Day 5 in Ostersund – women’s view

Ireland 2 Finland 9

Ireland and Finland ladies teams after their game this morning

Another defeat here in Ostersund this morning against a very accomplished Finnish team. The Irish once more won the draw shot challenge, thanks to Christina and Clare, but, apart from a good second end were out-curled by the opposition. Two of them live on a small island called Aland, half way between Finland and Sweden, where there is a curling rink! One more game to go against Latvia tomorrow.

After the curling and before supporting the men in their crucial game against the USA, the women walked to the nearby ICA Supermarket! There we found a cafe with coffee and cakes at reasonable prices!

The name tickled us so much we had to get our coach Gerry to take a photo of us outside.

Day 4 in Ostersund – Women’s viewpoint

Ireland 1 Scotland 11

The Irish and Scottish ladies

After winning the DSC and taking a one in the first end, the Irish ladies were blown away by a very classy Scottish ladies team who took a game-changing  four in the second end, when a Irish tap up to lie two drew too far, opening up Ireland’s shot in the four foot for the Scots to hit out.

The Irish plugged on trying to draw behind cover, but the Scottish women snuffed out every opportunity with accurate hits and after the obligatory six ends were over the Irish conceded the game.

Two early morning games now for the Irish at 8am tomorrow against Finland that the same time on Thursday against Latvia.

Day 3 in Ostersund – women’s view

Ireland 7 Switzerland 12

Louise on the ice against Switzerland this afternoon @ WCF / Tom Rowland

The Swiss and Irish women

Despite the obvious blot on the copybook – losing a five in the seventh end – the Irish women played their best game of curling so far against Switzerland here in Ostersund at the World Seniors.

The front end of Clare and Christina locked onto the speed of the ice, and skip Marie brought a round of applause and shouts of “great shot” in the second end with a superb draw to the bite the button out-counting the guarded Swiss shot by a couple of inches.

The Swiss were not having their best game it must be said, but the Irish outplayed them for much of the contest, and when their skip came up short with her last stone against three in the sixth end, Marie coolly drew to the four foot to tie the game up at five all. But trying the keep things clear in the seventh undid the team with crucial missed take outs leaving Switzerland lying four. Marie trying to get a wick of a stone in behind cover but when it over-curled and sailed through the Swiss took a five.

Irish ladies skip Marie O’Kane at the World Senior Curling Championships 2018, Oestersund, Sweden – WCF / Tom Rowland

The Irish played on in the eighth until they were run out of stones.

 

Day two in Östersund – women win two in one day

With the Italian team

The Irish senior women had a busy day here in Östersund starting at 8am this morning against Italy, a game they won 7-6.

With the New Zealand team

Then it was back on the ice 12 hours later for their second game of the day against New Zealand. The Kiwi ladies managed to steal the shot over a succession of ends but thankfully the momentum swung back in Ireland’s favour with a four at the seventh end to level the scores at 5 all.

In the last end the Irish managed to get two draws into the four foot behind a wall of stones and the New Zealand skip couldn’t get near them. Ireland therefore took their second win of the day by a score of 7-5.

Closing bonspiel winners

James, David, Margarita and Bill with their prizes.

Congratulations to James Russell, Bill Gray, Margarita Sweeney-Baird and David Hume who won the ICA closing bonspiel at Greenacres today.

Six rinks were on the ice with many members staying on for the annual general meeting in Gateside Hall and the meal in the pub afterwards.

Results:

Johnjo Kenny 7 Andrew Gilmore 6; James Russell 10 Arran Cameron 8; Marie O’Kane 5 John Furey 5.

Stranraer weekend won by skip Wilson number 3

The winner of the high road

Another enjoyable ICA Stranraer Weekend at the North West Castle Hotel and Ice Rink complex ended with a win for Team Wilson, but it wasn’t PJ or Peter skipping his team to the top spot this year, but John Wilson, PJ’s son.

It was a changing of the guard moment when John, ably supported by Katie Stevenson and Lyndsay Spence from Lockerbie, and his old Stranraer Academy school mate Andrew Chambers, swept through their four games undefeated, taking the Granite Trophy with a comprehensive victory over Johnjo Kenny, Gillian, Russell,  John Burns and Russet Fullarton in the 1v2 high road final round on Sunday afternoon.

High road runners-up

The runners-up in the high road and winners of the Ailsa Craig painting by Jane Paterson were the team of David Whyte, Kara Compton, John Ferguson and Frances Whyte, who finished on the same points as PJ Wilson’s team, but just squeaked second place by one end with 17 ends scored.

Low road winners

The low road winners of the Irish Oak low road trophy were Billy Johnston, Kate Adams, Gordon Adams and Elspeth Johnston and the low road runners-up, taking home the Basil Gray Memorial Trophy  were Stuart Wilson, Elaine Turnbull, Tommy Campbell and Anne Wilson.

Low road runners-up

A raffle at the Saturday night reception in the North West Castle Hotel raised £270 for ICA funds.

The ICA also welcomed Canadian curler Matt, currently based in Dublin, and hope he comes back to play with us on a regular basis.

Kinross winners

A most enjoyable spring bonspiel was held on Sunday at Kinross.

President David presenting the trophy to winners Frances, Gillian, Niamh and James

The event was won by the rink of  James Russell, Frances Whyte, Gillian Russell and Niamh Begley, who were presented with the perpetual trophy and prizes by ICA President David Whyte.

The Association was delighted to welcome three potential new members – Maria O’Neill, David McHale and Niamh, one of the winners.

4N afters

Someone out there won a bottle of ‘Echo Falls’ summer fruits fusion wine in a silver bottle bag last Saturday night in the raffle. It ended up in my carrier bag down in the function room at the NWC. Does anyone remember winning it?

If it’s not claimed it will go into the Irish Weekend raffle next month.

And a new boy band was formed the same night. They are hoping to get a summer season gig at Bantry…….if Eoin gets his world tour over in time.

Masters champions 2018

The green tinged Masters champs with RCCC President Jim Cullen

PJ Wilson, David Whyte, David Hume from the ICA plus Jim Stirling were crowned the Masters champions at Greenacres last weekend. After taking eight points from the five game round-robin, including a last end victory over former Scottish champion skip Kenny Horton, the team won their semi-final after only five ends. A three in the first end in the final was a good start to an eventual 7-5 victory over Jim Stevenson, Robin Aitken, Jim Taylor and Douglas Rodger.

The proud skip said afterwards: “My team were just brilliant. I wasn’t too bad either.”

Wasn’t that a party……

The first Four Nations to be held at Stranraer Ice Rink, hosted by the ICA, turned into an epic, on and off the ice.

Session 1 was held on the Friday night, with sessions 2, 3 and 4 on the Saturday. The busiest day was the Sunday with curling starting at 9am and, with three sessions to get through, the seventh and last session finished around 4pm.

Margaret Pottie presents the Marshall Millennium to Louise

Ireland’s highlight was defending the Marshall Millennium against Scotland with an eight-shot advantage 28 to 20.

Louise presents the Meikle Trophy to Adrian Meikle

The Meikle Trophy against Wales was lost this year 29 to 31 after a spirited show from the Welsh rinks, in particular ladies skip Dawn Watson who held her nerve to remove Marie O’Kane’s shot stone at the last end to secure the victory. The Welsh ladies are few on the ground and play multiple games at every 4N, and throughly deserved their hard-fought victory.

Louise presents the Turnbull Trophy to Tommy Campbell

The Turnbull Trophy was lost to England by 32 shots to 35. This was despite a win from the first family team to represent Ireland internationally when four Fureys took to the ice for the mixed game on the Sunday. John and Christine with a green-clad Nathan and Erin sporting shocking pink, won by one shot to do their bit for their country.

The 4N game and Glittertree-winning Fureys!
Ari, John, Erin, Nathan and Christine

They also picked up the ICA Glittertree for 2017!

Off the ice, the Saturday evening gala dinner and dance turned into a most memorable evening for a variety of reasons. The drinks reception raffle raised £314 for association funds. The staff of the North West Castle served up a specially-created Four Nations menu with Scottish themed starters, potato and Welsh leek soup, brisket of beef with a Guinness jus or chicken fillet in Irish whiskey sauce for the  mains and England bringing up the rear with bread and butter pudding or Bakewell tart.

After speeches from myself for the Irish, Margaret Pottie for the Scots, Adrian Meikle for the Welsh and Tommy Campbell for the English, the highlight of the evening was the the appearance of 16 Irish dancers from the Trim the Velvet troupe, who came over from Belfast for a special ‘4N at the NWC’ entertainment. After half an hour of mesmerising toe-tapping and high kicks, John Munro’s excellent disco rounded off a special night.

We really thought nothing could ever surprise us again, after all the many incidents we have witnessed over the years involving Irish curlers, but…….late in the evening….and after a few liquid refreshments………Eoin took to the floor and morphed into Michael Flatley. As he Riverdanced across the dancefloor, the Trim the Velvet girls lined up behind him and created something magical downstairs in the Castle ballroom. The roar of approval at the end from the party people left nearly blew the windows out. Eoin McCrossan – Four Nations legend with bar.

Thanks goes to all the ICA members who made the trip to the deepest south-west, despite difficult conditions on the roads over the weekend; to Gail Munro, Stranraer Ice Rink manager and all the staff of the North West Castle who worked their socks off all weekend to ensure that everyone in the hotel for the Four Nations had the best time possible.

Over to the English Curling Association for 2019, who hope to host the event at a new ice rink in Preston………anybody know any Morris dancers in the north west?

Here’s the results, thanks again to Adrian:

Results-4 Nations-Jan 2018