It was a game of two halves…

Mousemaster Eoin McCrossan reports on the recent digital curling challenge between Ireland and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia:

The Mousemaster

“Eight ICA members were victorious in their international digital curling challenge against Saudi Arabia overcoming an overnight deficit to secure a 124-116 victory. The curlers were split into two teams of four and took on four of their Saudi counterparts across the weekend. Eoin, Gillian, David and Clare teamed up in half of the draw with John Wilson, Johnjo, Frances and Tom completing the octet. The competition was based on total shots, with the nation scoring the most winning.

“The competition began with opening ceremonies and greetings between both side with President David welcoming the challenge from the Saudi contingent. A strong start on Saturday morning saw the Irish storm out to a commanding lead before a swift reversal of fortunes and some incredibly dominant Saudi wins swung momentum in their favour and saw them take an overnight lead of eight shots.

“After overnight pep talks and renewed focus the Irish kept everything tight and clawed back shot after shot as things got tighter and then tension rose. Sunday afternoon was the hammer blow for the Saudi effort with some crucial large wins for the Irish squad meant they had an unassailable seven shot lead heading into the last game. An entertaining four ends followed with the ‘Mousemaster’ playing an aggressive game an emerge victorious and cap the tie off with a flourish.

Ireland’s top player in the digital challenge was John Wilson

“Closing ceremonies followed with newly formed friendships and potential new curling destinations on the horizons front and centre. Particularly mention must go to John Wilson who not only won all four of his games, contributed 27 shots to the Irish cause – a remarkable 20 per cent of the Irish total!”

Ireland takes on the Saudis

EIGHT ICA keyboard curlers have accepted an online challenge from their curling buddies in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

The contenders…

Led by Mousemaster Eoin McCrossan – with Gillian Russell, David Whyte and Clare McCormick, plus John Wilson, Johnjo Kenny, Frances Whyte and Tom Roach, the two teams will play for Ireland against two Saudi rinks led by Alastair Fyfe (international curler and founding father of curling in Saudi Arabia).

The games will be staged over the weekend and after a zoom conference between the players of the two countries all the action will happen in Room 3 of the online games portal FlyOrDie.

Here’s the bonspiel information and the draw.

Good luck everyone and look out for results on the ICA Facebook page.

Down memory lane

Twenty years have passed since the 2000 World Senior Championships in Braehead, Glasgow so let’s look back in time…..

Ireland’s senior men 2000 – Jim, Basil Gordon and Joe

Ireland were represented in the men’s competition by Jim Winning, Basil Gray, Gordon McIntyre and Joe Murray.

‘Mousemaster’ McCrossan reports on virtual victory

Well done to Eoin McCrossan who blasted all-comers off the laptop during the ICA’s first-ever bank holiday virtual bonspiel. And congratulations also to all those who took part, making it a resounding success.

The finalists – champion Eoin and runner-up Arran

Eoin was crowned the inaugural ICA Virtual Bonspiel Champion after a series of excellent playoff performances, and a final victory against Arran Cameron, to cap off an enjoyable weekend of online curling action. Starting with a field of 24 including ICA members, supporters and hangers-on, a triple knockout was played across the weekend to whittle the field down to the eight quarter-finalists.

Now it’s all over, the ‘Mousemaster’ himself has compiled his report from the frontline: “Leading the way were the undefeated pair of Iain Wallace and John Wilson who qualified through the ‘A’ road with convincing wins. The B-road saw Arran Cameron and Maggie Wilson through as they sent the losing A-road finalists into more of a tailspin giving them their second loss on the bounce. Finally, that left the C-road, where it was do or die, kill or be killed and everyone was scrapping for their lives.

“I saw off Fiona Spain 3-1 with some canny steals and Jason Medhurst recovered to see of David Whyte 5-2. JJ Kenny was edged out by old friend Andy Penker meaning that Gillian Russell held the household bragging rights as she downed Frances Whyte to seal the last place in the playoffs.

Gardening can wait for the Big Man

“Big scores with hammer were the name of the game in the playoffs as one big end proved telling across the games. John Wilson kept his run going with a fine win over Andy Penker and Arran Cameron stole the last to seal a nervy win over Gillian Russell. “I was set fair against Maggie Wilson until an inspired two in the third end jolted the game, meaning I had to draw the side of the button to seal the 5-3 win. Completing the semi-finals was Jason Medhurst who upset the second seed Iain Wallace 6-2 to give Wallace his first loss of the championship.

Gillian enjoying getting back into a virtual competition

“The first semi-final saw a rematch from earlier in the event when I had an opportunity to gain revenge over Medhurst. Our A-road match had ended 5-1 to Medhurst, but I was not to be denied this time round. A strong start with hammer saw me off to 4-0 lead and two more steals with Medhurst going all out meant an unassailable lead – final score 6-1.

“The second saw Cameron shine and Wilson falter. Cameron started with hammer and a missed hit for four resulted in only a score of three but still swung the game in his favour. Stealing the next two ends saw a similar lead and the final beckon. Wilson managed to remind the crowd of his abilities with an excellent runback to finish and score two points and finish the game 5-2.

“Another chance at retribution then for me – having downed my A-road conqueror in the semi-finals, I had the chance to do the same to my B-road nemesis, Arran, in the grand final. The last tie between us had ended 4-1 to Cameron and he would hope the repeat the same. A blitz of a first end saw all out attack as we both put on a show for the fans. Those watching were gripped. Some excellent craft and touch saw the bar raised shot by shot. After a great chip takeout, the dust settled and I managed to score four in the first end to lay a big marker down. Cameron came firing back throwing the virtual kitchen sink at me but with his last draw of the second end agonisingly not curling enough a single was scored and the end looked nigh. I scored another two points in third and the celebrations could almost begin. A final end of throw-throughs, 360 degree spinning slides and showboating runbacks completed the match with Cameron drawing for a single point and offering congratulations with the final score 6-2.”

You can review the complete draw and linescores from the event here.

What a weekend that was, fun and drama with some curling thrown in. Now, do the virtual world championships beckon…??

Virtual Bonsiel gets underway …

We have 24 competitors from the ICA and beyond ‘taking to the ice’, but not as we know it, this weekend in the first-ever ICA Virtual Bonspiel. The bank holiday and lockdown fever provided the perfect combination to arrange something substantial to entertain both members and supporters with a taste of the game we all know and love.

The triple knockout format with 4 end games will kick off on Friday morning with competitors being given timeslots to complete their games in. All 8 qualifiers from this will then proceed to the quarter-finals on Sunday 10th May with the champion being crowned at some point on Sunday afternoon.

You can keep track of the draw here and there will be daily summaries on social media throughout the event.

Draw 1: To be played before 11am on Friday 8th May

  • Ross Barr v Frances Whyte
  • Jen Ward v Maggie Wilson
  • John Wilson v Christine Furey
  • JJ Kenny v Kyle Paradis
  • Alison Barr v Eoin McCrosan
  • Niamh Begley v Gillian Russell
  • Iain Wallace v Bill Gray
  • Arran Cameron v Mike Spain

Good luck and good curling!

Irish Virtual Bonspiel

If you are missing the game we know and love as much as we are, then why not join us next weekend for a virtual bonspiel via FlyOrDie.com? The tournament format will be determined by the number of entries but we hope to give competitions more than one game to pit themselves against other curlers.

All entries should be made through the ICA facebook page or through the email address contactus@irish-curling.org giving your FlyOrDie username if you have one. All games will take place from Friday 8th May to Sunday 10th May and will be 4 ends long. Get practising!

Remembering Claire

Claire Darragh’s family have asked her friends to remember her this morning at 9am.

Claire will be cremated at that time but, due to the current circumstances, there are restrictions on the number of mourners permitted.

As a mark of respect and a celebration of her life, Claire’s sister would like to ask all her friends and family to pause a moment at 9am and remember Claire and talk about their memories of her.

One of Claire favourite songs was ‘Dignity’ by Deacon Blue which will be played as she is cremated.

Claire’s sister has thanked Claire’s friends for the many kind thoughts she has received over the past week.

In memory of Claire Darragh

It is with great sadness we record the death of one of Ireland’s former international curlers, Claire Darragh.

Claire

Claire represented Ireland at the European Mixed Championships in 2011 in Tarnby, Denmark, playing seven games for her country.

After moving to Scotland from Northern Ireland to further her career, Claire took up curling and joined the Irish Curling Association. She was a familiar face at our bonspiels and also represented the ICA in the annual Four Nations competition.

Claire will be remembered by us all for her cheery disposition, her sense of humour and her steadfast support of Irish curling and Irish teams.

Our heartfelt sympathies go out to her family and friends at this sad time.

Irish Mixed Champions 2020

Congratulations to John Wilson, Alison Fyfe, Craig Whyte and Jen Ward who won the Irish Mixed playdowns at the Dumfries Ice Bowl earlier today.

In the second game against Bill Gray’s team they were always in control, running the opposition out of stones in the last end to win 6-3.

Hopefully, the current coronavirus crisis will have passed by October and they will get the chance to represent Ireland at the world mixed championships. Both senior teams heard yesterday they would not be going to British Columbia next month for the world seniors.

A huge thanks goes to John and Eleanor Burns who spent the weekend helping as umpire and time clock operator. It was very much appreciated by all the players.