First game result:
Team Gray BT Team Kenny 5-2.
Report to follow.
First game result:
Team Gray BT Team Kenny 5-2.
Report to follow.
It’s not long now till we embark on our annual pilgrimage to Stranraer for our Irish International Bonspiel weekend. Once again, PJD Wilson and Louise Kerr are in charge and we are pleased to announce that the draw for the 4 game Schenkel format has been made, verified by an independent panel (if you believe that you’ll believe anything) and ready to publish. As you can see we are still one team short but we will undoubtedly fill the gap. If however, you have a team ready and waiting, let PJ know.
Saturday 9am and 1 pm:
|Craig Whyte v Tommy Campbell|
|John Graham v Peter JD Wilson|
|Jim Cullen v John Gilmore|
|Arran Cameron v A N Other|
Saturday 11am and 3pm:
|Michael Sutherland v Bill Gray|
|John Wilson v Bill Byers|
|Ian Donald v Johnjo Kenny|
|Peter Wilson v Andy Robinson|
We held our Xmas Bonspiel at Hamilton on Thursday with four teams contesting the perpetual trophy and also prizes organised by Craig Whyte.
We struggled a little for teams but in the end, due to late fill ins by Ruth Burns (daughter of John) and also David and Jonathon Imlah from Brisbane, we went ahead with a full complement.
The winners (both games were very close) were James Russell, Martin Sutherland, Ian Donald and Clare McCormick. Thanks to all but especially to the Imlah’s for coming all the way from Brisbane just to play in the Bonspiel (!!)
Ireland gained some success at the recent European B League championships in Braehead when ICA member, Alan Mitchell, won a tremendous B league silver medal as coach to the successful Slovakian Men’s team. Not only did the team of Jakub Polák, David Misun, Patrick Kapralik & Juraj Gallo win the silver medal but gained promotion to the European A league for 2017. Congratulations, guys!
In our last game, Team Ireland stepped up to the plate against a Slovakian team that needed a victory to progress. Right from the start, we were a totally different proposition than we had been in some of our previous games-perhaps because we were able to relax with the pressure off. Having said that, we desperately wanted to win to finish on a positive note. The Barr family provided us with the hammer courtesy of a great LSD from Jacqui and off we went. We were able to control the game pretty much all the way through with the exception of the 6th end. In that end a couple of takeouts that didn’t quite work out left the Slovakians with a draw for 3 which they would never have made had it not been for their exceptional sweeping which was a feature throughout the game. It just shows what can be achieved on ice this quick with dynamic sweeping. That three left us 4-3 down after 6. A well played end in the 7th allowed Bill to draw for 2 to go one ahead
The coffin lid was finally nailed down on Team Ireland’s qualification hopes today in the match against Finland. It was tacked down after a disappointing LSD which effectively scuppered our hopes. In the match itself, it was the skips turn to catch the weight disease early on but a near freeze in the first lying four against with his last caused the Finnish skip to go safety first and a score of 2 resulted. We played much better at times during this game but the loss of a big 3 in the 4th put us on the back foot again and against a very accurate striking team as the Finns were, we just couldn’t keep enough stones in play to force either a multiple score or a steal. We have one more game tomorrow at 8am (the joys) against Slovakia so it’s off to late practice tonight and then up and at them tomorrow. There is a little extra spice in this in that Slovakia and England’s relative hopes rest on the result. Win for us and England go through; lose and the Slovakians get the nod over England and Finland they think. Anyway despite all of that we will be going all out to finish on a high.
Team Ireland took to the ice at 8pm last night for their only game of the day against the Hungarians who on paper at least looked a pretty strong team – and so it proved. Having given up the hammer from the LSD, we then compounded this by once again struggling with the weight on probably the fastest sheet we have played on so far (and the fastest I have ever experienced). Consequently we gave up a 4 and were on the back foot for the remainder of the game.
Hungary rarely missed a shot but we hung in after losing a further 2 in the 2nd and played some better shots but it’s fair to say that we were not allowed a look in as the opposition removed any opportunity of multiple scoring in a professional display. I would think they will go a long way in this competition. No excuses really; we can’t let a team such as Hungary get an early big lead as the standard of their play along with many others in this tournament is excellent. We still have a chance to qualify by winning our last two games and relying on some other results going our way so still plenty to go at. A day off today (watching SWE v ENG as I write this) and then up and at Finland tomorrow at 1200 MSK time.
Sorry folks. At last an update from the tour so far. Apologies from the blogger. Couldn’t get a ribbon for my Russian Orthodox blog machine!!
As a result there is much to report!
Team Ireland arrived safely in Kazan after a remarkably uneventful trip. There was a moment of consternation arriving in Moscow when we were directed behind a screen at passport control to find ourselves in the Diplomatic area. Our status had gone before us, obviously although there was a further small alarm when Margarita seemed to take an age to come through the control.
Check in to the Kazan flight followed almost seamlessly although the check in girl dealing with Ross and the broom bag suddenly bolted from her desk and ran off leaving a bemused Barr family stranded. She did eventually return looking refreshed!
As usual, the organising committee have excelled themselves with their customary efficiency and bus transport, hotels and security (!) have posed no problems so far.
The opening ceremony was a great affair with dancers and musicians along with the athlete parade. Jacqui – our international debutant – was entrusted with the fleg and led us out.
The arena is impressive and looking spectacular – a great place for a great event and while I gave already reported on the games, in general we are pretty happy with the ice etc. Food in the sport complex is pretty pricey and has to be preordered so we have given that a miss but unfortunately there is nowhere to have a drink of anything with our opponents after the game although we did go to the adjacent shopping mall for a coffee with Team England – we weren’t going to let them off scott-free after handing us our second defeat! We are storing up some celebratory drinks with our playing colleagues on Saturday night.I’m particularly looking forward to catching up with the Brazilians again. Samba time
Thankfully near our hotel there are loads of restaurants and bars (latter for after the competition obviously). Ross is the orderer-in chief with his impressive grasp of Russian – also knows how to ask for the bill, pay for it and say thank you! Top man.
We have been joined on this trip by the originally named ‘Paddy the Bear’ courtesy of one of a Jacqui’s work colleagues.
Unfortunately he has already been banned from the coaches bench (coach and manager had failed to read the Team Document), the broom bag (too much hair falling out) and is now to be found in a rucksack! He has also been renamed Padraig to further enshrine the all-Ireland status of the team.
As I write we have been on a city tour but to avoid too long a blog entry, more on that later. For now it’s back to curling. We are in a must win situation just now so Hungary tonight.
Team Ireland took on the Vancouver based Brazilians in their third game and right from the outset started to put their opposition under pressure by getting stones in much better places than in either of the first two games. We picked up three in each of the first two ends before Brazil opened their account with a single. A further three after an angled raise tap by the skip to take out the Brazilians shot stone gave us a 9-1 lead at the 4 end break. Somewhat inevitably, concentration wavered a little in the fifth and sixth ends to allow Brazil to score a 2 and steal a single in the sixth. We played a great 7th end and when Bill removed the Brazilian counter with his last to score 4, handshakes were offered. A great sigh of relief to get a win under our belts after the earlier disappointment sees the team in better spirits. Tour of the city this morning before the 8pm game against Hungary.
Well….where to start? Team Ireland started solidly enough in this tussle with England with much more than bragging rights potentially at stake. A clean first end with the hammer after Jacqui and Ross had thrown good LSD’s ended with a single as Bill’s attempted blank didn’t quite roll out.
We were struggling a bit with the weight as the game went through the next few ends until the 4th where after multiple missed shots, Bill faced 4 with his last and managed to draw round and although a little heavy came to rest art frozen taking three shots out of play. The English skip tried to clear for three but jammed our stone and we escaped with a loss of 2. Unfortunately the weight malaise continued and we struggled to impose ourselves at all and despite going to the last 5-5 we never really looked to be in a position to steal until late in the end but couldn’t make them play their last. A disappointing result but actually both teams agreed afterwards that neither had played that well.
Onwards and upwards for the greens. Brazil next at 4pm so it will be colourful!!