
Ireland - Johnjo Kenny (with Robin Gray, Peter Wilson, Neil Fyfe, Bill Gray)
Wales - Adrian Meikle (with Stuart Hills, Andrew Tanner, John Sharpe)
France - Thomas Dufour (with Tony Angiboust, Richard Ducroz, Jan Ducroz, Raphael Mathieu)
Italy - Joel Retornaz (with Silvio Zanotelli, Davide Zanotelli, Julien Genre)

Scottish teams:
David Murdoch (with Ewan MacDonald, Pete Smith, Euan Byers)
Tom Brewster (with Duncan Fernie, Ron Brewster, David Edwards)
Warwick Smith (with Craig Wilson, David Smith, Ross Hepburn)
Peter Loudon (with Logan Gray, Richard Woods, Colin Campbell)
Graham Shaw (with Sandy Christie, Robin Niven, Mike Niven)
Lee McCleary (with Jim Strang, Robbie Stevenson, Ross McCleary)
Glen Muirhead (with Greg Drummond, Thomas Sloan, Michael Goodfellow)
Colin Hamilton (with Mike Dick, David Ramsay, Sean Murphy)
Iain Watt (with Alan Smith, Steve Mitchell, Andy Dolman)
Keith Prentice (with Lockhart Steele, Robin Aitken, Tommy Fleming)
Jamie Dick (with John Hamilton, Andrew Craigie, Graeme Copland)
Hammy McMillan (with Philip Wilson, Ross Paterson, Sandy Gilmour)
Sandy Reid (with Moray Combe, Scott Macleod, David Soutar)

Here are a couple more photos from last year's Edinburgh International final.

Photos © Skip Cottage

October 05, 2009

The Committee Members

Details of the Edinburgh International Championship committee have been posted online on the official competition website. The committee includes the following:

Trevor Dodds (Chairman)
Gordon Addison (Chair of Edinburgh Curling Club)
Robin Aitken (Umpiring)
Iain Baxter (Ice Rink Facility)
Douglas Baxter (Ice Rink Facility and Website Coordinator)
Robin Copland (Secretary)
John Dignan (Accommodation and Sponsorship)
Colin Hamilton (Competition and Draw)
Ernest Prior (Programme)
Anne Marie Ross (Transportation)
Ian Seath (Finance)

Read their profiles here.