Team Meikle, made up of four regular Deeside curlers, emerged triumphant at the inaugural Pain Matters Welsh Championships. It was the first time a formal national Championships had been held, and partly because of this there were just three teams entered.
It was an assured performance from Adrian Meikle’s team, who were also made up of Rhys Phillips (lead), Richard Pougher (second) and Andy Tanner (third). Their first game, against the team led by Chris Wells, saw Adrian’s team continually stealing single shots to take the victory. In their second, Meikle controlled the match against Andrew Robbins and ended up taking a win by 8 shots, 10-2. The weekend was only a single Round Robin format, with each team playing the others once, and the other match ended with a win for Chris Wells against Andrew Robbins. A second round might have been preferred but was not possible due to ice availability at Dumfries Ice Bowl.
In previous years, a competition known as the Welsh Playdowns took place during the first weekend of March – in order to qualify to represent Wales at the European Curling Championships. However, with curling receiving significant funding and taking off across many nations across Europe, Wales was no longer able to stay competitive in the B-Division and the men were relegated last December – 12 months after the ladies suffered the same fate.
In order to try and develop national prospects, and to make sure the best of a limited pool of curlers played in a single team, teams to represent Wales is now to be determined by a selection process, which takes place next weekend.
As not all curlers wish to compete on the international stage, the Welsh National Championships were devised as a way to increase the number of curlers competing over the weekend formerly occupied by the Playdowns, by removing the expectation that the winners would then represent Wales. It is hoped the change will mean more players take part next year.
Also taking place over the weekend was Dumfries Ice Bowl Curling Association’s successful attempt to regain the World Record for the longest Marathon Curling match – they eventually stopped after 73 hours, 6 minutes and 52 seconds.