New face at the Mixed Championships

The Irish Mixed Championships will take place this weekend at Dumfries Ice Bowl. Three team are entered with the winners heading to Berne in Switzerland for the first ever world mixed championships 12-19th September:

Team A: Bill Gray, Margarita Sweeney-Baird, Ross Barr, Jacqui Barr

Team B: Johnjo Kenny, Marie O’Kane, Tony Tierney, Jen Ward

Team C: Neil Fyfe, Alison Fyfe, David Whyte, Ailsa Anderson

Draw – Saturday

Game 1 – AvB

Game 2 – BvC

Game 3 – AvC

 Sunday:

Game 4 – semi -final: lowest ranked two playoff to go to final

Game 5 – final: winner of semi v highest ranked after 3 games.

We were delighted that Jacqui Barr joined the ICA ranks recently. Jacqui will be playing with dad Ross at the weekend.

 Jacqui is  28 years old and qualifes for international duty as dad was born in Ireland. She has been curling for about two and a half years after starting curling with the Saturday Sweep club at Braehead before moving on to join the Braehead Virtual Curling Club. Recently Jacqui become a member of Bearsden Curling Club. She is a chartered accountant and works as a senior financial analyst for Supply Technologies in Glasgow.   

Campbell and Jacqui

Campbell and Jacqui

Jacqui recently got engaged to her boyfriend Campbell Davidson who proposed during a skiing holiday in Avoriaz, France. Aaawwww……

 

 

Closing bonspiel winners

David, Frances, Andrew, Arran and Marie

David, Frances, Andrew, Arran and Marie

The team of David Whyte, Arran Cameron, Andrew Gilmore and Frances Donald won the closing ICA bonspiel at Hamilton Ice Rink earlier this month. Congratulations to them. Bonspiel organiser Marie O’Kane presented them with the trophy and prizes before the annual general meeting.

Results:
PJ Wilson,Christine Furey, John Burns, Frances Whyte 2
David Whyte, Arran Cameron, Andrew Gilmore and Frances Donald 10
 
Bill Gray, John Graham,Sharon Graham and Clare McCormick 9
Ian Donald, Louise Kerr, Margarita Sweeney-Baird  and Jen Ward 3
 
Carolyn Hibberd, Ross Barr, Claire Darragh/Marie O’Kane and Gillian Russell 5 
Johnjo Kenny, Yvonne Chalmers, Jacqui Barr and Nathan Furey 4
 
At the AGM, tribute was paid to retiring president PJ Wilson who had done sterling work for the ICA during his two years in the hot seat.
Mr President hands over to Miss President!

Mr President hands over to Miss President!

Here is PJ handing over the president’s medal to his stunned successor, who thought she had another year up her sleeve before becoming a responsible person!

Irish Pete reflects on the playdowns

Irish Pete It was a great men’s championships in Dumfries recently. Unfortunately, one team had to be the losers and their skip Peter Wilson reflects here on the weekend:

Peter said:
Like Johnjo says our team of Tony Tierney, Alan Mitchell, Alan Gilmore and myself were a last minute get together and, with no practice together beforehand, I think the score in the first half of game one was a direct result of that. But after half time we got ourselves going and took that game to the last stone.
“In games two and three we played much better as a result of getting to understand each others’ play. We did much better and won both two and three, although both were tight games.
“Game four was a last stone decider and we had my final draw for the game, which was good for weight, but was always high of line and as a result we lost a two and the match.
“The decider had plenty of spice as both teams were up for this one. Once again the last stone  was needed to produce a winner. In the tenth end we had a draw  for a two to win the match and the championship but as I played the stone I got a pick up from my hand and it came up short, catching on a front guard. In the extra end we had a good end set up as we were lying three when Johnjo went to play the final stone. He drew a lovely shot between our counters to win by an inch.
“I thoroughly enjoyed the competition as did my team and we all enjoyed playing with each other over the weekend.
“I want to take this opportunity to wish the winners, and their coach Martin, all the very best at the ‘C’ Division in Champrey,  and I’m sure they will do Ireland proud.”

Irish Pete has always been the man for the big shot. Here, thanks to Gail Munro, is the clip of his last end, last shot double raise to beat PJ in the Irish weekend at Stranraer last month. PJ was two up and possibly lying two when the thunderbolt struck!

Johnjo looks back at the men’s championship

EMCC2013-JJJJ has had a busy time recently onthe ice rinks of Scotland, but he has finally had time to give us his thoughts on all the excitement in Dumfries recently:

 “So a throwaway remark to (Team Coach) Martin Sutherland that I would be happy to train with and even play a few games, if required, with the Men’s team resulted in another visit to Dumfries Ice Bowl for the Men’s Irish Championship in early March. Only the second time ( I think) that we have had a men’s championship in our short history. Pre-tournament time was short and as always in the ICA our geographical spread meant that we did not have time to play together as a team before the championship, but our rivals hadn’t either. It was no real shock then that the games that unfolded thereafter were occasionally a bit ragged as both teams looked for consistency but in general terms the standard of play was good. We chopped and change our line-up and personnel over the weekend as had always been our plan. The old guard of James Russell, Arran Cameron and John Furey were joined by new recruit Eoin McCrossan and all of them played their part in winning the title. The games are all a bit hazy in my memory now. We won the first game managing just to defend our big half time lead to the end. We then lost games two and three after losing decisive ends in the second half of the games. A strategy rethink was required and we played much more cagey games on Sunday and narrowly squeaked home in both with our share of luck. I think our winning margin in the extra end of game five was about an inch, or so I am told. I threw the shot then left it to the guys and they did the rest. The big winner of Irish Championships is Irish Curling. Let’s hope next season will bring more challengers and a bigger tournament. So now we look forward to much practice before we head to Switzerland in October, we are all looking forward to it. And finally commiserations to Peter, Tony, Alan and especially new recruit Andrew Gilmore. Their is no consolation in losing by the smallest fractions but I am certain their resolve will be strengthened for the future.”

Brier bits 11

Molly the dog was cheering for Team Canada!

Molly the dog was cheering for Team Canada!

Turns out the Brier final was just about as exciting as the Irish men’s playdowns!

Team Canada beat Northern Ontario 6-5 after an extra end after an enthralling final in the Saddledome in Calgary. The first four ends were blanked (a Brier record) before NO skip Brad Jacobs made a great run back double for two. The sixth was blanked by Team Canada to keep last stone in the seventh. They then played a wonderful end to get a two. TC then had the ‘buff boys’ on the back foot in the eighth with four stones in the rings forcing Jacobs to draw the button. Team Canada shifted gears again in the ninth and a clearly rattled NO team were just frayed enough by this point to make tiny mistakes. With his last stone, Brad Jocobs had no option but to try a freeze to lie second shot,  but when that ended half an inch short, TC skip Pat Simmonds (playing 95%) drew to the one foot for three. But NO came roaring back again in the 10th. They managed to get two shots behind a TC stone sitting top 12 and, after Pat Simmonds’ runback attempt only got one away, Jacobs drew again for the two and extra time.

Team Canada made a great job of cleaning up the front guards but NO got a shot into the four foot and Brad Jacobs guarded it with his last stone. Pat Simmonds showed barely believable composure when he drew right to the pot lid to win the Brier. He said afterwards he was just trying not to get too “jacked up”, but to play a weight his sweepers could work with to get it home.

Team Canada win $75, 000 Canadian dollars and now represent Canada at the men’s worlds in Halifax next month. Quite a turnaround for the team that were barely speaking to each other on Monday night after loss number three in two days. At the team meeting after the game, Johnny Morris suggested he stepped down from skipping duties and asked Pat Simmonds to take over. Pat agreed and from that moment the ‘Big Red Machine’ never looked back.

Congratulations to Johnjo’s team after their big extra end win today. Hard lines to Peter’s team who took it right down to the last stone in Dumfries too.

Curling – bloody hell!

Saskachewan beat Newfoundland-Labrador 7-5 in the bronze medal game.

Extra end drama ends with Team Kenny winning Irish Playdowns

IrishMensPlaydownsFinalGameScoreBoardAfter a very close 5th and final game, which inevitably came down to an extra end, Johnjo Kenny and his team of John Furey, James Russell, Arran Cameron and Eoin McCrossan finally prevailed over Peter Wilson and his team of Andrew Gilmore, Alan Mitchell and Tony Tierney by the narrowest of margins. Well done to both teams for taking this  right to the end. Congratulations to Team Kenny and commiserations to Team Wilson. Skips reactions will follow. (Probably once the roving reporter gets back from the Brier!)

Teams Kenny and Wilson after their best of 5 Irish Men's Playdowns

Teams Kenny and Wilson after their best of 5 Irish Men’s Playdowns

 

Down to the wire in Dumfries!!

Team Kenny levelled the best of 5 Irish Men’s Playdowns with a steal of 1 in the 10th end of Game 4 to set up a one game shoot out with Team Wilson this afternoon. The game was close all the way with no more than one shot the difference..one down after 8, Team Kenny tried to blank the 9th but took a one to level the scores but managed the steal in the last to come out on top. Spare a thought for the spectators as this tense, nervy series reaches its climax later today. Best of luck to both teams.

Brier bits 10

Team Canada or “the big red machine” as they have been branded, have rolled into the Brier final after downing Newfoundland-Labrador 8-6 in tonight’s semi-final. After a week of end after end, near perfect curling, this game was mistake ridden. John Morris didn’t cover himself in glory and his failure to sweep a stone out the back could have cost TC dearly but, luckily for him, Brad Gushue  was not perfect either with his last hit for a three, but still getting the two to go one up going into the last end.

Thankfully a fantastic last stone by Pat Simmonds got TC a three for the win. Brad Gushue had tried to freeze on top of a TC stone which was itself frozen on a NL stone. The Team Canada skip flashed past a guard to spring all three leaving the shooter and two hangers-on still sitting.

I really thought Gushue was destined to win. He had written a ‘bucket list’ as a 12 year old and winning the Brier is the only one he hasn’t ticked off. And when he pulled out that amazing shot against Alberta I was sure his name was on the tankard.

Clocks go forward tomorrow morning here to fit in with USA time, something that was introduced two years ago,  much to most Canadians mild disdain. First thing tomorrow we have the bronze medal game between NL and Saskatchewan then the big one between Northern Ontario and Team Canada.

Brier bits 9

Team Canada will face Newfoundland-Labrador tonight in the one Brier semi-final to be played after just squeaking past Saskatchewan in the 3v4 playoff by 8-7.

The teams exchanged singles then blanked the third before Saskatchewan skip Steve Laycock had to draw the button for one in the fourth. Three missed doubles by Saskatchewan in the fifth gave TC a gift of two shots going into the half time break.

In the sixth a line of stones left Steve Laycock facing a difficult angled double to remove two TC stones. He made the double but his shooter scooted out and he only got the one. 4-3 to TC.

TC drew for a one in the seventh when blanking was not an option and two great draws by Steve Lacock evened up the score at 5-5 in the eighth.

TC then went two ahead in

 the ninth when Pat Simmonds just managed to chip out  the Saskatchewan shot that he could just see a tiny piece of. He was unlucky not to stay for three but his shooter, after jamming on a back stone was frantically swept out of the house by Saskatchewan.

Saskatchewan came right back again in the tenth with Steve Laycock having a double for four with last stone to kill the game but the shooter rolled out taking another counter along with it. 7-7. Extra end.

This was a very tense affair for all the players but TC got a stone onto the back of the tee early and tried to keep things open out front.  When Pat Simmonds’ first stone to the top four didn’t draw enough, Steve Laycock had room to get to the shot and chip it out but his stone just nicked his own stone lying second shot top four and it was all over.

Games 2 and 3 at the Irish Men’s playdowns

Things are tense in Dumfries as our anonymous reporter comments: Going in to Saturdays games, Team Kenny were 1 game to the good.

Saturday however belonged to Team Wilson with 2 solid victories. Game 1 was tied after 5 but a great shot from Peter secured a 2 at the 6th. They never looked back from that and at 9-6 up playing the last Team Wilson ran Team Kenny out of stones.

Game 3 followed a similar pattern with team Kenny one up after 5 and a steal of 1 saw them 2 up playing the 7th. Team Wilson dominated this end though and took a 4. Kenny levelled after 8 but facing a difficult double to cut Team Wilson down at the 9th a pick up left Wilson with a straight forward draw for a 4 and handshakes were offered. Advantage team Wilson going into Sunday.

There are two games scheduled for Sunday and all to play for.