THE inaugural Pain Matters Welsh National Curling Championships are nearly here, and for the first time you could see the players aiming for the title of Welsh Champions without leaving home. Dumfries Ice Bowl, where the teams will be competing this weekend (Sat 2nd March), are expecting to stream live video of some of the action.
As well as the Welsh Championships, between curlers who mainly play Monday club games at Deeside Ice Rink, viewers may also be treated to coverage of the Dumfries curlers attempting to regain the World Record for the longest curling match in history. Dumfries first broke the record 12 months ago by playing continuously for 2 ½ days, but shortly afterwards a club in Canada bettered that, adding an extra half hour.
It is the first time there has been a formal Welsh Championships. The competition was arranged to try and encourage more players and teams to take part in a premier event on dedicated curling ice. In prior years, this weekend would have been taken up by Playdowns, to decide who would represent Wales at international level – but to encourage more teams to take part, the expectation that the winners would play for Wales has been removed. The cost of taking part has been further reduced by the ice fees being sponsored by Pain Matters. International teams are now chosen by a selection policy, to ensure that the best teams possible represent Wales.
By next Monday, curling should have two new champions – the squad from Dumfries who are aiming to regain the World Record, and a team of four players normally curling at Deeside who will hold the title of Welsh Champions.
The basic idea of curling is to get at least one of your team's “stones” - heavy discs of granite – closer to a target marked on the ice rink than any of your opponents' stones. Each team has the chance to knock other stones out of the way or just aim for the target (known as the “house”).
Notes to Editors
The First Province of Wales Curling Club run matches, training and taster sessions for children and adults at Deeside Ice Rink most Mondays between September and April.
Curling started in Wales when the Deeside Leisure Centre and Ice Rink opened in 1973. Since then, Deeside players have competed for Wales at European and World level. The best performance of any Wales team was the team skipped by Adrian Meikle winning the European Mixed title in Madrid, 2007.
While physical fitness is important to play major competitions, players of differing age, ability and physical state all play league and cup matches at Deeside. Wheelchair Curling makes a few minor adaptations but scoring is exactly the same.
TryCurling sessions – a basic taster introduction to the sport – cost £5 per adult, or £3 for Juniors (under-21), and are held at the start of the season. Further sessions may be arranged on request, with corporate experience sessions also available.