You’ll all enjoy reading this article from our old friend Michael O’Neill:
It was David W that twigged the significance of the day yesterday when he announced that he had a spooky feeling – no, not encountering the kittymeister sleepwalking during the night but the fact that we would be playing Canada again 3 yrs to the exact time in 2012 when we took them on in Taarnby. We didn’t start our prematch routine too well as we put a bit of a dent in our draw shot challenge average which up to that point had been the best in the competition. The game started pretty steadily with Canada scoring a regulation 2 in the first and restricting us to a single when Bill had to nose hit the Canadian counter. The third end was a series of draws to the back corners and when the Canadian skip came to play there were a few Irish stones in play but only counting one. He tried a delicate tap back but only succeeded in locking our counter onto one of his own and spin off to leave us stealing 2. The drama proper began to unfold in the 4th end. Firstly, the Canadian third stepped back and caught the skipper in the Crown Jewels with his brush!!
This was followed by an attempted double to lie 2 by Neil which nearly came off but in the process of trying to sweep the hit stone out, Bill injured himself and had to be assisted from the ice where he was stuck on all fours! A quick assessment of the damage centred around his back and hamstring (he didn’t know he had one up to that point) but that sliding was ok. The eventful end finished with the boys forcing a 1 to tie the scores at 3-3 and the skip retired to the doctors room for further treatment, with the help of Dasha, his now personal interpreter!!
The second half of the game was a pretty much cat and mouse affair with some pretty good curling by both teams with neither one being allowed to impose themselves on the other. The 5th had a fair few stones in play and lying one, Bill tried to draw another up to tap out the Canadian second stone. He nearly got it wrong, narrowly avoiding pushing the Canadians in for shot. The 6th saw Canada score one again and the game then possibly turned in their favour in the 7th when Bills first corner freeze over curled leaving a Canadian stone lying shot and when they drew a second to the house, Bills attempted nose hit didn’t stick and we gave up a 1. We were fast approaching déjà vue territory – all over again! One down with the hammer trying hard to get a 2……. Almost came off but the Canadian skip played a pressure hit and roll to take out Bills first stone leaving him a nose hit to force the extra end which he duly completed. Now we really were in spooky territory!! Extra end against Canada without the hammer – and without Johnjo!! There was further drama to come as the game was halted after two stones as blood was discovered on the ice. Turned out that the opposition lead had developed a nosebleed – and we didn’t touch him, Your Honour; honestly!! The offending matter had to be removed, a little pebbling followed by running a couple of stones over the area…….all really conducive to calming the nerves!! NOT! In the end, we had a chance to get a hit and roll behind a guard to force their skip to draw ( which would have been spookier still) but couldn’t get the roll which left them a nose hit for the game 6-5. Sorry this has been a bit long but it was quite a game. After a beer or two with the Canucks, we then tried to gate crash a private Oligarch party in the restaurant we went to! Having been blown out of that one, the next one we tried was shut for ‘technical reasons’ – probably away spending their ill gotten gains from the bill mix up of two nights previously!! Third time lucky saw us in a Russian restaurant on campus which was very good thankfully. An eventful day but enjoyable nonetheless – more so that the Czechs had beaten Japan which will do our cause no harm at all. More tomorrow as the round robin finishes with games against Italy tonight and Scotland tomorrow. In the meantime, it’s caption competition time from our trip up the mountains today. Answers on a postcard!!
There are so many great photographs of our men up on the WCF photo service that I decided to do a slide show of the latest.
No doubt there will be more to come! Enjoy……
Gutsy, classy display from Ireland – and ultimately heartbreaking – to lose at an extra end.
Two defeats mean the boys will have to get the better of Italy and Scotland in their last two section games.
Why is someone called O’Leary playing for Canada anyway?
Next game is against Italy tomorrow (Wed) at 8pm Rusia Time (6pm UK time).
Otto was born last Wednesday morning to PJ’s daughter Helen and her husband Geoff. Congratulations to all.
PJ has pointed out that as he was born in England to Scottish parents his only chance of playing for Ireland – at any sport – is if he moves there!
Its a topsy turvey world that we inhabit as curlers when in the morning you feel elated to have put a difficult team away and then at night you feel totally deflated after losing a really important game only to be lifted again less than 24 hrs later with an excellent performance to record another win. So it was yesterday and today. After my report on the Latvian game we came out somewhat flat for the evening game against Japan and allowed ourselves to be drawn ( literally ) into playing the game their way and we were unable to impose ourselves on it at all until the break. We fought really hard to steal 4 ends in a row but only singles and in the last end we again had a chance to get our last stone behind a cover stone only to see it rub the guard fractionally and stay in the open. A nose hit from the Japanese skip sealed the win for them. In truth we didn’t pay that badly but every rub seemed to go against us – it was one of those games. We decided a chill out beer was required – well catching up on FB and messages from home really; the beer was someone else’s!
A new day dawned this morning – chucking it down again. We had a minor soaking yesterday after lunch while leaving the Italian restaurant on campus. We were being chased by the waiter at the time who claimed we had short changed the payment of the bill!! Sir Hume is the kittymeister so inevitably got the blame although we are not entirely sure that he wasn’t ‘at it’ to quote T Tierney. On that note the food and facilities are good on the whole and thankfully also reasonably priced thanks to the weak Rouble. Breakfast is a refectory style buffet – reminiscent of boarding school mealtimes ( for Bill anyway).
We managed to take in some of the Mixed Doubles today before our 4pm game against the Czechs. The ice for the MD is undoubtedly superior to ours as it has a more normal swing but our arena has a much better atmosphere.
David W has commented a few times what a buzz it is to curl in an Arena such as the Skating Palace and I’m sure David H feels the same. Bill and Neil have been fortunate to experience it before but both agree that they are a bit disappointed with the way the ice is playing – although it’s definitely improving and it may be that the stones are causing the slow surface and excessive swing.
The facilities, the welcome and the work of the organising committee has been excellent as has been the shuttle transport. The security checks are normal for Russia but we caused a bit of a stir trying to bring our Jameson miniatures in to gift to our opponents. Nyet to alcohol was the comment. Suffice to say we have resolved the problem……..initiative is our middle name.
Back to the curling briefly; we played really well against the Czech team today – managing to do everything we had failed to do yesterday evening. We called the game well and executed our shots well and ran out comfortable winners 11-3. We are now set up to take on Canada tomorrow. There were some really close games in tonight’s session which saw Canada narrowly defeat Japan and Latvia play a great inwick to score 2 in their final end against Scotland to record a 1 shot victory. This tightens up the group which makes our remaining three games crucial to our qualification ambitions. One at a time, tho and we are ready for Canada tomorrow. Even more so now that David W has carb loaded following a Carbonara Pizza!!
Yep, seriously folks!! Here it is!!
finally huge thanks to all who have sent messages of support to the team. We really appreciate them.
Here are some photographs of our men in action from the WCF photo collection: