Bonspiel Dec 2012 – results

Held at Hamilton Ice Rink in Scotland on Friday 28th December 2012. For this bonspiel, attending members were divided up into six rinks who are drawn to play against one other rink.

David Whyte, Alistair Fyfe, Frances Donald and Steve Callan
Carolyn Hibberd, Ian Donald, Christine Furey and Jim Nixon

David’s team won 12-6 and were the overall winners.

Alan Mitchell, Tommy Campbell, Bill Radcliffe, Clare McCormick
Neil Fyfe, Scott Lumsden, Mary Radcliffe, Sue Scotland
Alan’s team won 7-3

Bill Gray, John Anderson, Craig Whyte and Kathie Nixon
David Smith, Dave Hibberd, Vicki Lumsden and Frances Whyte
Bill’s team won 9-7

ECC 2012 Blog 5

(Suter, M) – 0 0 4 0 3 0 2 0 1 0 – 10
Ireland     – 0 1 0 2 0 1 0 2 0 1 – 7

Wednesday morning was ‘last chance saloon’ and a must win against Belgium .

A victory would provide the opportunity to play off versus Austria to secure ‘B’ division status whilst completing the objective of the week.

A detailed post match analysis and statistical review of the previous outing led to a couple of team lineup changes and the team took to the ice with renewed confidence and determination.

After a perfect ‘draw shot challenge’ – the match started well but it wasn’t too long before a couple of misplaced shots resulted in a loss of 4 at the 3rd, then a bizarre pickup at the 5th led to a further loss of 3, when a steal of 1 was all but secure. The team dug in and chipped away at the lead, but following a now familiar pattern, there weren’t enough ends to fully catch up. Positives from the game were a few decent individual percentages recorded on the now essential iPad App and talking ends and slowly but surely learning how to play against the high standard of opposition throughout the competition where doubles, trebles and even quadruple take outs are bulk standard, while errors can be severely punished.

With good experience now in the ‘locker’ we hope that the team can draw strength from the many painful lessons and start to build for the future.

Written from Sweden by Alan Mitchell

ECC 2012 Blog 4

Lithuania (Vyskupaitis, T) 0 1 1 1 0 0 2 3 1 X 10
Ireland 0 0 0 0 2 1 0 0 0 X 3

For us, the Lithuanian match was a must win. Sadly, must doesn’t translate to can, will or did. With painful defeat still fresh in the memories of both teams, we took the ice and began to feel how each other were playing.

A slow start to the game was followed by the Lithuanians taking an early lead. A positive fifth end from Team Ireland brought us into the break with good spirits. A steal in the sixth end brought us back evens – everything was left to play for, or as Dave puts it “I could have been in bed for an extra hour”.

Unfortunately, we weren’t carrying the luck of the Irish wasn’t with us for this game – In the end the Lithuanians got the better of us after a few high scores – the ninth end had to be a win after a disappointing pair, and Losing a 1 forced us to concede.

Post-match, a questionable lunch of what appeared to be spam and smash was ‘enjoyed’ before an early afternoon excursion to catch the first few ends of Scotland – Norway in a sadly empty looking arena:

Discussion was had on many game elements whilst appreciating the quality of shots happening before us – It turned out to be a fantastic wind down after the previous match, and a suitably peaceful precursor to the next game. Sadly, however, none of us managed to appear on Eurosport or the big screen as far as we’re aware.

Netherlands (van Drop, J) 2 0 1 1 0 2 0 1 1 X 8
Ireland 0 1 0 0 1 0 1 0 0 X 3

The game against the Dutch boys was a satisfying match. As in previous games this week, we raised our game to match theirs and put in one of our best performances to date.

Tom Roche and Craig Whyte were rotated, with Craig comfortably filling a large pair of shoes as lead. Tom, never one to sit by and watch others working hard, adapted to his new role as the iPad wielding end-by-end, shot-by-shot analyst.

A further refined practise session lead us easily into the beginning of the match – the first few ends were the teams testing one another – the Dutch boys, as far as we saw, were pinpoint accurate on their bigger weights and their draws were well considered and placed.

From then it proved to be enjoyable for all on-ice members of the Irish squad – we all played as well as we have this season and had a good match with the Dutch boys. We went into the fifth end break positive and happy with how the game was going, but in the face of triple-takeouts and relentless play, scores slipped in their favour.
Compared with previous games, the approach taken was much more aggressive – more freezing, drawing and careful guarding shots were brought into play, proving troublesome to the Dutch. Sadly, their big weights and quality of play proved more troublesome for us.

Poland (Glowania, J) 3 0 1 0 2 0 1 3 X X 10
Ireland 0 1 0 2 0 1 0 0 X X 4

The game against Poland was never to be an easy one. Similar to us, they’d had a mixed competition – a big loss against the Belgians yesterday and some early success.

We went in looking for a good game – the last few days have seen slight change to more aggressive tactics, and this continued through this game. The Polish were more than happy to respond – from the get-go we had busy heads, draws and freezes.

Despite losing a 3 very early on, we had the good game we were after – a variety of interesting shots were played with a spread of results on both sides. Again, the Polish had a good sprinkling of the luck we’ve failed to grasp. In the end, their experience won over – to get back in the game, Team Ireland played a big gamble on the 8th end – sadly, the guddle we went for worked against us.


The big take away from today and previous days is to never underestimate what you face – the B-League has a fantastic level of play, and many talented and well trained squads putting in excellent performances. Whoever is relegated from the A-League might be in for a shock from the teams awaiting them.

At this level, we’ve come to understand, experience counts in everything you do – shot playing experience, knowledge of how the competition runs, the ability to play under time pressure and understanding of what you’re coming up against in other games. Returning from the competition, we’ll be a much stronger team and more aware of what has to be done in the next round. Despite all this experience we’ve gained, there’s still plenty of things to be learned, tweaked and iterated upon in the near future.

Written from Sweden by David Hibberd

ECC 2012 Blog 3

Ireland v Austria

Austria 0 2 1 1 1 0 0 1 0 X – 6
Ireland 0 0 0 0 0 1 2 0 1 X – 4

Schizophrenia is a weird condition. It afflicts the sufferer under unknown starting conditions and is completely debilitating when it strikes. So it is tonight, the Ireland team who are reflecting on what they know about curling and what they know about their own team dynamics.

The game started cautiously enough, which was good for the Irish team, it gave them an opportunity to play themselves into a game that they started decidedly shakily. And from there it went downwards at a fairly low gradient with the loss of a two and a steady stream of ones as a mixture of bad draw weight, poorly called ice, and shots which required Thomas Ulsrud to turn up were performed as the final shots.

And so it was onto the fifth end break – the team had to decide whether to continue their current tactics or switch to new ones. If they switched to new tactics, what would they be? The answer was this: ‘why don’t we try and be aggressive like we were on occasions against Latvia’?

A game of two halves is a hackneyed phrase but it adequately describes this game. The Irish team went onto the attack and the Austrians struggled to handle the switch. In the sixth end the Irish team called an early timeout as a promising end developed that might have allowed a four, but the angles were just slightly off. A two at the seventh turned up the heat just a little bit more and it was obvious that the Austrian team had lost the momentum and were uncomfortable with the new status quo.

It was the ninth end, though, that decided the game. The Irish team were lying three stones with the Austrians’ final skip stones to play. Unfortunately, he managed to lift the three open stones forcing the Irish to draw for a desultory one, leaving little hope in the final end. Final score 6-4 to Austria.

Written from Sweden by John Furey

ECC 2012 Blog 2

Team headquarters for Ireland in the 2012 European Curling championships is a traditional Swedish chalet set in a forested area next to lake Vänern, one of the largest inland lakes in Europe. The scene is an idyll albeit a cold one with temperatures oscillating between -5 and -15 ̊C. The snow generally falls as a light dusting but it’s cold enough to freeze the moisture straight out of the air on cloudless nights.

Situated roughly half an hour from the ‘B’ Arena the team have to negotiate some fairly rugged terrain to get to the Ice. There seems to be plenty of wildlife in the area – there have been a couple of incidents with deer on the snow-covered roads – and a tame (sly) fox that approaches the house at night.

Karlstad is a typical utilitarian city whose main feature is the aforementioned lake. The ‘A’ Arena is the ice hockey rink for the local team, FB Karlstad, while the ‘B’ Arena is Karlstad’s main curling hall, a relatively new eight sheet rink situated in an area of the city that seems to be zoned for various sports. The ice hall looks to be one of the most modern and best equipped curling halls in Europe.

Ireland v Croatia
Croatia 0 0 1 1 1 0 1 1 2 X – 7
Ireland 1 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 X – 3

Ireland rounded off their first day at the Karlstad European curling tournament with a disappointing display against Croatia eventually losing 7-3. The game started brightly enough with a single then a steal of two. The third end, too, was looking promising with two Irish stones in the four foot to defend but a missed guard allowed the Croatians in for a single and this started the demise of the Irish team for the evening.
As in the Latvian Game the Irish team had a very poor middle section and looked for a way to pull themselves out of a rut of poor stones. This appeared to be working with a blank end in the sixth to calm things down and then a good position in the seventh where they lay one buried on the button with fourth stones to follow. But a superb stone by the Croatian skip managed to pull around the guard and tap the lying shot back two feet to reverse the position. This left the Irish team with a draw to the side of the four foot to stop the steal but the stone ran on for an extra foot and the miss effectively broke the will of the Irish team for the evening.
Overall a disappointing performance by the team but they are re-grouping for a single match tomorrow against the Austrians in the afternoon.

Written from Sweden by John Furey

ECC 2012 Blog 1

Day 1 Game 1 At the European Curling Championships in Karlstad, Sweden

Latvia  1 0 0 1 1 0 1 0 0 1 – 5
Ireland 0 1 3 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 – 6

Ireland got off to a wining start in their first game against Latvia in the 2012 European Curling championships in Karlstad. And Latvia, one of the stronger teams in the B division, promised a tough test for the relatively inexperienced Irish side.

The game started tentatively with Latvia ultimately burying a shot on the edge of the four feet with the last two stones to be played. However, power sweeping by the Irish team dragged an out-counting corner freeze onto the hidden Latvian stone forcing their skip to draw to the four foot to take his single.

The second end was similar in tone. The Latvians finished the end with a shot buried in the middle of the eight but the route to the button was open and the Irish team drew to the four to take a single.

At this stage the Latvians were edging the Irish team slightly and they decided to open up their play in the third. However, a couple of misplaced shots and a jamb, left Irish counters lying in the twelve. On the final Irish stone a simple draw to the top of the four came up a foot short which was enough to tempt the Latvians into the draw for their single but they misjudged the shot entirely ceding a three to a disbelieving Irish side.

At this stage the Irish team were well and truly confused. Amongst all the scenarios previously run through in training, one-down, two-down, three-down, peels…three-up wasn’t considered. A quick confab came up with the solution ‘keep it clean’. At the same time the Latvians must have decided ‘all-out attack’. And the next five ends were painful as the fortuitous lead slowly evaporated. However, the Latvians were running out of ends and at the ninth end the Irish team realised that the game was almost done…if they became a bit aggressive. A fleeting chance arose and a second from last Irish draw onto an Irish stone sitting on the button meant the Latvians had to lift a tricky double to stop the two. They only managed one of the stones leaving the Irish with a simple draw to put some daylight between the two teams again.

The last end was played out very quickly due to time pressure on both sides. The Latvians had a half stone hit to take a two and force the extra end but their striking stone rolled out leaving the Irish team pleased-as-punch 6-5 winners. Prior to the match the Irish team were worried about their speed of play but I’m pleased to announce they had a comfortable 25 seconds on the clock at the end of play.

Written from Sweden by John Furey

ECC 2012 Irish Draw

Here are Team Ireland’s round robin games – you can check out the full draw for the European Curling Championship B Section and watch some of the A section games online.

  • Sat 8th Dec – 8am vs LATVIA; 4pm vs CROATIA
  • Sun, 9th Dec – 4pm vs AUSTRIA
  • Mon 10th Dec – 8am vs LITHUANIA; 4pm vs THE NETHERLANDS
  • Tues 11th Dec – 8am vs POLAND
  • Wed 12th Dec – 8am vs BELGIUM

All in Swedish time please note!

Team member John Furey will be blogging throughout the competition.

ECC 2012 Team Profile – Alan Mitchell

Name – Alan Mitchell
Age – 42
Occupation – Designer and Printer
Status – single / married / divorced / still wondering? – Engaged – still need to set a date!
Children – names and ages please – only Baxter the dog who is now 4.5 years
Years curling – 8 years followed by 15 year break then 3 years
Home club and ice rink – Reform, Greenacres.

Favourite sport outside curling:
To watch – Football.
To play – Sailing but more likely golf.

Who would you really like to meet? – I had the pleasure of meeting Seve Ballesteros.

Favourite TV programme? – Modern Family – its a scream!

Favourite holiday destination and why? Antigua – sun, wind and sea.

Favourite other Irish curler and why? – David Smith – he has the enthusiasm and energy of 1000 others.

You can save one prized possession. What is it? – Obviously Baxter the dog, but otherwise Lewis the bear (30 years old).

Who would you choose to be marooned on a desert island with? – Kilmarnock Fc manager and Irish Legend -Kenny Shiels – he would certainly keep me alert and amused with his theories and strategies for life.

Sum yourself up in five words – determined, ambitious, fresh air lover.

ECC 2012 Team Profile – Craig Whyte

Craig Whyte

Craig Whyte

Name – Craig Whyte
Age – 23
Occupation – Financial Auditor
Status – single / married / divorced / still wondering? – In a long term relationship
Years curling – 5
Home club and ice rink – My home rink is Murrayfield and home club would have to be Edinburgh University where I started playing, although I now play with the Barbarians which is also a great club.

Favourite sport outside curling:
To watch – Football or Tennis – watching Greenock Morton on a Saturday is always good for the nerves and it’s a great era to watch tennis, particularly as a Murray fan!
To play – Skiing, closely followed by Squash and Golf

Who would you really like to meet? – Tiger Woods – despite all the controversy, he was one of my sporting hero’s growing up

Favourite TV programme? – Arrested Development for laughs, 24 or Spooks for thrills

Favourite holiday destination and why? – The Alps – snow, sun and miles of skiing, what more could you want?

Favourite other Irish curler and why? – David Whyte – part of the World Championship Men’s Senior team who defied the odds and beat Canada in the final, plus he’s my Dad so I need to stay on his good side with Christmas fast approaching!

You can save one prized possession. What is it? – My electric guitar, have many happy memories from high school with it, plus aslong as I have it I can keep the pipe-dream of becoming a rock star alive

Who would you choose to be marooned on a desert island with? Derren Brown – saw him live this year and his show was mind-blowing, would love to find out all the secrets behind his tricks

Sum yourself up in five words – Driven, enthusiastic, fun, reliable positive

ECC 2012 Team Profile – Tom Roche

Tom Roche

Tom Roche

Name – Tom Roche
Age – 50
Occupation – After Sales Leader
Status – Married
Children – names and ages please – Simon 30, Paul 29, Ewan 11 and Erin 3.
Years curling – 10
Home club and ice rink – Wishaw/Lesmahagow, Hamilton ice rink.

Favourite sport outside curling:
To watch – Football.
To play – Golf.

Who would you really like to meet? – President Obama.

Favourite TV programme? – Greys anatomy.

Favourite holiday destination and why? – Portugal, hot with a breeze.

Favourite other Irish curler and why? – John Jo Kenny, the gentle giant.

You can save one prized possession. What is it? – car keys.

Who would you choose to be marooned on a desert island with? – Kelly Brooke.

Sum yourself up in five words – I dont suffer fools gladly.