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.
There are 6 sheets of ice available at Greenacres, and the Four Nations this year is making full use of that. For the opening session, there were 6 matches in progress, as Wales took on England in two mixed games, while Scotland’s men and women played Ireland and another two of Scotland men’s teams took on England.
However the day was somewhat complicated for Wales by an injury to Adrian Meikle, which left him unable to slide normally. After attempting to use a delivery stick for a couple of ends (with limited success), then trying to revert to a normal slide for an end, it was decided he needed to be substituted off, meaning some players ended up playing back-to-back matches unexpectedly.
In the first set of matches, against England, Andrew Tanner’s team (originally due to be skipped by Adrian) started well by taking a score of 4 in the first end. Despite a few individual shots going awry, the match was then well-controlled by Wales, with the only significant end for England’s Andrew Woolston being a score of 3 in the fifth end. That control continued to leave a final score of 10-5 to Wales. Meanwhile, Chris Wells’ team had more of a struggle against Gordon Lyon, although but for a score of 4 in the seventh end it was a close game, which ended in an 8-6 victory for England. It means Wales have a 16-13 (3-shot) lead overall in the contest for the Kay Trophy.
In the second session, Ireland were the opposition for Wales and there was a contrast in how the teams fared. Adrian Meikle attempted to play in the match against David Whyte on Sheet D, but after struggling for a few ends was replaced by Andrew Tanner. Unfortunately, despite some good individual shots, the Irish had a 4-1 lead by the close of the fifth end. Wales then made a small comeback, and that game finished with a 7-4 scoreline to Ireland. Unfortunately, this was eclipsed by the result on Sheet E, where Richard Pougher’s team really struggled against JohnJo Kenny. The Irish were always in control of this match, and the final score was 12-3 to Ireland, meaning Ireland lead Wales by 19-7 (12 shots) in the contest for the Meikle Trophy.
Wales have a significant lead over the hosts after their two mixed games. Chris Wells’ team started well by taking back-to-back scores of two, while Andrew Tanner – stepping in for the injured Adrian Meikle – was 3-1 up after two ends. Chris Wells’ match continued to be well-controlled, and taking a score of four in the fourth end put that match beyond doubt and they went on to win 11-2. Andrew Tanner’s team had to work hard for it, but they also ended up with victory (7-4) giving Wales an overnight lead of 18-6 (12 shots) in the challenge for the Big Bertha Welsh Stone.
Trophies involving Wales
Wales 16-13 England (Kay Trophy)
Wales 7-19 Ireland (Meikle Trophy)
Wales 18-6 Scotland (Welsh Stone)
England 8-7 Scotland (ladies – Connie Miller Tophy)
Scotland 39-18 Scotland (men – Tom Ballantyne Trophy)
Ireland 12-16 Scotland (Marshall Millennium Trophy)
England 18-11 Ireland (Turnbull Cup)