Mixed Challenge 2013 – results

The Mixed challenge for the right to represent Ireland in this years European Mixed curling competition in September, took place at Greenacres this weekend. Teams were submitted by Robin Gray and Peter J Wilson (who was substituted by Bill Gray due to injury)

The results were:
Game 1: Friday 29th March 2013 at 7:30pm – Robin Gray wins 7-6
Gray * 2 0 1 1 1 1 0 1 7
Wilson 0 1 0 0 0 0 5 0 6

Game 2: Saturday 30th March 013 at 8:30am – Neil Fyfe wins 7-6
Wilson * 0 1 0 2 0 2 2 0 7
Gray     2 0 2 0 1 0 0 1 6

Game 3: Saturday 30th March 2013 at 12:00 – Robin Gray wins 8-4
Wilson * 2 0 0 0 2 0 0 x 4
Gray     0 0 2 2 0 2 2 x 8

MixedChallengeThe winning team representing Ireland this year will be Robin Gray, Louise Kerr, Johnjo Kenny & Hazel Gormley Leahy. Commiserations to Neil Fyfe, Alison Fyfe, Bill Gray & Helen Wilson.

Mixed Challenge – Game 1

TEAM Gray won the first game in the Irish Mixed Challenge 7-6 at Greenacres Ice Rink this evening.

The team – Robin Gray, Louise Kerr, Johnjo Kenny and Hazel Gormley-Leahy were a comfortable five shots up when they lost a five in the seventh end to make it an exciting finish for the spectators. Robin Gray coolly drew the four foot with his last stone for the win.

Team Wilson had to bring in Bill Gray as a sub as PJ Wilson hurt his back and could not curl.

Mixed preview

THE Irish Mixed Challenge for the right to represent Ireland in the European Mixed Curling Championships in September gets underway at Greenacres Ice Rink on Friday night.
There are two rinks entered and they will play a best-of-three series of games.
Team Wilson are the ‘dads and daughters’ combination of skip PJ Wilson, his daughter Helen at lead, Neil Fyfe at second and his daughter Alison playing third stones completes the team. This family-based foursome  will, no doubt, linked by blood ties, have a deep unspoken understanding and the combination of experience and youth bodes well for the future of Irish curling at all levels.
Skip Peter Wilson said: ” We are looking forward to the challenge of playing the vastly more experienced rink and hope that the youthfulness of the girls will pull us through.”
On the other hand, Team Gray, or the ‘Eurozone Crisis Crew’ live so far apart and curl together so rarely they might need name badges to recognise each other at the team meeting. Ireland’s representatives at the last Euro Mixed in Turkey – skip Robin Gray, third Louise Kerr, second Johnjo Kenny and lead Hazel Gormley-Leahy –  will step on the ice for the first time since then in the hope that one member living in Spain and another in Ireland won’t be a handicap!
Skip Robin Gray commented: “After losing out on qualification on a technicality in Turkey in what was one of the toughest groups I have ever played it, its great to get the team back on the ice again to try and qualify for the 2013 Euros. Unfortunately, lack of curling will hamper us given Hazel and myself have not curled since last year’s Euros, and we are up against a team in PJ and Neil who are all curling frequently, the guys moving towards their World Senior campaign in a couple of weeks. I think that we may struggle for consistency, but I am hoping that our experience and strategic ability will keep us competitive in these games. I intend to keep matters quite simple until we get in the groove and also hoping for some practice before the series starts. Unfortunately living in the country you represent is not always the best preparation!”
Game 1 – Practice starts at 7.30pm on Friday, March 29, will the game starting at approximately 8pm.
Game 2 – Practice for the second game on Saturday, March 30 starts at 8.30am with game starting at approximately  9am.
Game 3 (if required) – Practice starts at noon with the decider at approximately 12.30pm.
Once more, a trawl though some old Scottish Curlers produced a couple of cracking photos of both skips in their World Junior bronze-medal winning pomp.
My, how things have changed…….
PJ Robin G

WSCC 2013 Team Profile – Johnjo Kenny

JJK Profile picName – Johnjo Kenny
Age – 52
Occupation – Property Guru.
Status single / married / divorced / still wondering? – Still wondering but not wandering!
Children names and ages please – None
Years curling – 34
Home club and ice Rink – Atlantic Curling Club (Fermanagh), Irish Curling Association. Kinross Curling Club

In-turn or out-turn? – Out. Sometimes both simultaneously.

Best ever curling memory? – Pulling on shirt with Ireland on my back for the first time, closely followed by winning World Senior Gold in Copenhagen last year.

Favourite sport outside curling:
To watch – Tennis
To play – Sledging

If you had to switch careers, what job would you do? – King of Spain.

Favourite TV programme? – Pawn Stars (USA)

Favourite holiday destination and why? – Dingle Bay, County Kerry.  The little bit of heaven that fell to Earth.

Apart from the ICA, what website do you spend the most time on? – Wikipedia

Best / worst subjects at school? – English (best) Latin ( worst) “Ars Longa, vita brevis”… As I often said.

Who’d be your four ideal dinner guests? – Jesus, Charles Darwin, Hilary Clinton, Monica Lewinsky.

Sum yourself up in five words – Let others be my judge

New sponsorship with R-Wear

REA WEAR LOGO IRISH STYLEThe Irish Curling Association has announced a new sponsorship deal with R-Wear, a leading Irish sports wear company, ahead of the 2013 World Senior Curling Championships in Fredericton, New Brunswick, next month.

The Irish senior mens team heading to the championships will wear state-of-the-art base layers designed by R-Wear when they compete in the Grant-Harvey Centre from April 13-20 2013.

Team Ireland base Layers

R-wear’s base layer tops modeled by Peter Wilson, PJ Wilson, Neil Fyfe and Tom Roche of the 2013 World Seniors Mens team.

The clothing has been specifically designed for winter sports athletes and the male Irish players are delighted with the tops, which they wear under their national team kit, as they have proved to be both comfortable and warm.

R-Wear is a quality brand developed by Colin Rea for the sport and casual-wear market.

Colin developed R-Wear brand as he recognised the need for more interesting and diverse range of goods for customers.

The brand is stocked over 100 stores throughout Ireland and the UK. The main products are currently the R-Wear Connects reading glasses and sun glasses which are available in over 70 opticians throughout Ireland and the UK.

Colin comes from a family business background in Bagenalstown, Co.Carlow and also holds a University Degree in Economics.

R-Wear was founded in 2002 and the company is based in the family business department store in Bagenalstown, where Colin is the third generation of his family involved in the business.

R-Wear is a 100 per cent Irish-owned company.

WSCC 2013 Team Profile – Tom Roche

T Roche Profile 2Name – Tom Roche
Age – 50
Occupation – Aftersales Leader
Status single / married / divorced / still wondering? – Married
Children names and ages please – Simon(30) Paul(29), Ewan(11) & Erin(3)
Years curling – 10
Home club and ice rink – Wishaw/Lesmahagow ……. Hamilton Ice Rink.

In-turn or out-turn? – No Preference.

Best ever curling memory? – Winning my first ever International Game against Latvia at the European Championships in Sweden 2012.

Favourite sport outside curling:
To watch – My Son Ewan Playing Football.
To play – Golf.

If you had to switch careers, what job would you do? – I enjoy working with my hands so carpenter/builder.

Favourite TV programme? – Top Gear / Greys Anatomy.

Favourite holiday destination and why?  – Las Vegas where I got married

Apart from the ICA, what website do you spend the most time on? – use computer for skype and facebook only to keep in touch with extended family and friends.

Best / worst subjects at school? –  worst – english, best – tech drawing/woodwork.

Who’d be your four ideal dinner guests? – Obama, Kelly Brook, Alex Ferguson and Angelina Jolie.

Sum yourself up in five words – I don’t suffer fools gladly.

2013 Presidents Report

Bill-GrayPresidents Report:
Irish Curling Association AGM,
17th March 2013

Fellow Irish Curlers.

On sitting down to write this report, and as I contemplate the end of my second stint as your President, I have to say that the events of last April still bring a smile and feeling of ultimate pride in that I was fortunate to be President when we won our first World Championship as a curling nation. The fact that I was also a player was the icing on the cake. Let this not be last time that a President is able to write that!! I could of course bore you to tears with another full account of what that win meant to the ICA but I know that I don’t need to!!

Team on the terrace of ColditzWe have had another busy international programme this year. Since the last AGM, David Smith and Yvonne Chalmers have represented us at the World Mixed Doubles in Erzurum and were then followed in September to the same place by the European Mixed team skipped by Robin Gray. That they all managed to get back in one piece is a testament to Irish fortitude and good luck more than anything else.

ECC2012-Team-at-ChaletThe men’s European team took on a new look this year with a squad skipped by Alan Mitchell carrying the colours to Karlstad. They found it a steep learning curve after coming out of the blocks well against a strong Latvian team but all have gained experience of international competition and will look to gain promotion back out of the C league next season. I do hope that we may be able to field a Ladies European Team next season as well.

Seniors-Playdows-Team-WilsonWe have as you know already had playdowns for the World Seniors in Canada with Peter Wilson’s rink running out winners against Johnjo Kenny’s World Championship team and playdowns are soon to be played for the European Mixed Championships. On behalf of the ICA may I congratulate all of our international representatives for taking the time and money to represent Ireland and for being excellent ambassadors for yourselves and Irish Curling and also wish the teams competing in the World Seniors the best of luck. I must also mention the input of Gordon McIntyre who helped to prepare many of these teams. He now revels in being a World Champion Coach of course!! Carolyn has enlisted his help also in working with a ladies squad this and next season.

The lifeblood of the Association is our membership and it has been pleasing that we are now picking up some new and dare I say it younger curlers as members of the ICA which bodes well for the future both from the Associations point of view and also for representative curling.

The Bonspiels this season have been well supported – none more so than this one today – and I thank all of those who have participated in the various events that we have held. Feedback is always a good thing and would be gratefully received by the committee. Congratulations to all of the Bonspiel winners and participants.

4Nation2013-Win-Marshall-Millennium-TrophyThe 4 Nations was held in Ayr this year where we came up against some pretty strong opposition (although not always playing for the correct nation!!). We very narrowly lost the Turnbull Trophy to England and the Meikle Trophy to Wales but thankfully managed to wrest the Marshall Millennium Trophy out of Scotland’s grasp by a similarly narrow margin. Again, we managed to give everyone who wished to play the opportunity to do so and congratulations and thanks to all of those who participated. It will be our turn to host the 4 nations next season.

Stranraer2013-1The International Bonspiel at Stranraer was one of the best yet. I noted that I had suggested a handicap to the local rink skipped by PJ Wilson which must have worked to a degree as he was usurped this year by another Peter Wilson who fought off the challenge of Neil Fyfe in the last match to clinch the crown. Stranraer connections still hold sway!

Kathie & Jim Nixon

Kathie & Jim Nixon

The event was notable in that Jim and Kathie Nixon have decided to hand over the reins after organising a number of very successful weekends. Again on behalf of the ICA I must thank them most sincerely for all of their efforts.

Ardrossan Castle winning skip Andrew Campbell receives the trophy from ICA President Bill Gray.

Ardrossan Castle winning skip Andrew Campbell receives the trophy from ICA President Bill Gray.

I also noted that I wrote last year that we lost the Belfast Medal to Ardrossan Castle on ‘unbelievably tricky ice’. I can report that this year we unfortunately again lost the medal by some 10 shots on ‘absolutely diabolical ice’ at Auchenharvie. We must endeavour to host this event next year at a different ice rink!

Talking of Ice Rinks, we have again been hugely frustrated with developments or to be more correct, lack of developments over the Irish Sea. As you know and was widely predicted, the Santry project stumbled and ultimately fell off the radar due to lack of funds. Since then, an organisation has built an Ice Dome in Belfast but there is no space in this facility for curling. The company has plans to open a number of these facilities around Ireland and there is hope that the site in Dublin may have sufficient space for a two sheet rink alongside the Ice Rink. We have again contacted the Dundonald Ice Bowl with little effect and so once again we seem to be back at the drawing board stage. This is hugely frustrating and it is very difficult to remain optimistic about the prospects of an Irish Curling presence in Ireland but we must remain positive. John Burns has followed up on all of these projects over the years and we are most grateful to you John, for remaining committed to the cause.

I must express my sincere thanks to all of the committee – Carolyn Hibberd, Peter Wilson, David Whyte, Marie O’Kane, Alan Mitchell and Steve Callan who has taken over the running of the 100 Club. It is not always straight forward juggling the different demands of the various activities within the ICA but I think they do a great job on your behalf. Thanks are also due to Isobel Fyfe for co-ordinating the bonspiels from ice booking to name gathering and so on, Louise Kerr and Christine Furey for co-ordinating the website and blogs.

There will be a major change in the committee this year with the retirement of Ron Paterson as Treasurer and John Burns as Secretary. We owe these gentlemen a huge vote of thanks for their work over the years in these posts.

My final thanks are to all of our members for their unswerving support for the ICA and also for me as I have carried out my two year’s Presidency.

I have been hugely honoured to have been your President and hope that I have carried out my duties in a manner that is deserving of your representation. I will close as I started by unashamedly mentioning the World Seniors win in Copenhagen. WorldSeniors2012IrishMensWorldChampionsThe support that the team received both during the competition but particularly when we got back was overwhelming and humbling. It proved to me that the Association is in good heart and I retire my Presidency happy in that knowledge.

I thank you again for giving me the opportunity to serve this Association as President.

Yours in Curling,

Bill Gray


ICA 2013 AGM

SUNDAY’S Irish Curling Association 19th Annual General Meeting at Hamilton Ice Rink saw a major changing of the guard regarding office-bearers.


Treasurer: David Whyte, President: Peter J Wilson and Secretary: Bill Gray.

John Burns, after 20 years as Secretary, is standing down and Ron Paterson is closing his account as Treasurer after 11 years’ service.

John-Burns-PresentationICA President Bill Gray paid tribute to both men for their exceptional service to the Association over many years and, in John’s case, since the inception of the ICA in December 1993.


John and Ron were both presented with a memento by Bill on behalf of the ICA as a token of everyone’s appreciation. John and Ron expressed their thanks and appreciation.

Presidents-old-and-newBill Gray stepped down as President after completing his two-year stint, handing the reins over to PJ Wilson. Bill will now replace John as Secretary and David Whyte will take over from Ron as Treasurer.

Elected to the committee were Johnjo Kenny and Louise Kerr. The rest of the committee were re-elected.

Closing Bonspiel 2013 – results


Closing bonspiel winners – Bill Radcliffe, Bill Gray (presenting), Neil Fyfe & Craig Whyte

Held at Lanarkshire Ice Rink in Hamilton, Scotland on Sunday 17th March 2013, appropriately enough, St Patrick’s Day.

This is the ICA members closing bonspiel of the season, followed by our 19th Annual General Meeting and rounded off with dinner.

For this bonspeil, attending members were divided up into eight teams who are drawn to play against one other team.

Neil Fyfe’s team won with a +8 score and is the overall winner

Neil Fyfe; Craig Whyte; Bill Radcliffe; Kathie Nixon 12
John Furey; Ian Donald; Claire McCormick; John Burns/Sharon Graham 4

David Whyte; Alan Mitchell; Frances Whyte; Susan Scotland 4
Marie O’Kane; Arran Cameron; Yvonne Chalmers; Jim Nixon 5

John Graham; Louise Kerr; Frances Donald; Steve Callan 9
PJ Wilson; Jim Winning; David Hume; Isla Kinnear 3

Bill Gray; Gillian Drury; Paul Cromey; Mary Radcliffe 10
Johnjo Kenny; Tom Roche; Christine Furey; Elizabeth McKay 3