A win is a win!!

Bill Gray (Fourth, Skip) Neil Fyfe (Third, Vice-Skip) David Whyte (Second) David Hume (Lead)

Bill Gray (Fourth, Skip)
Neil Fyfe (Third, Vice-Skip)
David Whyte (Second)
David Hume (Lead)

Day 2 dawned with the knowledge that today’s games would be pivotal in our campaign and we needed to be at out best to come through the day with two wins. A 1200 start time and first practice for the game against Latvia was the order of the day with Bill and Neil rostered in for the two stone DSC. First use of the ice is always tricky and when the skippers draw shot pulled up ( just) at the back of the house, it needed Neil to salvage the situation with his draw – and he duly obliged. The Latvians however had the hammer after their DSC.
The game proved to be a nervy affair with both teams feeling a bit of pressure. We played the first half of the game well limiting the Latvians to a single in the second and picking up a three in the 4th with Bill playing a great angled raise at hack weight round a guard which proved to be the game changer. The second half was nervy with some mistakes – mostly due to the ice keening up dramatically- from both sides although David H and Neil adjusted more quickly than Bill and David W and held the show on the road. We came to the last 1 up with the hammer. The front end and Neil did a great job clearing the guards and when Bill played a good clearing shot on two stones in the house, a failed freeze by the Latvian skip who was heavy left us with a win without having to play last stone. Phew!! All in all, a tough game for various reasons but we were delighted to come out with a win, even if it wasn’t pretty. Japan next up this evening – another big one; but then again, at this level, they all are!!

WSCC – game 2

WSCC2015-Lat-LiveScoreIreland 5 Latvia 3

Ansis Regza (Fourth, Skip) Peteris Sveisbergs (Third, Vice-Skip) Aivars Purmalis (Second) Aivars Gulbis (Lead) Ivars Cernajs (Alternate)

Ansis Regza (Fourth, Skip)
Peteris Sveisbergs (Third, Vice-Skip)
Aivars Purmalis (Second)
Aivars Gulbis (Lead)
Ivars Cernajs (Alternate)

Two games and two wins for Ireland’s senior champs at the worlds.

A three in the fourth end was the difference between the teams and, no doubt, we will hear more detail from Bill in due course.

Next up Japan at 8pm (6pm Russia time). Well done and good luck to Bill, Neil and the Davids.

Fab Four Day 0 and Day 1

Finally, time to reflect on a helter skelter trip to Sochi , quick practice, some sleep and then the opening game.
Our disrupted travel plans were due to a cancelled flight from Moscow to Sochi which entailed a night in the Ramada hotel in Moscow. Interesting…….that’s all to be said about that.

The following day our 10.30 flight became 11.30 by the time we got to the airport and then 12.30 by the time we actually took off! A two hour flight resulted in a late arrival but we have been looked after brilliantly by our own ‘girl ‘guide, Alina. A late practice session gave us our first taste of the arena ice – surprisingly slow and extremely swingy and we hoped it would be better for the game the next day. Hotel accommodation is good and the shuttle service put  on by the Russian Federation certainly eases the movement around the area. Security is tight as always and the scanners immediately picked up David Hume’s stash of miniature Irish Whiskey – not before one had met its demise on the lobby floor in the hotel!! Food and sleep are never far from the minds of this team and fortunately there is a great buffet hall on the campus of the hotel!!

Game 1 saw us take on the might of Kazahkstan in the shape of Victor Kim and his cohorts. It was also our first taste of the new DSC rules: two stones in each Draw Shot; one clockwise and one anti clockwise. Suffice to say, the first up in our rota, DH and DW combined to give us a two stone score of only 34 cm which was the best of all of the games in that session. We started well with a 4 in the first end and that settled us into a steady game where we played to a pretty good standard running out 9-1 winners.

Boys with their board boy

Boys with their board boy

The opening ceremony followed included a fantastic display from some very talented young dancers and singers and the usual first stone  this time delivered by the Mayor of Sochi.

The day ended inevitably with food…but not before Bill and Neil had taken in some of the sights of the Olympic Park

The Iceberg Skating Palace: The best looking building in the park

The Iceberg Skating Palace: The best looking building in the park

. Some of the buildings are spectacular and the addition of the sounds of cars racing all around you on the Formula 1 track adds a certain surreal nature.

Olympic Flame Tower

Olympic Flame Tower

That’s all folks; two games tomorrow so into battle in earnest…..

WSCC – game 1

WSCC2015-LiveScoreIreland 9 Kazakhstan 1

Viktor Kim (Fourth, Skip) Almaz Saidvakassov (Third, Vice-Skip) Roman Kazimirchik (Second) Nikolay Zhorov (Lead) Iskander Farizov (Alternate)

Viktor Kim (Fourth, Skip) Almaz Saidvakassov (Third, Vice-Skip) Roman Kazimirchik (Second) Nikolay Zhorov (Lead) Iskander Farizov (Alternate)

Solid starting performance from Bill and the boys. Four at the first then singles in the second, fourth and fifth put the game in the bag. Kazakhstan got a one in the sixth but a two for Ireland in the seventh end saw handshakes offered by the opposition. Well done men!

Next Game is against Latvia on Sunday at 12 noon local time.

The best of friends – and rivals!

This article, featuring our Neil, appeared in today’s edition of The Galloway Gazette:

Hugh, Neil and Norman

Hugh, Neil and Norman

Earlier this week three Stranraer curlers headed off to the World Senior Curling Championships in Sochi, Russia, to play for two different nations.
Hugh Aitken and Norman Brown will pull on the blue jersey of Scotland while Neil Fyfe will be in the green of Ireland. And to add a bit of spice to the occasion the two nations are due to play each other next Thursday morning.
Hugh and Norman have appeared for Scotland many times over the years, both were junior world champions and European champions in the 1980s and 1990s. They are both making their second appearance on the world seniors stage having competed without success in Ferdericton, Canada in 2013.
Norman said: “We were disappointed with our placing two years ago and we are really going out there to carry on with unfinished business.”
Hugh added: “And as a jeweller, my favourite colour is gold so that’s the only colour of medal I’m coming back with!”
Neil, who has represented Ireland at international level since 2006, also played in Fredericton and at the World Seniors in Dumfries last year. The police sergeant was equally bullish about his team’s chances as three of his teammates won gold in 2012.
“We got knocked out in the quarter-finals last year and we were unlucky not to win that game as we all played well. We will see how it goes in Sochi.”
With a world title at stake, all three curlers said there would be no quarter given when the two teams meet next week. Friends before and after, but not on the ice!
Also in the same section as Scotland and Ireland are Kazakhstan, Latvia, Japan, Czech Republic, Canada and Italy.

JJ ruled out

World Senior Curling Championships 2014, Dumfries, ScotlandThe Irish seniors men’s team heading to the World championships in Sochi was depleted yesterday when Johnjo Kenny was ruled out from travelling. He has to undergo a small operation in the next few weeks and the docs decided a visit to Russia at this point was not the best preparation.. The team will now be the same team which won the Irish Playdowns in January.


Good luck to our Irish men!

Ready to take on the world.......

Ready to take on the world…….

Johnjo, Bill, Neil, and the two Davids are packing their broombag at this very minute prior to heading off on the long road to Sochi on Thursday morning.

All the members of the ICA wish them all the best in their quest for a second world title and another big shiny gold medal.

Their first game is against Kazakhstan on Saturday morning at 8.30am (Sochi time) which will be 6.30am back here. They then take on Latvia, Japan, Czech Republic, Canada, Italy and Scotland,  who are all in the same group.

Bill will keep us updated on the website blog with scores, comments, observations and a photo or two, time allowing of course.

ICA v Ardrossan Castle

Carolyn Hibberd reports: “The  ICA annual fixture against Ardrossan Castle Curling Club took place on Wednesday 1st April at the Greenacres Rink.
The Irish Ladies Team had arrived at Greenacres earlier in the day for training and were pleased to play a game together in the match.

After a shaky start the girls played a solid second half to finish a close 7-10 down to a strong Ardrossan Castle team, skipped by Frazer Erskine. Thanks to KT Kerr, Hazel Gormley-Leahy, Alison Fyfe and Ailsa Anderson.
The second match was against the “weel kent” Ardrossan Castle team skipped by Gordon Christie. The Irish four were Carolyn (lead and skip), Margarita and Alan with Arran playing last stones. This format worked pretty well for most of the time and the game was very close until the last two ends.   Unfortunately the final score was a loss by 5-10.
This International is always a fun evening with the games being played in the true spirit of  of  bonspiel curling.
Thanks to our players for taking part and to JJ and Martin for their support of the Ladies Team and to Liz Knox also for being our cheerleader!
Once again Ardrossan Castle brought the Trophy with them and took it back again.”

One trophy going further afield was the ‘ICA Glittertree’ which was presented to our California girl Katie Kerr  by Johnjo Kenny after her stunning Christmas tree won the Chistmas tree challenge for 2014. Katie also won some tasty Tayto crisps, and thanks go to Peter Wilson who brought them over with him last weekend, but they seem to have gone missing before they could be presented to her!

Johnjo presents Katie with the ICA Glittertree. But who ate all the crisps?

Johnjo presents Katie with the ICA Glittertree. But who ate all the crisps?