Ailsa Anderson gives the low down on our red-blooded girlies chewing up all the men at the Haggis.
She reports: “The Irish Ladies got together recently to commence their training head of their return to European action at the C-Division Championships in Ljubljana, Slovenia in April 2016. First to arrive all the way from the warmth and bright lights of Los Angeles was Katie. She along with Clare and Ailsa trained at Greenacres in preparation for the 4 Nations Competition being held there on 16thand 17th January. There were mixed results for the ladies at the 4 Nations. Following a good start against Scotland on the Saturday the Ladies (Ailsa, Katie, Jen and Clare) fell short and eventually lost their game. The second game on Sunday against Wales went much better where the ladies (Alison, Ailsa, Katie and Clare) dominated the game and secured the win. Ultimately, following the other lively games across the weekend, the Ladies formed part of the Triple Crown winning Irish contingence. Extra Team strength training came in the form of pushing Clare’s car which had gotten stuck in the snow on Saturday evening. The reward however was very much worth it as the Team enjoyed a visit to Krispie Kreme and indulged in doughnuts.
“Monday to Wednesday saw intense training with Coach, Martin Sutherland. Two sessions a day at Greenacres gave the Ladies plenty of time to brush up on their skills and execution. The Ladies also found time to establish whether lightsabers could be incorporated into the game of curling hoping that the force be with them in the days and months ahead.
During the Ladies down-time, curling was never too far from the agenda and on Wednesday evening travelled to Mauchline to visit Kays of Scotland. The Ladies found their trip very insightful and came away with new appreciation for the skill and craftsmanship involved in making curling stones. Special thanks goes to Bill Hunter for giving up his evening to show us round. Ailsa promised to stop kicking Bill’s “babies” round on the ice.
“Thursday came, and so the departure of Katie who travelled on to Canada to take part in the Ship Hector Bonspiel with the Bond Girls (which they eventually won – Congratulations Katie and Team). Ailsa, Jen and Alison joined Johnjo and Eoin in Edinburgh for some late night practice.
“A final training session with Coach took place at Greenacres on Friday ahead of the Haggis Competition being held on 23rd and 24th January. This weekend the Ladies were joined for all of 50 hours by Hazel who travelled from Spain to take part in the competition. Alison, Ailsa, Hazel and Jen took to the ice. After a defeat in the first game (against the Greenacres Young Curlers), the Schenkel based competition saw the Irish Ladies take on the Irish Men in the second round. With a great deal of bragging rights at stake, the Ladies led from the start and took the victory. This meant the Ladies would play Stuart Sutherland in Sunday’s 3rd round game. This game was most enjoyable for the Ladies and was close throughout and eventually resulting in a peel for the Ladies.
“After 3 games, the Ladies narrowly found themselves qualifying for the Low Road Semi-Final by one shot. Sadly, Hazel was unavailable for this game as she had to catch a flight back to sunny Spain. With everything to play for, the obvious choice as sub was to call upon the Coach to step in and how us how it’s done. Again, a thrilling match against Bruce Bowyer saw the game going to an extra end before the Ladies taking the win to secured a place in the Low Road Final against Adrian Miekle. Well known to Irish curlers, the Ladies knew this would not be an easy match. However, the Ladies (and Coach) played well to secure the Low Road Title and went away with enough haggis to keep them going until next year!
“Overall, a fantastic week of curling practice and competition. It was great to see the Ladies coming together over the week. Special thanks goes to Coach, Martin for his continued support and hospitality.”