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.

Spring schedule for 2016/17.

The Spring schedule for the current 2016 – 17 season has been uploaded and is available at the link below.  Based on current ice availability there will be one session free for an end of season match at 6pm with 2 sessions free for the end of season match at 8pm.

Schedule as at 5th Jaunary 2017

Teams can be found here Teams for Spring leagues as at 5th January

2016 Christmas teams for 8pm.

Since the 8pm league finished last week we’re playing a fun session for the last week before Christmas.  Last year we played East v West so this year teams have been roughly based on a North / South split and will be as shown below (also from the spreadsheet here):

N1 N2 N3 N4
Richard Pougher Garry Coombs James Pougher Alastair Lyon
Malcolm Watson Margaret Meikle Alistair Reid Mike Thackray
Rachel McCann Martin Lloyd Chris Houlbrooke Peter Schofield
Ann Meikle Lisa Peters Diana Houlbrooke Jan Costello
S1 S2 S3 S4
Jamie Fletcher Rhys Phillips Adrian Meikle Andy Hannah
Simon Pougher George Hood Dawn Watson Di Hannah
Delyth Glyn Jones Gilbert Ashworth John Massey Alistair Clark
David Whomsley George Fyffe Karen Massey Helen Andrew

The plan is to play two games of 1 hour (4 ends) each.  To make sure that fits in the time the whistle will go at 8:55 and if the team with hammer have played one less stone then they may take a final shot but otherwise it’s first game over.

Winner (North or South) will be the side with highest total number of shots across their 4 teams over two games.

To keep it simple we’ll start with:

Lane B Lane C Lane D Lane E
N1 v S1 N2 v S2 N3 v S3 N4 v S4

then rotate North to the right and South to the left to give second games as

Lane B Lane C Lane D Lane E
N4 v S2 N1 v S3 N2 v S4 N3 v S1

Autumn schedule for 2016/17 – update following lack of ice on 29th November.

The Autumn schedule for the current 2016 – 17 season has been updated following the lack of ice this week.  This means that the 6pm league will now run all the way up until Christmas.  The Christmas Grand Match will now only run on the final 8pm session.

Schedule as at 2nd December 2016
Teams can be found here Teams for Autumn league as at 4th September

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 team ready for World Mixed

#TeamWales at #wmxcc2016: Emily Sandwith, David Peek, Laura Beever & Andrew Tanner

#TeamWales at #wmxcc2016: Emily Sandwith, David Peek, Laura Beever & Andrew Tanner

The second World Mixed Curling Championships are about to begin in Kazan, Russia, and Wales are once again represented.

There is a mix of experience in the team, with Andrew Tanner stepping up to play as Skip and Laura Beever playing Third. New to the international curling stage are Second David Peek and Lead Emily Sandwith, although both have represented Wales at the annual Four Nations event.

The team landed in Kazan after a long journey yesterday (Thursday) and have today had a chance to try out the ice, which has been specially prepared for this competition. They have also taken to opportunity to explore the host city a little ahead of the Opening Ceremony this evening.

It is still unclear how many matches Wales will play at these championships. If Wales finish high enough in their group table, they will play in the knock-out stage, meaning more matches than the initial seven. However, one of the teams in Wales’ group have been delayed reaching the venue and it is possible that they may not make it in time for their first match of the tournament.

Wales’ first match is against Germany, at 08:00 (06:00 BST) on Saturday morning. Live scores can be found on the 2016 World Mixed Curling Championships website. There is also English-language live video coverage of the competition, although none of Wales’ group-stage matches are due to be featured.

Autumn schedule for 2016/17 – half term correction and Europeans.

Apologies everyone, the Autumn schedule for the current 2016 – 17 season has been updated again following a correction to ice availability dates from the leisure centre.

Please note that the original half term dates that I had anticipated pre-season were correct so we will be curling on the 17th October but there is no ice on 31st October.
Please also note that we will not be curling on the 21st November as a large number of people will be away at the Europeans. Season ticket payers will be credited with a week in the Spring session.
Schedule as at 6th October 2016
Teams can be found here Teams for Autumn league as at 4th September

Fresh plans for new ice: AGM 6th June

Revised plans for a dedicated curling facility in North Wales will be presented at the Welsh Curling Association’s Annual General Meeting this June. Both members and non-members are invited to the event, which is at St David’s Park Hotel on the evening of Monday 6th June.

Despite the disappointment of not being selected for the World Curling Federation’s Portable Curling Facility trial, the team behind Curling in Wales have not let the matter rest. Alternative funding has been identified for the scheme, which if fulfilled would bring a new ice rink just for Curling to the Queensferry area.

Curling at the existing Deeside Ice Rink has been established for more than 40 years, but suffera from two significant issues: limited availability, and difficulty converting the ice to a suitable standard for curling.

Due to the current rink also being used for skating and ice hockey, the number of people who can enjoy the sport is severely restricted. For those who wish to improve their skills, the available ice time and variable quality is a significant hinderance.

Currently, Wales has four hours of curling ice on Monday nights during the winter season – allowing a maximum of 96 players (64 in the last season due to poor ice on 2 of the sheets). In the weeks following the Winter Olympics in 2010 and 2014, more than 600 people came to try the sport for the first time. Sadly, some had to be turned away due the restricted availability, while for others Mondays are simply not practical for them. This has severely restricted the growth of the sport in Wales, and has also meant that the national teams have no choice but to travel to other parts of the UK and to Europe to play and practice.

For several years, a task force from the Welsh Curling Association has been exploring the possibilities and preparing plans for a new ice rink, which would be in a “temporary” building (designed to last an initial 10 years), enabling curling to take place on consistent ice and throughout the week. It is hoped the new facility would be ready before the 2018 Winter Olympic Games, and the likely influx of new interest in curling that is anticipated.

The latest version of the plans will be presented to both current and past members of the Association, and others who are interested, before the Annual General Meeting. If you have previously expressed interest in curling at Deeside but have not been able to come on a Monday, you may also wish to attend.

Non-members who wish to find out more are very welcome, but please contact the WCA Secretary with your contact details at least 24 hours before the event. In addition, all media enquiries should be directed to media@welshcurling.org.uk.