Wales avoid European relegation in tight contest with Turkey

Four men in Wales team kit, standing in semi-profile

Wales Men 2018: (L-R) Simon Pougher, Garry Coombs, Rhys Phillips, Adrian Meikle

The Welsh men’s curling team have had a difficult week at the 2018 European Curling Championships in Estonia, but have managed to secure their place in the B-Division of European curling for another season – despite a tough relegation match against Turkey this afternoon.

The team found themselves ranked 7th in their group after failing to beat former A-Division nation Austria in their crucial final group match. It had been a slightly disappointing result to lose by a single shot, especially as Wales had managed to level the match at 6-6 by stealing in the 10th end.

Relegation match

At the end of the Group Stage, Wales had an overall record of 2 wins and 5 losses, with both the wins having been from the opening day of the competition. The results of their group matches, combined with Wales’ overall Draw Shot average score, put them 7th in Group B. Wales were ranked above Slovenia, who they beat earlier in the week.

Ranking seventh put Wales up against Turkey, who finished the round-robin in the same position in Group A. The 7 v. 7 match is preferable to the 8 v. 8 match as it makes it possible to avoid relegation with a single win – or to lose and still not be immediately relegated.

The match began well, with Wales easily out-drawing Turkey in the pre-match Draw Shot Challenge, meaning Wales started the game with the last-stone “hammer” advantage – and they made good use of that by taking a score of 2 in the first end.

Turkey responded to level the scores in End 2, and then made things tricky in End 3. A couple of missed shots from Wales, combined with good control of the centre line from Turkey, had Wales in some difficulty by the Skip stones – and while Turkish Skip Ugurcan Karagoz didn’t throw the perfect 8th stone, Adrian Meikle’s final stone of the end finished just short of the scoring zone leaving Wales a shot behind what they might have expected.

Turkey took a 2 in the 4th end, to go 4-3 ahead – but End 5 caused some real damage and made life really difficult for the Welsh team. A couple of crucial stones didn’t end up where Wales needed them, which left Turkey with a well-guarded stone in the middle of the house come Skip stones, and Turkey took full advantage to steal a score of 2 and go 6-3 up at the half-time break.

Second Half

The second half saw Wales generally better able to control the house, even in the ends when they did not have the hammer. Wales could re-focus after a score of 2 in the 6th end, and after Turkey only scored a single shot in the 7th, End 8 proved a turning point.

Despite Turkey controlling the centre line well for the first half of End 8, Wales managed to clear the guards and then remove the opposition shot stone to lie shot when the final Turkish stone of the end came down, with a second yellow stone in the house but not counting. Turkey attempted a take-out shot, but missed the shot stone leaving Adrian Meikle a hit for 3, which he executed well. This put Wales 8-7 up after 8 ends.

End 9 was not a textbook end of curling, with lots of stones in the house and control switching from Wales to Turkey part-way. Sadly Wales’ stones near the front of the house were cleared away, leaving Turkey able to draw in to the edge of the 4-foot circle, and despite a decent freeze shot, Wales could not prevent Turkey putting their final stone on the button to score 3 – giving them a 10-8 lead.

Wales began the 10th End conventionally, putting up a couple of corner guards while Turkey put 3 stones in the house to apply pressure. A combination of a good heavy draw from Garry Coombs and a shot from Turkey unfortunately removing their own stones from the house left the scoring zone open for Wales to draw in, and despite Turkey’s efforts to clear and then out-draw the yellow stones, a well-judged heavy draw with Adrian Meikle’s final stone gave Wales a score of 3, and a 12-10 victory.

You can relive the action from all of Wales’ matches at the Championships this year by following the LiveStones as entered by coach James Pougher.

The result

The 12-10 victory in the relegation match means Wales’ men have secured their place in the B-Division of European curling for another season.

Turkey will now face France, who won their 8 v. 8 match against Slovenia. Slovenia themselves are now relegated to the C-Division (which is played in April 2019), where they will be joined by the loser of the match between Turkey and France.

Elsewhere, England’s men were playing a semi-final match against Latvia at the same time as Wales were fighting to avoid relegation. The team led by Andrew Reed won 9-6, meaning England’s men will now play in the A-Division for the 2019-20 season, and play Denmark for the B-Division Gold Medal at 6pm (UK time).

James Pougher, who as he recovers from surgery acted as team Coach for this competition rather than playing in his regular role of Skip, said:

The team are over the moon to qualify Wales for next year’s European Championships in Sweden.

It was a disappointing week where we lost many close games that could have been a win had a couple of shots of ours and the oppositions gone slightly differently.

A win against Turkey means safety.

But a huge congratulations to Andrew Reed’s English rink, who have had a fantastic week, topping the group and going on to gain entry to the world qualification event in New Zealand and England’s promotion to the A division.

In the A-Division, Scotland’s men will play for the Gold medal on Saturday afternoon, but none of the women’s teams from the Home Nations are either in medal contention or at risk of relegation.

Four Nations 2018 – final results

In brief:

England 29-21 Wales (Kay)
Wales 31-29 Ireland (Meikle)
Scotland 34-22 Wales (Big Bertha)

Wales’ curlers could only manage one trophy from this season’s Four Nations weekend – but it was the one they had targeted, and it was fought hard.

Wales started day two of the 2018 Four Nations weekend knowing it was going to be tough to beat Scotland. They trailed by 14-shots against Scotland, whereas against England the margin was closer at 7 shots. Wales had a slender 3-shot lead against Ireland after their Mixed matches on Friday evening, when Adrian Meikle and James Pougher had mixed individual results against Johnjo Kenny and Corolyn Hibberd respectively – losing 4-7 and winning 11-5 respectively.

The Men’s team (under Adrian) faced Ireland’s John Wilson on Sunday morning, and it was a very close match. With scores back and forth, the match eventually ended with Ireland winning 8-6, taking Wales’ lead to just 1. A couple of sheets away at the same time, Dawn Watson’s women’s trailed Marie O’Kane by a couple of shots going into the final end. There were lots of Welsh red stones in the house, but Ireland could potentially retain the trophy with a well-executed final stone. However, the shot was a little heavy, and Dawn won the final end to take a 10-9 win, making for a 31-29 win overall.

It was the first trophy that Wales could secure, and the most sought-after, given Ireland had beaten all three of the other nations the previous 2 years. Victory for Wales also gave confirmation that Ireland could not win the Grand Slam for a third year running – as they led both England and Scotland at that stage, with both those contests still to finish.

4nations2018-stranrar-draw-7-1The late-morning session saw Wales play Mixed matches against Scotland, and while it was mathematically possible for Wales to turn the standings around, Scotland’s 23-9 lead was impressive. In the circumstances, both Andrews Robbins’ and James Pougher’s teams performed well and were the result dependent on that session alone, Wales would have won the trophy – but the 6-7 loss and 7-4 victory were not enough to catch up and Scotland therefore win Big Bertha (the Welsh Stone) for the first time in several years. This session also saw a number of players who were carrying (or the case of the author, picked up) injuries – which perhaps made the performance all the more commendable.

The final session was against England, and the Kay Trophy was more than mathematically reachable – given in Wales’ first matches with England there had been more than a little luck in the English favour. However, while both men and ladies played were both competitive matches, a 6-6 draw between Adrian Meikle and Tommy Campbell, together with a 6-5 loss by Laura Beever against Val Saville, meant the arrears marginally increased and England won the title 29-21.

 

Next year’s competition will be hosted by the English Curling Association. The ECA hope that it will be possible to hold the contests at the new ice rink at Barton Grange (near Preston), but should the rink project there be delayed, it will take place back at Stranraer. It is expected to be held 18-20 January 2019 (TBC)

Other results

Ireland 28-30 Scotland (Marshal Milennium)
England 35-32 Ireland (Turnbull)
England 40-37 Scotland (men – Tom Ballantyne)
Scotland 27-6 England (women – Connie Miller)

Bonspiel 2015 – Final Results

John Brown’s team was crowned champions of the Welsh Bonspiel this year.

Full Results

Bonspiel Trophy Match (Sheet B)

End 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Extra TOTAL
A Storrie  0  0  1  1  0  0  0  X  4
J Brown  2  2  0  0  1  1  2  X  8

J & M Trophy (Sheet C)

End 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Extra TOTAL
H Lyon  0  1  0  1  1  0  1  0  7
K Horton  1  0  2  0  0  2  0  2  4

Stan Williams Trophy (Sheet D)

End 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Extra TOTAL
G Farquaharson  0  0  1  1  0  1  0  1  4
A Meikle  2  1  0  0  1  0  2  0  6

 

Welsh Bonspiel 2015: Final tables

Day three of the Welsh Bonspiel started with the final group matches for the Red Section, followed by the Green. The 1st, 2nd and 3rd ranked teams in each section would then play each other for the main trophies.

Red Section

G Farquharson 8-7 G Adam

G Adam 6-7 H Lyon

A Storrie 7-4 C Martin

L Gregory 16-2 M Yuille

Final Group Table

Team Points Ends Shots Shot +/-
A Storrie 7 16 25 +6
H Lyon 6 15 23 +3
G Farquaharson 5 15 27 +3
C Martin 4 18 27 +10
G Adam 4 14 28 +3
M Meikle 2 14 24 -10
M Yuille 0 7 20 -24

 Green Section

H Stewart 2-8 J Manson

N Murray 2-8 D Robertson

L Beever 5-13 A Meikle

K Horton 5-7 J Brown

Final Group Table

Team Points Ends Shots Shot +/-
J Brown 6 19 23 +5
K Horton 6 16 37 +21
A Meikle 5 16 31 +7
L Beever 4 14 25 -2
D Robertson 4 13 22 +3
N Murray 3 14 20 -5
J Manson 2 13 20 -9
H Stewart  2 10 13 -18

 

The finals are therefore:

A Storrie v. J Brown (Welsh Bonspiel Trophy)

H Lyon v. K Horton (J&M Trophy)

G Farquaharson v. A Meikle (Stan Williams Trophy)

FPOW 8pm league: Autumn 2014 season final table

Here are the final standings from the 2014 8pm Autumn league.

Team Played Won Lost Peeled
Shot Diff
Ends Points
AVAT 12 10 1 1 54 46 21
AVAL 12 9 3 0 40 44 18
MWV 12 8 2 2 45 40 18
DDY 12 7 4 1 23 39 15
CQQ 12 7 4 1 21 35 15
SWK 12 5 3 4 20 39 14
MWK 12 5 5 2 -5 37 12
SSL 12 5 6 1 -19 31 11
DDH 12 5 7 0 18 37 10
AVV 12 5 7 0 -29 33 10
SSE 12 2 10 0 -42 28 4
MWB 12 2 10 0 -52 25 4
CQC 12 2 10 0 -74 17 4

FPOW 6pm league: 2014 season final table

Here are the final standings from the 2014 6pm Autumn league.

Team Played Won Lost Peeled
Shot Diff
Ends Points
WHL 10 7 2 1 35 35 15
CQR 10 7 3 0 50 43 14
DMM 10 6 2 2 29 32 14
MWS 10 6 3 1 26 36 13
MWD 10 5 5 0 -7 35 10
SAM 10 5 5 0 -38 28 10
SSW 10 5 5 0 -7 24 10
AVFE 10 4 6 0 12 33 8
DST 10 4 6 0 -13 28 8
AVFI 10 4 6 0 -27 27 8
CQT 10 0 10 0 -60 0 0
T1 0
T2 0

Wales take Triple Crown at Four Nations 2015

Victorious President and Skip Adrian Meikle with (l-r): The Meikle Trophy, the Kay Trophy & the Welsh Stone

Victorious President and Skip Adrian Meikle with (l-r): The Meikle Trophy, the Kay Trophy & the Welsh Stone

For the second time in three years, Wales have had a clean sweep at the Four Nations.  The squad lost just 2 matches over the course of the weekend, and will hold all three trophies until next season’s meeting, which will be hosted by Wales.

In brief:

Wales 30-22 England

Wales 32-25 Ireland,

Wales 32-14 Scotland

Continue reading

Wales finish Europeans equalling 2013 record but no play-off place

Wales' Men's team for 2014-15 season. Pictured (l-r): Simon Pougher (alternate), Garry Coombs, Rhys Phillips, James Pougher (vice-skip), Adrian Meikle (skip)

Wales’ Men’s team for 2014-15 season.
Pictured (l-r): Simon Pougher (alternate), Garry Coombs, Rhys Phillips, James Pougher (vice-skip), Adrian Meikle (skip)

Wales’ men’s curling team finished the round-robin stage of the European Curling Championships with 4 wins and 3 losses, equalling their performance from 12 months ago in Stavanger.

The men had the potential to go further, after keeping pace with Belgium, Hungary and Austria at bay until the half-time break in all their matches, but in each case their opponents opened up a significant lead during the second half of the match.

Watch highlights of Wales’ games at Monthey on the
Welsh Curling YouTube Channel.

The performance is certainly nothing to be ashamed of Continue reading

Bonspiel 2014 – Final Results

Lesley Gregory’s team was crowned champions of the Welsh Bonspiel this year. Photos of the weekend are also available at the bottom of the page.

Full Results

Bonspiel Trophy Match (Sheet B)

End 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Extra TOTAL
A Meikle  1  0  2  0  1  2  0  0  6
L Gregory  0  3  0  3  0  0  1  1  8

J & M Trophy (Sheet C)

End 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Extra TOTAL
J Brown  1  0  1 0  0  2  0  0  4
K Horton  0  1  0  3  1  0  0  1  6

 

Stan Williams Trophy (Sheet D)

End 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Extra TOTAL
R Mackenzie  0  0 3  3 0 1  0  3  10
L Beever  1  1 0  0  2 0  1  0  5

 

Welsh Bonspiel (final tables)

Day three of the Welsh Bonspiel started with the final group matches for the Red Section, followed by the Green. The 1st, 2nd and 3rd ranked teams in each section would then play each other for the main trophies.

Red Section

R Mackenzie 6-5 G Adam

M Meikle 3-15 J Manson

L Gregory 9-4 C Martin

J Brown 4-3 H Stewart

Final Group Table

Team Points Ends Shots Shot +/-
L Gregory 8 18 44 +31
J Brown 6 16 27 +4
R Mackenzie 5 15 22 -7
J Manson 4 15 30 +6
H Stewart 4 15 25 0
C Martin 3 13 27 -1
M Meikle 2 12 20 -22

 Green Section

A Lyon 10-4 R McIntyre

K Horton 9-6 N Murray

A Meikle 8-5 L Beever

M Yuille 12-1 K Preston

A Storrie 8-3 A Robbins

 

Final Group Table

Team Points Ends Shots Shot +/-
A Meikle 8 20 42 +26
K Horton 6 18 31 +9
L Beever 5 17 43 +22
A Lyon 4 16 31 +6
M Yuille 4 16 29 +6
A Storrie 4 13 27 +4
R McIntyre 4 13 23 -6
N Murray 3 13 26 -3
 A Robbins 2 13 26 -17
 K Preston 0 10 1 -45

The finals are therefore:

L Gregory v. A Meikle (Welsh Bonspiel Trophy)

J Brown v. K Horton (J&M Trophy)

R Mackenzie v. L Beever (Stan Williams Trophy)