Five go for broke.

Last day on tour for the workers! (DW and TT staying for an extra day) Game time is 12.30 against Uli Sutor from Fussen. A win here could propel the team into the last 12 which would mean an extra game at 3pm.

The guys (Bill sitting this one out as he and Janie visited the ski jumping hill constructed in 1933 for the 1936 Winter Olympics; and no, Louise,we didn’t climb to the top as we did in Övik!) were always in control and went into an early commanding lead and eventually ran out 13-5 winners. This moved us up to 9th place and a final game against the Czech girls.

This was a much tighter game on predictably tricky ice and more so that this team had played in the Worlds in Latvia in the spring. The team (JJ, BG, DW, and TT) were always pretty much in control going into a 4-2 lead after 6 ends. We had the hammer in the 7th and elected to take a single to try and increase our end score as the competition was a straight Schenkel. The champs got themselves into a bit of a fix in the 8th and last end and were lying 2 against when Kubeskova played her last stone. She went for the win but managed to chip out her shot stone to score only one leaving the guys 5-3 winners. Once all of the games had finished, the boys were 3rd= and ranked 6th on ends.

Leaving Garmisch. Played 6 won 4 drew 1. Not bad for the auld fellas. 3rd equal on points from 44 teams but officially ranked 6th on ends won. Congratulation to winners Team Schoppe. Bis weider!

Unfortunately, JJ, Bill and David H along with Gillian and Janie had to leave before the prize giving as they had a train to catch. Tony Charlotte David W and Frances appeared at the station with our prize which we think is free entry to next years competition – the 50th. We will wait for a translation!!! After this weekends high jinks, participation by this bunch of Famous Fivers is a definite. We have tasked TT with going back to the Hotel to negotiate accommodation including flights and transfer!!

On reflection this has been a great trip with many highs and hilarity, continuing the bond that was formed when we won the Worlds. Simply great craic!!,

Many thanks due to Rainer Schöpp and the organisers for a great weekend and to the many curlers we met and whose company we enjoyed.

As a postscript, the early leavers had a fairly tight schedule to make their flight to Munich. The train journey to Munich station was on time and uneventful. The change to the S1 train to the airport was anything but. First one way then the next; then signalled back by the skipper who then disappeared from sight; then a ‘pier-head jump’ to get down to the platform with one minute to spare. Made it thank God otherwise we may still have been in Munich. Oh the joys!!

Five scrape through!!

Day 3:

FamousFiveOutsideSaturday dawned very sunny indeed with sky now clear and spectacular views of the mountains surrounding the town. Quite majestic.

Game time was 10.15 today with the prize at stake – no early game on Sunday! The skipper sat this one out and with Bill taking the helm, the Frazzled Five took to the ice against a decent Swiss team (NB. A lot of Swiss teams in this tournament). A loss of 3 in the first end was not a good start but the boys battled back to lead 4-3 at the 3rd end. Catastrophe followed with another loss of 3 following a poor tactical call by BG when a safe draw would have given up no more than a two!!……..More trouble was to follow as the opponents took full advantage and ran out 10-4 winners. The sweat was on as the drop zone was 28th place.The defeat was alleviated somewhat but the fact that the changing rooms are communal. Need I say more, Tony??

Relief all round when the rankings left us in 24th place and another game at 5.15. In celebration some of the team took to the swimming pool while others kept an eye on DH to make sure he didn’t go AWOL again!!

The game at 5.15 was an entirely different affair. Now that the sections had come together it was all to play for again. With DW sitting this one out, the Big Man was back at the helm. A 5 in the first end set the team on the road to victory by 17-3 winning 6 ends. After this round of games was complete, the team are now sitting in 15th place. With the top 12 qualifying for the final round of games, it’s all to play for again on Sunday morning at 12.30 when a good win will likely put us in the top 12. Here’s hoping.

FamousFiveWithTiesThe entertainment tonight was a Bavarian evening at a restaurant near the mountains. Again a fantastic setting. The boys were resplendent in their shamrock ties(!!!!!) while the girls were looking on admiringly ( yeah. Right!) Johnjo had set the tone with his Bavarian hat but as I had suggested before, lederhosen was definitely not on the radar!!

FamousFiveBetterHalvesThe night was completed by a round of Schnapps, courtesy of Florian Huber (remember him, Louise? ) and the day drew to a close without any major incident, thankfully!!

On to tomorrow with prizes at stake.

Day 2 in Garmisch

Ireland on top of the world – again!! More of that later.

Our bunch of superstars moved into the second day of their gruelling trip looking to get their first win of the campaign. After a lazy start, the boys were up against an Austrian Team in game 2. This was a fun team to play against and included Floran Huber who is well known to some of us as he has played our European teams in the past. Incidentally, last seen in Moscow in the vodka bar after the closing banquet of Euro 2011 with his arm round a certain Ms Kerr!!! Anyway that was then and this is now. The Austrian boys had been partying hard judging by the fumes down on the ice and our boys went into a comfortable lead. The ice was very difficult to judge as it was so stiff and gradually the Austrians came to and began to haul in the men in …er……red? At 5-3 down with the hammer, their opponents went for a split for three but only scored one leaving Ireland as 5-4 winners. Great relief all round!

After a post match Spritzer drinking competition which the Austrians won comfortably, our Fab Five were dragged away kicking and screaming by their better halves who could see the danger signs (TT posing for photos with every girl in sight ). The Segway experience had been on the agenda but TT’s inability to strike a deal with the operator became a focal point. The end result was T exclaiming “I don’t like the guy! He’s at it!!”

Sound of music or great escape????

The upshot of this exchange was that we abandoned that idea in favour of a trip up one of three mountains surrounding Garmisch; Zugspitze which is the highest mountain in Germany; Alpspitze and Wank. Yes, really!! No prizes for guessing which one our fearless explorers decided to tackle. Cue much hilarity! Off we went on the Wankbahn which is a Gondola lift from 720 metres up to the summit at 1750 metres. The World Champs on top the World or so it felt when got there. The views were spectacular and one of the highlights of the trip so far.

The Banquet was next on the Agenda – always a contentious issue for Irish teams at competitions – but it has to be said that this was one of the best many of us have been to. The meal and location were excellent.

As if we hadn’t had enough excitement for the day………………We had to order taxis to get back to town and decided to go to the Irish Pub in Garmisch. As there are 9 of us,  David Hume decided to walk to save having to order a third taxi. Our much vaunted Tour Guide set off having been briefed by Gillian on directions.. When he didn’t appear at he pub for an hour and a half (the walk should have taken 15 minutes) there was great concern among the girls as to his safety. The boys on the other hand continued enjoying the craic!! Desperate efforts were made to contact him which included getting his mobile number from the UK but to no avail.(he didn’t have his phone with him). Suddenly there he was, larger than life, grinning sheepishly! Needless to say he had set off in completely the wrong direction which it has to be said included going up hill despite the fact that we had already climbed in the taxis to get to the hotel for the banquet. He had ended up at the Ski Jump which was about 2km in the opposite direction to the town.!!!???

Can we take any more drama and excitement? Oh yes! Tomorrow’s games determine whether we need to curl at 8 am on Sunday! Last section game first and then the sections join to make a 44 team schenkel ranked on results. No pressure then, especially as JJ is drawn to miss the first game……..

Tune in for the next exciting episode…………….

Five go Curling- eventually.

Day 1:

No stone left unturned or indeed no bier left undrunk in team Ireland’s pre match preparation. Ireland Old Boys 5, Inter Zurich 5.

The day started eventfully with David Hume redecorating himself and the floor of the dining room with natural yoghurt! Something to do with hooking a spoon apparently??!!

With the curling not starting until 3 o’clock there was plenty of time to explore – and the intrepid group started out an exciting adventure to downtown Garmisch. This is a lovely Bavarian town surrounded by mountains – which we couldn’t see as they were shrouded in clouds! There was much amusement as a couple of the boys tried on some traditional headwear in advance of the Bavarian Night on Saturday.

TeamHatsHats are more likely than lederhosen it has to be said! DW made a well predicted beeline for the Tourist Information Centre as he is apparently guaranteed to do and came away armed with all sorts of info and armfuls of brochures most of which were written in Russian. Ah well………. After our heroes had gorged themselves on a lunch of large cheese sandwiches washed down with lashings of ginger beer(!) in preparation for the battle to come, it was off to the ice rink……….

RinkThe curling experience was mixed to be honest. The ice pad is grey and dull with thousands of lines for different ice sports and the house was just painted lines on the pad so really difficult to see.

The Big Man does ‘cool’

The team -JJ, BG, DW & DH (TT still recovering from his military fitness training from earlier in the week) started well enough with a 2 in the first end but showed a certain amount of ring-rustiness and didn’t manage to pull away from their Swiss opponents. JJ elected to hit to give up a single in the 7th while lying 2 against to go down the 8th peels with the hammer. The Swiss skip played a near freeze with her last stone and the Big Man went for a half stone takeout to ensure we didn’t lose the end. Unfortunately the shooter just rolled out of the house leaving a blank end so result was 5-5 with 3 ends apiece.

TeamBreakWe attended a sparkling wine reception at the local casino and as it happened one of the ladies dispensing the drink was American with an Irish Grannie whose history she had been trying to trace for years. We of course had to discuss this with her so we kept her entertained with craic while she ferried bottles to our table with alarming regularity!!! This curling touring is pretty tough!

Next game is 12.30 tomorrow with TT coming in for DH (who is going to join another team of three players to help out for one game). There is also a Segway tour planned for tomorrow so we may be down on numbers ourselves after that!!!

That’s all for now folks.

Julian starts to wonder why the hell he agreed to bring this bunch so far from home!!

Famous Five arrive!

Day 0

Famous Five arrive at the Olympic Stadium in Garmisch

Famous Five arrive at the Olympic Stadium in Garmisch

The Famous Five and their cohorts successfully negotiated their flights and transport to Garmisch last night. The Skipper had taken a leap of faith and ordered a ski shuttle taxi to meet us at the airport in Munich. Imagine our surprise and delight when there was actually someone there! More than that the taxi was a small luxury coach so smiles all round. An hour and a half later (during which Bill had felt it necessary to try every seat on the bus) we arrived at the Hotel Bavaria. A trip out for food took us to a McD’s – it was nearly midnight – and as we tried to make sense of the menu a plaintive cry of “beer beer” or was it “bier bier” came from one of the teams girlies. Yes, in Garmisch, the McDonalds sell bier!!!
Looking forward to tomorrow to see what the tour guide has in store for us – oh and the start of the curling. On at 1500 CET.

Famous Five go to Garmisch

Das championeesThe pride and joy of the Irish Curling Association  – our 2012 Senior Mens World Champions  – are off today (Wednesday) to Garmisch-Partenkirchen to take part in a summer bonspiel.
Not just any old bonspiel but the 49th playing of the Hans Thaut Trophy. Forty-four teams will enjoy both the curling and the socialising  for four days in the stunning setting of G-P, high in the Bavarian Alps.
The team – Johnjo Kenny, Bill Gray, David Whyte, Tony Tierney and David Hume – were invited to the competition by well-known German international curler Rainer Schopp who organises the jolly.

Look out for ‘Bill’s Blog from Bavaria’ which will chart the daily adventures of our heroes. Cocktails and huge sausages are two challenges that lie ahead.