Autumn Bonspiel teams announced

The ICA will hold its Autumn Bonspiel at Braehead on Sunday at 2.20pm.

The teams are:

Rink 1 – David Smith, Eoin McCrossan, Clare McCormack, Frances Whyte.

Rink 2 – James Russell, Bob Sherrard, Margarita Sweeney-Baird, Robert Hutton
Rink 3 – Alison Fyfe, Arran Cameron, Ian Donald, Jen Ward
Rink 4 – David Whyte, Carolyn Hibberd, David Hume, Frances Donald,
Rink 5 – John Furey, Louise Kerr, Lesley Barrett, Nathan Furey
Rink 6 – Craig Whyte, Conor McPherson, John Burns, Jacqui Barr
Good luck to everyone!

JJ reports on the Edinburgh International seniors

Firstly, apologies that the website was down for a couple of days, the webmasters were spirng cleaning it.

Now, back to business.

Das championeesIt was the turn of the Edinburgh International this week on the “Seniors circuit” which seems to grow every season. Seniors the world over is the one growth area in terms of participants in National Championships. The Irish team participating was Johnjo Kenny’s team of Bill Gray, Neil Fyfe and David Whyte. David Hume was fifth man.
Their first game was against a team skipped by Switzerland’s “Harry” Berger. A solid 9-2 victory for the Irish outfit. Next up were defending champs and Scottish senior champions, Gordon Muirhead with Norman Brown et al. A close affair with team Kenny needing to steal the last end to secure a point. JJ’s attempted raise behind cover was slightly heavy and his stone ran a few inches too far allowing skip Muirhead to pick it out for victory. Next up former Scottish men’s champion Willie Jamieson and his seniors’ team. Another nip and tuck game with Ireland edging it 6-5. The final section game was against another former Scottish champion, Graeme Adam and his Greenacres team. An unusually out of form Adam quartet were defeated 13-2. The vagaries of the schenkel format saw a quarter final draw pitting team Ireland against the only other senior men’s world champions from these parts, Keith Prentice and his experienced team. Another close game in an early morning encounter saw team Ireland one down with the hammer playing the last end. A difficult draw to the one foot for the extra end or a ten foot angled raise for the victory were the choices with skip’s last stone. With one eye on the clock (the semi final was scheduled for some 25 minutes later) team Ireland decided to go for glory, however the last stone over curled at the last second and the target stone was missed by a few centimetres. Such are the margins! Team Prentice went on to win the Tournament. Johnjo and team however were happy with their tournament.
The skip explained: “When we played at the Greenacres Invitation a couple of weeks back we thought we played well especially as it was January since I had played with the guys. We were a bit sharper again this week and providing we stay fit and can get the practice in over the holiday period we should be in decent shape for the Irish Playdown.

Johnjo's team were beaten in the quarter-finals by the eventual winners

Johnjo’s team were beaten in the quarter-finals by the eventual winners

There is still work required though…” he added!

Senior teams get their prizes

Hugh Stewart kindly sent through the photographs he took at the closing dinner of the Greenacres EISCC recently.

EISCC winners - Peter Wilson, Ross Barr, Robin Gray and Tony Tierney (missing form the photo is PJ Wilson)

EISCC winners – Peter Wilson, Ross Barr, Robin Gray and Tony Tierney (missing from the photo is PJ Wilson)

EISCC runner-up - Marie O'Kane, Louise Kerr, Christina Graham and Margarita Sweeney-Baird

EISCC runner-up – Marie O’Kane, Louise Kerr, Christina Graham and Margarita Sweeney-Baird

The Irish men’s team won their event and the Irish ladies were the runners-up in their competition.

Irish international curler wins RCCC championship

That's John on the right - the one in the GREEN top!

That’s John on the right – the one in the GREEN top!

ICA member John Furey was a member of the winning team in this year’s Scottish Province Championships ( formerly National Province Championship ) held at Geeenacres this week.

Playing with fellow members of K2 curling club, Ross McCleary (skip) , Gavin Baird and Alan Manuel they defeated David Mundell’s Ayrshire outfit 7-6 in a nail biting final. McCleary’s final match winning stone was an excellent cross house double to pick out the opposition counter on the button.

A great win for our John and his team.

Robin’s dog ate my passport

WP_20151113_008Could only happen to our Pete.

He was staying with Robin in East Kilbride for the Euro Seniors last week and  had some explaining to do at airport security on his way home after Bailey, the Gray family spaniel, managed to get into his bedroom and chew his passport to shreds.

Mind you, only Pete could talk his way out of that one….

Ladies’ day at Greenacres

The Irish senior ladies team entered the Greenacres Invitation specifically to have some fun, and in the case of Marie, Christina and myself, enjoy playing together for the first time since 2013. Margarita Sweeney-Baird kindly made up the four and we had a team.

The journey to the final was a charmed ride on occasions, but we also put in some solid performances, particularly in the semi-final.

It was an ominous start, getting soundly beaten by Kay Gibb’s Scotland team 9-5. But  in the evening game we got the better of Gunilla Edlund’s Swedes 7-4. That team had only three players as the fourth was suffering from a heart problem. That’s the seniors for you.

Next day we played the lovely English ladies, skipped by Judith Dixon and won 9-3. It was an early start on Friday morning through the back against former winners, Susan Limena’s Swiss team. We really used up all our get out of jail cards in this one. Susan had a fairly straightforward tap back for a seven at one end but played heavy and we only lost a two. Three down going into the last end we looked good for a two to lose the game by just the one shot. The Swiss skip, who had hardly missed anything all game, had a simple take out for the win but inexplicably hoofed it down the rink like an Exocet. It just clipped the side of our stone, moving it five inches nearer the door and Marie calmly drew for a three. We were as shell-shocked as they were afterwards. That left us at the top of the group, a situation so rare Marie was taking a  photo  of the score-sheet to show to husband Gerry.

Marie EISCCWe then met last year’s winners, Marie Henriksson’s team from Sweden, in the last group game, and we won again! 8-7 this time. Although Johnjo was, once more, drained of all colour after watching our antics in the last end. Nuff said. We won and were now in the semis.

When Marie and I got back to Bridge of Weir that night, Gerry had the champers on ice and having packed my case and said my farewells that morning I had to unpack it all again.

M&CSaturday morning’s semi-final against Switzerland’s Karin Felder was memorable indeed. We  got ahead of them by four shots, but one missed guard when we were lying two in the sixth saw them hit for one and then they stole a two in the seventh. My last stone in the eighth was an attempt to hit their shot out on the straight side of the sheet but it never drew and inch and just nicked their stone, rolling it into the four foot. The Swiss skip tried to guard it but again, on the straight hand, her attempt did not cover their shot. If we peeled the game, they went to the final as they had more ends than us.  So, skip Marie’s last stone at the last end for a place in  the final was a hit though a 18 inch port. Straight side of the sheet at strike weight. We never had any doubt that she would nail it and as it sailed though the hole to its target I heard a huge cheer go up from behind the glass!

The boys were in the final and now so were we.

Jackie, Christine, Issy and Janet gave us a pasting in the final after we struggled with draw weight. And whereas with some of the other teams, the odd miss was not always punished, against that class of curler it was. But what a thrill to be there playing the final and what a day for Irish curling.

So, having packed up and said a second farewell to poor bemused Gerry, it was Groundhog Day as I rolled back up the drive in Bridge of Weir and unloaded my case again. More champagne for the Irish girlies, thanks to Gerry, before heading to the dinner. Poor Marie then had to raid her wardrobe to find me something to wear  as the dressiest thing I had with me was my pyjamas.

Skip Marie said afterwards: “A very enjoyable competition to play in: very well hosted by Greenacres. Our senior team enjoyed getting back  on the ice together although we did miss our 4th member Gillian Drury : Margarita kindly agreed to make up our four. We did not get the opportunity to get together for some play beforehand however we settled in early to steady play. The girls pulling out good shots at the right time. After an exiting semifinal we were delighted to have reached the final, which was won deservedly by our opposition Team Cannon skipped by Jackie Lockhart. We would hope to return again next year.”


Red letter day for the teams in green

Last Saturday was a terrific day for the ICA with not just one by two teams contesting the finals of the Greenacres European Senior Invitation Curling Championships.

Let’s take it one by one……

In the men’s championships, Team Gray (Peter Wilson, Robin Gray, PJ Wilson and Tony Tierney) successfully defended their European Seniors title, despite losing Robin with a back problem that saw him carted off to A&E at one point. Before he hobbled off the ice, the original team lost their first game to Karl Grossman, Switzerland 5-6; beat Anders Westerberg, Sweden 11-5 and Frank Kerkvliet from  The Netherlands, 12-5. At this point in the competition, Ross Barr was drafted into the team to replace Robin, and they never really missed a beat, going on to beat Keith Prentice, Scotland 7-6;  Timo Peisa, Finland 14-7;  Johnjo’s other Irish team in the quarter final 10-2;  Werner Attinger, Switzerland 6-3 in the semi final, and Anders Westerberg 7-5 in a high drama, extra end encounter in the final.

Peter said afterwards:  “It was a great result for us as we had no practice together beforehand and we had to change the team after Robin picked up his injury. Ross Barr came into the team for the remaining five games and we didn’t lose a game with him in the team. Tony Tierney was a fabulous lead and PJ played some very important shots at the right time. We beat a lot of good teams throughout the week, including Johnjo’s team. In that game there was only really a couple of shots of a difference in the game. They have had the chance to play together a lot more than we do but I’m really looking forward to the ICA senior playdowns against them in January.”

Peter, Robin, PJ and Tony

Peter, Robin, PJ and Tony

Tony pointed out that the winning team were saying farewell to Robin Gray after his long association with all of them at international level. The Irish ‘band of brothers’ posed for one last photo before Robin turns his attention towards forming a  Scottish Senior team. However, he will remain a valued ICA player for other competitions. On behalf of all the members of the ICA, past and present, I extend a big thank you to Robin for his dedication over the last ten years to the cause of Irish curling.

The tale of Marie’s team, the abridged version, will be on the web tomorrow and we’ll also hopefully hear JJ’s take on his teams performance.



Been there….done that….

In case you were all thinking that the Irish ladies were breaking new ground by reaching the European Seniors Invitation final at Greenacres, you’d be wrong.

Picture from Bob Cowan's Skip Cottage curling blog

Picture from Bob Cowan’s Skip Cottage curling blog

Here is skip Marie O’Kane and her team of Carolyn Hibberd, Gilly Drury and Kathie Nixon about to play the final against Isobel Waddell’s Scotland ladies team in 2009.

Unfortunately the Irish ladies are still to win the final, but at least that final went to an extra end!