Round 7 – Wales v Sweden

The final group game was against Sweden. A win for Wales would ensure a playoff game for 3rd place. A good draw shot challenge gave Wales the hammer in the first end. A drawing game left a busy head with Wales sitting two with each skip yet to play their last stones. Sweden nominated to guard with their last stone to ensure Wales couldn’t add to their tally (2 – 0). Sweden built a strong position in the second end, but a jammed Welsh stone on the last shot meant Sweden only took a one (2 – 1). Sweden built another strong head in the third end and sole a two to go into the lead (2 – 3). The fourth end was a similar story and Adrian was facing 5 when playing his last shot but managed to reduced the Swedish tally to two (2 – 5). Wales came out strongly in the second half and were unlucky not get more than just 1 in the fifth end (3 – 5). Wales kept pushing hard and forced Sweden to take a one in the sixth end (3 – 6). Again the seventh end was built up really well by Wales but tricky takeout in the wings jammed and again gave a Wales a frustrating 1 (4 – 6). A valiant effort to steal a 2 in the final end wasn’t successful and gave Sweden the win. Unfortunately that was Wales out of the tournament – just 1 win short. It was a great team performance throughout the week with many of the games being very close. The tournament continues on Friday with the quarter finals followed by the semi final and final on Saturday. Live scores can be followed on http://emcc2013.curlingevents.com/livescores

Round 6 – Wales v Switzerland

The penultimate game of the round robin was against Switzerland. Wales need to win one of the next two games to be in contention for the quarter finals. Two close draw shot challenges saw Switzerland take the hammer in the first end. A great hit and roll behind the guard in the first end from Adrian Meikle was unreachable and Wales took an early lead (1 – 0). Switzerland fought back strongly and took a two in the second end (1 – 2). An open third end gave Wales the opportunity to hit and take a two back (3-2). A drawing fourth end saw Switzerland set up well. A great sweep from Andrew Tanner and Laura Beever on Adrian’s last stone cut the score to one, but Switzerland’s last stone was drawn to the 4 foot to take another two (3 – 4). The fifth end was blanked. The sixth end was nearly blanked but the last stone clung to the house for a one to Wales to tie the scores (4 – 4). The seventh end was blanked. Wales pushed hard for the steal in the eighth but a good end from Switzerland saw them take a 3 to finish the game (4 – 7). Final game is against Sweden at 14:30 Thursday.

Round 5 – Wales v England

Today was the big home nation game against England. Two very good draw shot challenges saw Adrian Meikle just outscoring England to take the hammer for the first end. Wales took advantage and a great draw behind the guard from Dawn Watson ensured Wales started well with a two (2 – 0). England fought back but English skip, John Sharp, had to hit with his last shot to take a one (2 – 1). An open third end saw takeouts being exchanged and was blanked (2 – 1). Wales pushed hard having got the hammer and were lying 3 with 2 shots to go. A good hit and stay from John forced Adrian to takeout his shot for Wales to get another two (4 – 1). At the half time break Wales had a good 4 – 1 lead.

The half time tea and biscuits invigorated England and they were lying 3 with two shots to play in the fifth end but a superb raise promotion double takeout and stay from Adrian’s last shot left Wales sitting. A difficult hit for John wasn’t successful and left Wales with a steal of 2 (6 -1). Wales started the sixth end with an amazing shot from Laura Beever to split into the house her own shot and roll behind the guard. Pressure built on England throughout the end but a great double and then a perfect draw from John gave England a one (6 – 2). With the hammer, Wales pressured England throughout the seventh end and took 4 in what turned out to be the final end. A great team performance from team Wales – Adrian Meikle, Dawn Watson, Andrew Tanner & Laura Beever to win 10 – 2. Wales are now on 3 wins and 2 losses. Switzerland next at 20:30 tonight!

Round 4 – Wales v Estonia

Tonight’s game saw Wales looking to increase their winning run against Estonia. Estonia won the hammer and a hitting first end was blanked. An open second end saw Estonia take a two. A drawing third end finished with Adrian Meikle drawing the 4 foot for a two to tie the game. A strong fourth end from Estonia saw the Estonian skip, Erkki Lill, hitting for a two. At the half time break Estonia were leading 4 – 2. Wales pushed in the fifth end but Adrian had to draw against 2 to take the end, 4 – 3. A tense sixth end finished with Adrian making a superb hit and roll behind the guards. Erkki had a run back to take the end but just drew too much leaving Wales sitting to take a 1, 4 – 4. Wales were keen to force the one in the seventh end, but an open end saw Estonia blanking and taking the hammer into the last end. Wales set the end up with two great guards from Wales lead Laura Beever. Andrew Tanner and Dawn Watson continued with well placed guards and left Adrian with one guard for his two shots. Adrian’s initial draw was left in the open and Erkki pinged the shot out. This left Adrian a ‘mulligan’ shot and, sure enough, it was buried behind the guard. Estonia attempted to hit it out but narrowly missed giving Wales a one and the match. Final score 5 – 4 to Wales. Next game England!

Round 3 – Wales v Russia

Wales need to put a win on the board at the next opponents are Russia. Russia were coming off a good win against Switzerland. Wales, having won the hammer in the first end, quickly opened up a 3 – 0 lead taking 1 in each off the first 3 ends. Russia were forced to take a 1 in the final end before the break giving Wales a 3-1 lead at half time. A Russian steal of 1 in the 5th end wasn’t enough to prevent Wales’ first win of the competition with a 4-3 win! Hooray!  Estonia next at 20:30 tonight.

Round 2 – Wales v Spain

After the disappointment of a close loss to Norway, Wales hoped for their first win against Spain. However a disappointing start saw Wales trailing 8 – 5 at the half time interval. A big push for a steal from Wales in the 5th to tie the match was dashed by a tap in from Spain for 1 and extending their lead to 4 points. Wales were unable to close the gap and eventually finished at 10-7 to Spain.

Round 1 – Wales v Norway

The issues with the cooling plant now fixed, the games have started. With a compressed schedule there are two games for each team over the next few days.

Wales’ first game against Norway was a tight affair. Wales up 3 – 2 at the half time break. A tense 5th end saw Norway under pressure but a good draw from the Norwegian skip, Hans Roger Tømmervold, saved a big steal from Wales. At 3 – 3 Norway stole a one and, although Wales pushed hard in the last end, the Norwegian’s won 5 – 4 with the last sone of the game. A good performance and start to the competition and hopefully this can be continued with the next game – Spain.

European Mixed Championships 2013 about to start

Photo of Andrew TannerOver the next week, I will be one of a team of four competing at the European Mixed Championships in Scotland.  We hope to bring you updates on our progress on the website and through our Welsh Curling facebook and twitter feeds.
For now however, here is the World Curling Federation’s preview of the tournament.
Wales’ team will be one of 25 Mixed gender teams from around Europe competing in the European Mixed Curling Championship 2013, which gets underway this Saturday (14 September) in Edinburgh, Scotland.
The championship will be held at Murrayfield Curling Rink and will run until Saturday 21 September when the Semi-finals will take place at 10:00 and gold and bronze medal games at 15:00. The Quarter-finals will be played at 19:00 on Friday 20 September.
This is the ninth edition of European Mixed Curling Championships and the first that will have the support of the World Curling Federation (WCF) following European Member Associations decision to dissolve the European Curling Federation.
The European Mixed Curling Championship invites each European Member Association to send one mixed team consisting of two male and two female curlers.
25 nations are represented in the event, which is split into three groups.
Group A: Belarus; Czech Republic; France; Germany; Hungary; Latvia; Poland; Romania and Scotland.
Group B: England; Estonia; Norway; Russia; Spain; Sweden; Switzerland; Wales
Group C: Austria; Denmark; Finland; Ireland; Italy; Slovakia; Slovenia; Turkey
Each group will play a round-robin series, playing each opponent once. At the end of the round-robin series, and any necessary tie-breaker games, the teams ranked first and second qualify directly for the Quarter-finals, as well as the third ranked team with the best Draw Shot Challenge result. The other two third ranked teams will play a qualification game to decide the last team entered into the Quarter-finals.
Semi-finals will take place the following day to determine which two teams will play for the gold medals and which two will play for bronze.
Last year’s champions, Scotland, return to defend their title with a slightly different line-up. Eve Muirhead is unable to participate this year due to Olympic training commitments, therefore three-time Men’s World Curling Championship gold medallist (1999, 2006, 2009), Ewan MacDonald, takes over as skip. Replacing Muirhead as the second female on the Scottish team is Kay Adams, while the rest of the 2012 championship winning team remains intact.
The Irish team, skipped by Robin Gray, includes another world champion in their ranks in the form of 2012 World Senior Curling Championship gold medal winning skip, John-Jo Kenny.
Last year’s runners up, Sweden, return with a different line-up to the one that picked up the silver medals in 2012. Gustav Eskilsson skips a young Swedish team who will be looking to go one better this year.
Fellow Scandinavians, Finland, who won bronze last year, will also be looking to medal again as they are skipped by Tomi Rantamäki this time around.
Germany meanwhile return with Andy Kapp as skip. The two-time European Curling Championship gold medal winner (1992 & 1997) will be looking to improve upon Germany’s sixth place finish in 2012.
Winners of this championship in 2011, Switzerland, are another team who line up with a younger team this year, which will be skipped by Marc Pfister. 2008 European Mixed Curling Championship hosts, Austria, have also made changes to their line-up, which will see Sebastian Wunderer skip the team.
Slovakia skip, Pavol Pitonak, returns with a slightly different team this year as does Hungary skip György Nagy, Latvia skip Arnis Veidemanis and Russia skip Roman Kutuzov. Elsewhere, Ekaterina Kirillova takes over as skip of Belarus.
Amongst other notable athletes who will be participating at the European Mixed Curling Championship include Camilla Jensen, who won silver medals at the 2007 World Women’s Curling Championship and twice at this championship, along with fellow team-mate Søren Jensen.
Pia Trulsen, daughter of 2002 Olympic gold medallist Pål Trulsen, is included in the Norway line-up while Spain will be skipped by Sergio Vez following his experience playing in the World Mixed Doubles Curling Championship earlier this year.
Other skips include: Miloš Hoferka (Czech Republic); Joel Ostrowski (Denmark); John Sharp (England); Erkki Lill (Estonia); Lionel Roux (France); Federica Apollonio (Italy); Hans Roger Tømmervold (Norway); Aneta Lipińska (Poland); Allen Coliban (Romania); Urban Zelinka (Slovenia); Oznur Polat (Turkey), while 2007 European Mixed Curling Championship gold medal winning skip Adrian Meikle returns to skip Wales at this event.