Wales top of World Mixed Group A after 2 wins from 2 matches

The Palladium in Champéry. Taken during the 2014 European Curling Championships

The Palladium in Champéry. Taken during the 2014 European Curling Championships

Team Wales (Adrian Meikle, Dawn Watson, Andrew Tanner & Laura Beever) are currently top of the Group A table at the World Mixed Curling Championships in Champéry, Switzerland.

The team started well at the Palladium by beating Croatia 6-4 straight after Friday’s Opening Ceremony. Having put in a good Last Stone Draw to take the hammer in the first end, Wales could only keep Croatia to a steal of 1 shot, but the second end was blanked. The main control in the game came from Wales’ score of 3 with the hammer in the third end, putting them 2 points ahead of the opposition. Despite narrowing the gap in the fourth end, Wales kept in the lead throughout the rest of the match.

Wales then won a close match against Hungary 7-5 on Saturday’s early evening session Despite winning the hammer, they could only take a single shot in the first end, and with Hungary taking 2 in the second it was clear Wales would have to come from behind if they were to deny Hungary victory. Wales responded well, taking 3 shots in the third end, then stealing 1 in the fourth to lead 5-2 at the half-time break. When play resumed, the two teams traded scores of 2, leaving Wales 7-4 ahead after the sixth end – and when Hungary could only take a single shot in the seventh it seemed unlikely they could overhaul Wales in the final end. Eventually, Wales ran the Hungarians out of stone, took victory and joined Finland and Israel as the undefeated teams in the session.

Wales play again at 7pm on Sunday 8th October (UK time) when they face Estonia. The Estonians and defending champions Russia are the only teams in Group A who have yet to play a second match.

Wales Skip Adrian Meikle told the WCF’s reporter after their win over Hungary that “the first half was a bit shaky at times” but that they were “very happy” to see Wales at the top of the table.

Four Nations 2017 – final results

In brief:

Wales 30-29 England (Kay)
Ireland 40-21 Wales (Meikle)
Wales 36-15 Scotland (Big Bertha)

Wales’ curlers once again took two trophies from a successful – if occasionally very tense – weekend at the Four Nations.

Wales started day two of the 2017 Four Nations weekend knowing they were already favourites to win two out of their three possible trophies. A healthy overnight lead against both Scotland and England meant the Kay Trophy and the Welsh Stone were within their sights, but a 12-shot deficit to Ireland implied a spectacular effort would be needed for Wales to win the Meikle Trophy.

wales-englandThe day started with matches against England, with Andrew Tanner’s men on Sheet A against Tommy Campbell, while Laura Beever’s ladies faced Lesley Gregory on Sheet B. Initially it looked as though they might both be quite tight matches, but in the second half they started to tell different stories. Andrew Tanner’s team opened up a 5-point lead in the sixth end, having scored 2 shots with the hammer and then stealing two against it, but just after that the ladies conceded a score of 4 to put England’s team 11-5 ahead. In the end, it was a pressured final stone draw for Andrew Tanner, and the crowd thought it might have come up just short, but in the end had the final scores (a 9-4 win for the men and a 12-5 loss for the ladies) meant Wales had a single shot advantage and so retain the Kay Trophy.

In the middle session, Wales knew they had a bit of a mountain to climb. Ireland led by 12 shots overnight, although their men’s skip JohnJo Kenny had (just as Wales’ Adrian Meikle did) sustained injury and therefore did not play today. Chris Wells led the Wales men to a 11-5 win by playing consistently and shutting down most of the opportunites Ireland had to score. However, the ladies struggled and lost 16-3 and so Ireland won overall, by 40 shots to 21, and retain the Meikle Trophy.

wales-final-end2The battle for the Big Bertha (Welsh) Stone was already set well in Wales’ favour, as they led Scotland 18-6 overnight. Despite Scotland winning quite a few ends, it was Wales who in both the ladies’ and the men’s matches who took the large scores. A pressured draw into a very congested Sheet A house meant Andrew Tanner’s team took 3 to lead 7-4 after 6 ends, while on Sheet B Wales took a score of 4 to lead by the same score. The ladies built on that to steal two in the seventh, while the men contained Scotland to a single shot, meaning by the time the eighth end started the trophy’s fate was almost mathematically certain, as Wales led by 7 shots in the two matches and 15 shots overall. The men finished their match with a fairly simple takeout for one, which gave them an 8-5 victory, while the women had to wait for Scottish skip Jan Howard to play her last stone into the house where Wales lay shot. The takeout overcurled and hit the guard, giving the Wales ladies a 10-4 win and confirming overall victory for Wales 36-15.

ladies-hi5There was one other trophy be decided on the final session, in the contest between England and Ireland. This one had seen the advantage swing both ways and as the two matches went into their final ends there was barely a shot between the nations overall. In the end, it came down to a measure on Sheet C, but it was finally confirmed that Ireland had taken a single shot in both match and won the trophy by one shot overall.

Next year’s competition is expected to be held 19-21 January 2018 at the ice rink in Stranraer, organised by the Irish Curling Association.

Other results

Ireland 31 – 21 Scotland (Marshal Milennium)
Ireland 27 – 26 England (Turnbull)
England 77-39 Scotland (men – Tom Ballantyne)
England 12-15 Scotland (women – Connie Miller)

Four Nations 2017 Day One

sat-1200-2In brief:

Wales 16-13 England,

Wales 7-19 Ireland,

Wales 18-6 Scotland,

The first day of this year’s Four Nations saw Wales take a small lead in their contest against England for the Kay Trophy, and build a significant lead in the battle for the Big Bertha stone against Scotland. However, there will be a significant challenge ahead for Wales if they want to regain the Hugh Meikle Trophy from Ireland, as they trail by 12 shots. Once again, it was the only day of the weekend where all Wales’ matches were of Mixed teams, although this was not true for the other nations at Greenacres. Continue reading

Four Nations 2017 preview

The Four Nations begins on Saturday at Greenacres curling club in Renfrewshire.  The Four Nations meeting is a chance for Wales to compete against Scotland, England and Ireland for a series of trophies.  There is usually a mixture of men’s, ladies’ and mixed teams.

This time, it’s Scotland’s turn to host the tournament, and in a change of venue, we will once again return to Greenacres (which as well as hosting the Four Nations in 2016, also hosts the annual Welsh Bonspiel).

There are three matches on each day, with the first taking place at 9am. For Wales, the days are split neatly, with Saturday being a day for Mixed matches, while Sunday sees matches between men’s teams and women’s teams.

Saturday 28th Sunday 29th
0900 1200 1500 0900 1130 1400
4th Adrian Meikle Andrew Tanner Chris Wells Andrew Tanner  Adrian Meikle Adrian Meikle
3rd Dawn Watson Emily Sandwith Laura Beever Richard Pougher  Rhys Phillips Richard Pougher
2nd David Peek Garry Coombs Rhys Phillips Garry Coombs  David Peek Garry Coombs
1st Rachel McCann Delyth Glyn Jones Mike Thackray Alistair Reid  Chris Wells Mike Thackray
England Ireland Scotland England Ireland Scotland
4th Chris Wells Richard Pougher Adrian Meikle Laura Beever Dawn Watson Dawn Watson
3rd Laura Beever Heather Russell Dawn Watson Heather Russell Heather Russell Laura Beever
2nd Rhys Phillips Alistair Reid David Peek Rachel McCann Emily Sandwith Emilty Sandwith 
1st Alistair Reid Mike Thackray Blair Hughes Delyth Glyn Jones Rachel McCann Delyth Glyn Jones

We will keep you up to date with how our teams get on throughout the weekend.

Wales face France in Europeans Opener

Adrian Meikle

Adrian Meikle (Skip)

The European Curling Championships are about to begin at Braehead, Scotland, and Wales are already there. The team, now an established setup, are looking to build on their result at the 2015 championships in Denmark, where they secured their place in the B-Division through a 7th-place group play-off.

For the 2016 competition, the team is largely the same as for the 2015 championships. Adrian Meikle returns to the line-up as Skip, as Jamie Fletcher takes the Coach’s position.

Five men in semi-profile wearing red and green outfits

Pictured (l-r): Simon Pougher (alternate), Garry Coombs (lead), Rhys Phillips (second), Jamie Fletcher (Coach), James Pougher (Third/vice-skip)

Jamie, who is currently unable to compete at international level due to injury, will also be providing some of the match reports for this website.

Alongside Jamie on our web team this year will be Laura Beever, who recently returned from representing Wales at the World Mixed Championships in Russia, and Martin Lloyd, who is a writer and has represented Wales at the annual Four Nations event.

 

Wales’ first match is against France, at 15:00 on Saturday afternoon. Live scores can be found on the 2016 European Curling Championships website. Sadly, while you can watch matches from the A-Division live on YouTube, none of the B-Division matches are due to be webcast.

However, with Braehead curling rink less than 200 miles away from Wales, it is expected that a large number of fans from Welsh curling will make the trip North at some stage of the next week. On behalf of all of them, and those who cannot make the journey for whatever reason, Good Luck, and Good Curling!

Wales finish 18th at World Mixed after beating Estonia

#teamWales by the scoreboard from their last #wmxcc2016 match. L-R: Andrew Tanner (skip), Laura Beever (Third), Emily Sandwith (Lead), David Peek (Second)

#teamWales by the scoreboard from their last #wmxcc2016 match. L-R: Andrew Tanner (skip), Laura Beever (Third), Emily Sandwith (Lead), David Peek (Second)

The Wales Mixed Curling team have significantly improved their ranking at Mixed curling as the 2016 World Mixed Championships draw to a close.

Their final group stage game against Estonia led to a 6-3 victory, which was enough to secure fourth place in Group E with a record of seven matches played, four wins and three losses. Unfortunately, this wasn’t quite enough to qualify for the first knock-out stage, the last 16.

While the overall winners of the competition are still to be decided, the official standings now place Wales at 18th, just two positions short of making the knock-out stage.

The match against Estonia did not all go Wales’ way, and they had to work hard at several ends. However, it got off to a good start when Wales managed to pull off a steal in the first end, despite the end not having gone entirely to plan.

Estonia then responded in the second end by taking a score of two, despite Wales being well set up at one stage. This gave Wales the last stone advantage for the third end.

Estonia's skip holds a broom by a single yellow guard stone

Wales and Estonia trade hits in the fourth end. Photo © 2016 Alina Androsova/WCF. Used with permission.

Wales struggled to play consistently enough to make good use of the hammer advantage, and ends three and four were blanked as the back-and-forth of takeout shots between the teams meant Wales were unable to score more than one. At the half-time break, Wales therefore trailed by 1 shot.

End five was a significant turning point in the match. Wales were deliberately playing a somewhat aggressive strategy with lots of stones heading into the house, and on this occasion it worked out well. Estonia’s centre line guards proved ineffective and Wales sat two when the Estonian skip came to throw his final stone. An attempted freeze onto the shot stone was slightly too heavy and possibly thrown slightly too wide, which left Wales’ Andrew Tanner a shot for three.

The Estonia team clustered around the house which has one red stone and several yellow stones near the button

Team Estonia use their time-out. Photo © 2016 Alina Androsova/WCF. Used with permission.

The sixth end could have turned the tide back again, and at one stage Estonia, who had been running their thinking time clock down a little during the match so far, elected to use their one and only time-out to discuss what to do. With several stones clustered around the button, there was a risk that Estonia could take a score of at least two shots back again; However, good clearing shots from Laura Beever (Third) and Andrew Tanner (skip) meant Estonia were eventually restricted to just a single shot, giving Wales a lead of one shot going into the seventh end.

End seven was a fairly typical end of curling for Wales, who made use of corner guards, draws and hits to take the expected score of two shots with their last stone advantage, putting them three ahead with one end to play.

The eighth end was not completed, as Wales consistently removed the Estonians’ shots from play until it was mathematically impossible for Estonia to even level the match.

The result places Wales fourth in Group E, with a record of four wins and three losses – the first time Wales have had a positive win-loss ratio in several years at this competition and its forerunner, the European Mixed Championships. Unfortunately, there is only space for one of the five fourth-ranked teams to qualify for the last 16, and Wales’ Draw Shot Challenge score was not good enough to put them in contention.

However, the final ranking for the tournament places Wales 18th out of 37 teams, an rise of 8 places from last year (when Wales were 26th of 36 teams). It means Wales are the second-highest-ranked team from Great Britain after Scotland, who beat Canada in their quarter-final last night and this morning play Sweden for a place in the grand final. The second semi-final is between Korea and the hosts, Russia. England also did well, to rise 11 places.

While there is a little disappointment that such a good record did not lead to a place in the knock-out stages, the Wales team will return home on Sunday knowing that they have done a good job and can be proud of their record in Kazan.

Wales fourth after defeating Netherlands

Wales now sit fourth in the Group E table at the World Mixed Curling Championships, after playing another consistent match against the Netherlands. For the second match of the day, it was another brilliant Last Stone Draw which gave Wales the hammer, something which could prove crucial later on.

The first end didn’t go entirely to plan, and at one stage Wales were concerned they might be giving away a steal, but the team played very well for the last few stones to remove the Dutch granite from the house and lie two.

End two again had its difficulties, but the Netherlands were left with nothing but a draw to take a single shot with their last stone.

In the third end, Wales started a period of very consistent play, and the good shot-making led to a score of three.

End four took an interesting turn, as the Netherlands tried to play an aggressive end by placing lots of stones in the house. However, Wales’ hitting game was by this point well-honed and they not only hit the Dutch shot stones but hung around too, meaning when Danny van den Berg came to play his final stone of the end it was a draw against five. While the Netherlands kept themselves in contention with the score of 1, there was no doubt which team was in control at the half-time break.

The fifth and sixth ends continued in a similar vein, Wales taking a score of two in the fifth and forcing a one in the sixth. By this stage, Wales were starting to throw through with their Lead stones, in an attempt to not leave the Netherlands anything to draw behind or freeze up to.

End seven started with Wales once again throwing through and the Dutch placing guards. The Seconds again began a battle of clearance and replacement, and this continued initially with guards and then with shot stones right up until the Skips came to play their shots. Despite Wales’ stones not always running out of play or into the house, come the last stones of the end there was no doubt that Wales were in control. With a single Netherlands stone lying in the back of the house, the plan was to hit and roll out to blank the end and have hammer in the eighth end, but the stone over-curled and Wales ended up taking one. Despite this minor mistake, as Wales now led 8-3 the Dutch did not want to continue and they shook hands.

Wales now have one more match in the Group E, against Estonia on Thursday (10:00 BST, 12:00 local). If they win, they keep themselves in contention for a place in the knock-out stages, dependent on the overall Draw Shot Challenge figures.

Wales beat Slovenia, face Dutch later

Wales play two matches at the World Mixed Curling Championships today (Wednesday), and went into the day aiming to take a win from both. The team know that they can no longer secure a spot in the knock-out stages unless other match results go in their favour, but without winning the remainder of their games that will almost certainly not matter. Both of today’s matches are ones that the team knew they should have a reasonable chance at, against the Netherlands (on the late afternoon session) and Slovenia in the early morning draw.

Wales started well against Slovenia, with their best overall Last Stone Draw of the championships to give them last stone advantage, which was put to good effect when despite not starting the end exactly as planned Wales threw some good stones to take a score of three.

Wales played well throughout the match, forcing a score of one in the second end, then scoring two more in the third before consistently stealing until the sixth end.

There were some moments in several ends when it seemed Slovenia might have a chance of taking a shot or two, but they never worked out. This was not least in the fifth end, when several well-guarded red Slovenian stones were clustered around the button. A couple of attempts by Wales to draw or freeze one of their own in there were heavy, and the last one took a slight bounce, leaving Slovenia a shot to remove the yellow stone and lie three, but it over-curled and actually removed their own stones from the shot position.

Speaking after the 8-1 victory, Wales skip Andrew Tanner said, “the team did very well. It’s a great victory, it gets us back on track. We’ve got a couple of games left to go so hopefully we can keep producing this for the last two games.”

On the subject of making the play-offs, he added, “We need two wins definitely with our last two games, we hope to get through to the play-offs, but we need to concentrate in our next game which is against the Netherlands this afternoon.”

Turkey still unbeaten after Wales loss

It was a disappointing morning for Wales as they struggled to keep their play at a high enough level to overcome unbeaten Turkey.

The match started well, as Wales managed to secure the last stone advantage and then set the first end up well. The result was a score of score of two, although if a hit-and-roll attempt had worked better then Wales should perhaps have taken three from that first end.

Another good end followed, with Wales managing to force Turkey to take a score of just one.

Wales could only take a score of one with the hammer in end three, and then came Wales’ downfall: the fourth end.

The start of the fourth end was fairly standard, with Wales looking to steal by placing centre line guards up. However, Turkey drew behind them, and when Wales attempted to hit and roll the shooter was left exposed, meaning Turkey could attempt the same shot, which they did successfully.

Wales then tried to remove the guards, and while the existing stones were cleared the shooter was left in place, meaning Turkey could safely keep drawing stones into the house. Wales tried to draw into the house twice but struggled with the correct weight, so when Andrew Tanner came to deliver his last stone there were five stones counting for Turkey. The attempted double-takeout didn’t quite work out, so despite missing their final draw Turkey were able to take a score of four.

Despite attempting to turn things around in the second half of the match, Turkey continued to keep control, and with Wales’ aggressive tactics not working out in the seventh end they shook with the score at 11-4 to Turkey.

Wales play two matches on Wednesday, the first one in the morning (06:00 BST, 08:00 local time) against Slovenia, and the second an afternoon game (14:00 BST, 16:00 local) against the Netherlands. It is now unlikely that Wales can qualify for the knock-out stages of the competition, but depending on other results, a win in all three of their remaining matches would still leave a chance.

Wales fall to consistent Swiss

Wales have to dust themselves down after coming up against a very consistent performance from Switzerland.

The match started well, as despite losing the Draw Shot Challenge Wales set the first end up with good guards and draws placing pressure on Switzerland. However, one mistake meant Switzerland managed to take two shots from that end.

After that things began to run away from Wales, as Switzerland then stole another score of two in the second end.

Wales suffered from ice that appeared to run slightly straight in the third end, as Switzerland eventually got three shots counting before Andrew Tanner threw his final stone down to freeze onto the shot stone and take a single shot for Wales.

Only three shots behind and attempting to steal, Wales tried to play the standard guarding tactics, but the Swiss continued to clear well and in the end decided to blank the end.

After the half-time break, Switzerland managed to keep control, only allowing Wales to score a single shot in end 6, and when Switzerland took two in the seventh end it brought Wales’ deficit to 6 shots. This being too much of a task, Wales offered the handshake.

Wales were not consistent enough to compete at the level they had hoped for, and Switzerland played to a good standard, missing only one significant shot in the entire match. Wales need to play well in their remaining matches as they will need to win all their remaining games to have a good chance of qualifying for the knock-out stage.

Wales’ next match is on Tuesday morning (06:00 BST, 08:00 local time) against Turkey, who have yet to lose a match at these championships.