Phil Barton has curled since 1983 and has played at four World Senior Curling Championships for England, earning 19 caps since 2006. Not only has he represented the England at World Championship level, Phil also organises the Preston Curling Club and First English Province’s annual I’Anson competition in Stranraer which is always one of the top ECA competitions attracting top teams from the home nations.
Phil is a highly valued member of the English Curling Association and a credit to curling in England, so we asked to hear about his experiences curling and representing his nation.
Years curled: 22
How did you first get into curling?
I had stopped playing rugby as my main sport soon after moving to Scotland in 1983 as work and family took up most of my time. In the early 90s a good friend asked me to join a local club – Inverkeithing. From 1983 on, I became a very keen curler!
Preferred position in team.
In the club and local curling I prefer to be skip. In external events and ‘serious’ bonspiels and competitions I love the variation that comes from playing third.
Where do you now play most of your curling?
Preston curl at Lockerbie, however I curl mostly at Kinross. My club, Inverkeithing, also curl at Murrayfield, Perth, Stirling and Kirkcaldy,
What is your best curling memory?
I have many, but two stand out. Qualifying from Playdowns to represent England in the World Seniors in St Paul, USA and being part of the Royal Caledonian Curling Club Strathcona Cup tour to Canada in 2013 – one month of curling memories!
What has been your proudest moment whilst representing England?
Reaching the quarter finals in St. Paul and then missing the semis by one shot to Australia.
What is your funniest curling memory?
I enjoy being in the same rink as Tommy Campbell – he can be very amusing.
Who is your inspiration?
Outside curling – my family.
In curling – it is more about the thrill of meeting new people and then many becoming good friends. So my inspiration is the camaraderie of curling.
Who do you think the best curler in the world is?
I admire Eve Muirhead, but as we know one match can change things.
Describe your pre-match routine.
I like to have a few moments to myself. On the way to events if I am by myself I listen to my favourite music – one good one is a track called England by the National.
Have you ever had a curling related disaster?
I guess that does not mean the bad results! I do have dreams from time to time when I arrive without my kit .. So far that has not been a real experience.
Do you have any tips for juniors and less experienced curlers?
Consider the fact that curling is the best sport in the world and take every opportunity. You can learn more about the sport in every match.
What do you do when you aren’t curling?
I guess that might be a different answer if you speak to my wife Judith. Apart from work she often thinks the only thing I do is related to curling. I now play golf occasionally and have given up my allotment. Family are important – but most time is taken up with curling related things!
What would your three main rules be if you ruled the world?
This is a tough one … it would never happen, and certainly not be a post I would like. Three things that spring to mind are:
- There would be a plan to share the world’s wealth around more
- Make sure everyone had a reliable water supply
- We would emphasise the joy of sport and music and aim to ensure everyone had more time to relax.