THE recent success at senior level of all those crack junior curlers from 30 – or more – years ago has brought some entertaining photographs to light.
TWO curling-mad brothers are heading for the World Senior Curling Championships in Canada next month – one to represent Ireland and the other to represent England.
Fifty-year-old Neil Fyfe will throw second stones for the Irish men while his 52-year-old brother Alastair will travel as the English fifth player.
For police officer Neil, who lives in Portpatrick, near Stranraer, this is his first trip to the World Seniors although he has previously represented Ireland at the European Championships ‘A’ league in 2006 and 2008 and ‘B’ league in 2007, 2009, 2010 and 2011.
On the other hand, this will be Biggar resident and Transport Scotland rail boss, Alastair’s first trip to an international curling event.
They qualify for international duty because their father, the late John Fyfe, was English, and their mother Isobel is Irish.
Proud mum Isobel said: “I hope they both play well, enjoy the experience and I am just sorry I’m not going to be there.”
The two teams are in different sections of the competition so the only hope of the brothers playing against each other would be in the knock-out stages.
Name – Neil Fyfe
Age – 51 (will be by the time the Worlds are being played)
Occupation – Police Officer
Status – single / married / divorced / still wondering? – Married
Children – names and ages please – Alison (18) and Mark (14)
Years curling – 37
Home club and ice rink – Leswalt Curling Club playing at Stranraer Ice Rink
In-turn or out-turn? – Either!
Best ever curling memory? – When playing for Ireland in the European Curling Championships in Basel in 2006 beating Thomas Ulsrud from Norway, or winning a junior game of curling at Perth Ice Rink 1-0 after ten ends in Perth in the late 1970’s (before the introduction of the free guard zone rule).
Favourite sport outside curling:
To watch – Volleyball (and not just women’s beach volleyball – although that is rather enjoyable!)
To play – Mountain biking
If you had to switch careers, what job would you do? – Undertaker
Favourite TV programme? – Top Gear
Favourite holiday destination and why? – Florida. Best family holiday memories ever.
Apart from the ICA, what website do you spend the most time on? – Various other curling ones – I really miss Skip Cottage Curling website though. It was the best ever. I think Bob Cowan is a brilliant journalist.
Best / worst subjects at school? – Best – Maths, music or P.E. Worst – Latin by a country mile (yuck!!)
Who’d be your four ideal dinner guests? – Jeremy Clarkson, Margaret Thatcher, Graham Norton and Piers Morgan (only so that he can be put in his place by the others as I find him incredibly condescending and annoying)
Sum yourself up in five words – Brutally honest, competitive, helpful, completer-finisher (not necessarily the words my wife would use to describe me though)
The eight senior curlers from Stranraer Ice Rink that are representing two nations at the forthcoming World Senior Curling championships in Canada gathered at their local ice rink recently for a unique photo opportunity.
From left to right – Peter Wilson (skip – Ireland men), Norman Brown (third – Scotland men), Louise Kerr (third – Ireland women), Christine Cannon (skip – Scotland women); PJ Wilson (third – Ireland men), Andrew McQuistin (second – Scotland men), Neil Fyfe (second – Ireland men), Hugh Aitken (lead – Scotland men).
Name – Peter J D Wilson
Age – 58
Occupation – Civil Engineer and Farmer
Status – single / married / divorced / still wondering? – married.
Children – names and ages please – 2 – Helen (29), John (27).
Years curling – 43
Home club and ice rink – Stranraer Ice Rink, Scotland. Limekiln Curling Club
In-turn or out-turn? – in-turn.
Best ever curling memory? – Winning Scottish Juniors / watching son win Scottish Schools.
Favourite sport outside curling:
To watch – rugby
To play – golf
If you had to switch careers, what job would you do? – Archaeologist.
Favourite TV programme? – NCIS
Favourite holiday destination and why? – Madeira – not too warm.
Apart from the ICA, what website do you spend the most time on? – Suffolk Sheep Society.
Best / worst subjects at school? – best – maths / worst – French
Who’d be your four ideal dinner guests? – Sigourney Weaver, Eddie Turnbull (Hibs legend), Annette Norberg and my wife Anne.
Sum yourself up in five words – Friendly, fun-loving, hate to lose.
Ireland is represented in this weekends Hammerheads Trophy in the Netherlands – Alan Mitchell, John Furey, James Russell and Arran Cameron have entered a team as part of their European Mens squad training – good luck.
Team Ireland play on Friday at 10:45am (lost 5-4) & 18:30 (won)and on Saturday at 8am (won). They don’t play Schenkel system, but have QF/SF/F after the 3 game group stage.
James reports: “Played last night (Friday) and beat a team called House Rules. We all agreed we could have played a lot better but finding the right ice was tricky on the sheet we had. But a win is a win. Came down to the last end and we were textbook with the hammer and got a deserved 3. Then at 8 this morning we played New York Pizza team (who I think challenged for the Dutch championship) in a much better game than last night. Still on the tricky sheet but we played well. Should have killed the game earlier than we did but the ice caught us out again so in the last end Alan was left to draw the button against 2 with a guard blocking the easy way in. But at last the funny ice was our friend and the stone drew enough and we out counted them by less than an inch. We should now be in a quarter final at 6pm but we’re not sure who against as there are games still going on. On the whole morale is up and we’re feeling keen for more.”
Update from James late Saturday night – “We had a fantastic game against the Dutch junior squad (who were skipped by their coach as their usual skip had to go to work). The game was great, both the result for us and the play throughout.
After getting the hammer for the first time in 4 games, we capitalised right away by taking a 2 (although we narrowly missed out on a 3) This got the game off to a positive start. We were close to a steal of 1 in the second but some clever play from the young Dutch vice skip secured the blank for the juniors. They went on to take a 2 in the 3rd to level the score and hand us back the hammer. Sadly, through a breakdown in communication, we managed to have an end stolen from us for the first time in the tournament. The score now sat at 3-2 to the Dutch.
After the steal we had a focused yet short team talk and we were back in the right mindset to bounce back with a 2 in the 5th end. To upset the rhythm of the game further we managed to snatch ones in both the 6th and 7th ends. Sitting 6-3 ahead against the hammer going into the last end we were feeling quietly confident.
We played the clean end, removing their stones from the house every time they had a look in and eventually we ran them out of stones, at which point they conceded the game to us. We are now set up to play a semi final grudge match against the current Dutch champions Van Dorp.
The same team that showed two of our team exactly how to beat the Irish a few months ago in Sweden at the Europeans. But we are back with a greater understanding, more experience and most importantly of all more confidence in our ability to function as a team. Fingers crossed for a superb game at 9.30am!!”
Skip, Alan Mitchell, summed it up: “Nervy win against Dutch juniors and into semi final in morning v Dutch champs ‘van dorp’. Need to play at our best to have a chance.”
Team Irelands third, John Furey concludes “We finished the Hammerhead Trophy with third place after a good game against Van Dorp which we lost and a bad game against AwesomeSauce, which we won”
It is not all curling though ….
JOHNJO Kenny, the World Senior Champion skip from 2012, will travel to Canada in April as fifth man player for the new Irish Mens Seniors team heading for the 2013 World Senior Curling Championship in Fredericton, New Brunswick.
Having beaten Johnjo’s current world champion rink at a playdown in January, Peter Wilson, the triumphant skip of the new Irish Senior Champions rink, said: “We chose to take Johnjo because he was the best player available. Having him there means we have lots of options and all our bases covered.”