Ireland’s good friend Adrian Meikle played his 300th game for Wales last night in Stavanger in the World men’s seniors against Finland.
Unfortunately, although it went down to the last stone it was not a win for Wales. Nevertheless, Adrian’s teammates and their coach, his partner Dawn, amde sure it was a night to remember with a cake back at the hotel bar.
Over the years, Adrian has played in the Men’s World Championships, the European Championships in the A,B and C Divisions, the World Mixed, the European Mixed, the World Mixed Doubles and finally, the World Men’s Seniors.
Well done to Adrian from all the members of the ICA!
It was finally a win tonight for Ireland’s mixed doubles team, John Wilson and Louise Kerr who comfortably beat the husband and wife team, Suleiman and Karrie Alaqel.
Suleiman and Karrie, who is originally form Montana, USA, only started curling a few months ago, and coached by Alastair Fyfe (our Neil’s brother) have turned out to represent their country, a country where curling is in it’s infancy, and have made a lot of friends in the process.
A four taken in a third end power play set the Irish team on the road to victory, with accurate takeouts from John. After that end we concentrated on drawing to the four foot, which worked out well.
Tomorrow we face New Zealand and another pair of ace curlers who are also the friendly face of curling – Sean and Bridget Becker.
While Mark Twain memorably said that ‘golf was a good walk spoiled’, we could butcher that phrase to ‘Today was a good day spoiled!’
The Team set off on a marvellous fjord cruise which included viewing Pulpit Rock some 600 metres above the fjord. A most impressive sight even from the safety of the boat – some of our intrepid colleagues are threatening to go and view it from the top……A fantastic trip.
The reality however was that the real business was a game against Stefan Karnusian’s Swiss team at 8pm. A good draw shot achieved the hammer for the third game running and the early scoring of singles in the first three ends highlighted the closeness of the game, although Bill had to draw against three in the first to get the 1 point. Ireland’s 4th end malaise appeared for the 2nd game running when the team got themselves into trouble as a result of a couple of near perfect corner freezes which either came up fractionally short or agonisingly rubbed guards. The net result was a score of three to Switzerland to take a 4-2 lead at the halfway point. The trend of just being on the wrong side of perfect continued into the 5th end where Bill’s nose hit attempt for 1 just rolled past the 2nd Swiss counter to allow a steal of 1 (the first steal the team had given in the competition so far). The 6th end was similar with the Swiss getting their stones into better positions than Ireland and a nose hit double for a single was all that they could muster. Going down the 7th 3-5 down required some gambling and despite a couple of loose shots, there was a possibility of creating something with the skippers last to pick out a stone near the button but yet again, millimetres of margin meant that the Swiss skip had a straightforward draw for his three and the boys conceded. A good day slightly spoiled by the result – the Swiss team played exceptionally well and Ireland struggled to impose themselves. Qualification from the group is still on but it will need to be wins from here on in against sides that will no doubt be improving. Next up Japan at 8pm Norge time Tuesday.
It was tough going again for the Irish mixed doubles team of John Wilson and Louise Kerr here in Norway losing to the Korean team by another bucketload of shots.
The last stone draw didn’t go to plan but we picked up a one when the Koreans’ last stone clipped a guard. In the second end we drew shot stone with our last but Hyeri Jang got round the guard and to the inside edge to move it enough to pick up a four.
We then lost five shots against the head in the next two ends, but managed to pick up another single in the fifth end with a power play. But the more accurate Koreans took a three and a single in the sixth and seventh ends.
It’s safe to say that this game had it all! Good shot making, burnt stone, pickups and sportsmanship. The early ends saw singles traded until the 4th where a series of loose shots by Team Ireland gave the Scots the upper hand lying three. When Scotland burnt a takeout stone the initiative swung back in Ireland’s favour but a miss by the skipper let them back in and a score of three ensued.
A well taken two by Ireland in the 5th tied the scores at 4-4 – where they stayed as the following two ends were blanked. Going up the last without hammer, Ireland got a few guards out front and were handily placed. Scotland played a hit and in the process accidentally kicked a stone in behind the remaining front guard. A request to replace the stone to where it would have ended up was sportingly accepted by Bill and left Ireland lying two but now with one in the open on the 8ft. Bill’s first shot – a planned guard picked up out of his hand and came to nothing and after Dave Smith the Scottish skip played a hit and roll which rolled out from behind the guard, the last Irish stone nosed the Scottish counter on the 4ft leaving the same shot for the Scots who made no mistake for a 1 point win.
A tough defeat but a good tight game which should set the boys up well for the coming games.Next up Suisse – at 8pm Norge time Monday.
Ireland’s mixed doubles team went down in seven ends to the Kazakhstan duo who outplayed Ireland, clocking up a three and then a four in the last two ends.
Kazakhstan started the game with a big three but Ireland got a three back in the second end. Kazakhstan then stole singles in the next two ends before Ireland got a one back. It should have been a two but my stone, drawing the four foot was a foot short.
The Kazakhstanis then opted for a power play which they played very well. With Ireland’s last stone I drew shot stone half hidden behind a couple of stones just high of the house, but Alliyarova chipped it out for the three.
The game was sliding away from Ireland and the opposition drew in behind the centre guard and attempted taps by Ireland just locked the Kazak stone in a cluster which we could not shift.
Ireland play Korea tomorrow morning and England at night.
Ireland’s mixed doubles team, John Wilson and Louise Kerr, lost their first game in the world championships here in Norway after leading by three shots.
After playing themselves into the lead, helped greatly by a three in the fourth end, the duo ran into trouble in the sixth and seventh ends when missed shots cost them four points. Finland’s Tomi Rantamaeki played a superb draw in behind cover to put Ireland in Trouble in the last end to chalk up another steal of two for Finland.
Ireland have duel representation at the World Seniors Championships in Stavanger, Norway, which begins tomorrow.
The men’s senior team consists of Bill Gray, David Whyte, Neil Fyfe and Ross Barr and the Mixed Doubles pairing of John Wilson and Louise Kerr. PJ Wilson will act as fifth man for the seniors and coach for the MDs.
The seniors first game is 12 noon (Norway time is BST+1hr) when they play Slovakia. They then play Scotland on Sunday, Switzerland on Monday, Japan on Tuesday, England on Wednesday and Poland on Thursday.
The Mixed Doubles team face Finland at 12.30pm tomorrow then Kazakhstan on Sunday, Korea and England on Monday, Saudi Arabia on Tuesday, New Zealand on Wednesday and Qatar on Thursday.
Good luck to all.
We will do our best to post reports of the games while we are here as long as the coach says we can!