By Lucy Sparks
This was the first year of the World Junior Curling Championships B Division and also the first year of our new team. The England girls team were represented by Lucy Sparks (skip), Sarah Decoine (vice), Kitty Conlin (second), Niamh Fenton (lead) and Becca Watts (alternate) and it was held in the Kisakallio Sports Institute in Lohja, Finland, where it was also held in 2012.
We had Lisa Farnell as our coach who was a really great help and we thoroughly enjoyed having her with us. We had such a great experience even though it got down to -27 degrees on some days, we had the opportunity to meet people from all over the world including teams from China, New Zealand etc which was all very exciting. Going into the competition we were positive but knew we had a tough draw so it wasn’t going to be easy, in the end we feel it could have gone a little better, we won 2 out of 6 games.
Our first game was against Hungary which we knew was going to be a tough one as they have managed to get up on to the podium consistently over the last few years. This one ended in a 12- 1 loss as they were able to get a couple of big ends towards the beginning which we are unable to pull back from.
The next game was against Czech Republic who also came down from the World’s last year and had obviously been putting in the practice as they were looking very solid, we managed to have some really good ends and a good game but it ended in a 7-2 loss. We were all feeling more confident after this game as we could see an improvement already.
The third game was against Slovenia, this was a very close game despite the end score being 9-4, it was 5-4 going into the 8th end, however the aggressive style in the last end didn’t quite go our way and we lost a 4.
We then had another good game against Denmark where everyone in the team was playing well and we managed to put them under a lot of pressure. Unfortunately the two big ends that Denmark got in the first half meant we were never quite able to bring it back but we had a lot of chances and could feel we were improving. This one was also a 9-4 loss.
Then came the last day where we played Italy and Austria and they were both wins which we were absolutely delighted with! First was Italy where we brought on Becca Watts as second and Kitty Conlin came off for a game. Everyone really managed to get the feel of it and we were able to capitalise on a lot of the chances we had and managed a win of 8-3 after 7 ends which we were very happy with. Then it was Austria which we kept Becca Watts on for and Niamh Fenton came off. This started off a bit iffy with us being 3-0 down but thanks to some big ends we ended up winning 10-5.
This left us 17th out of 21, however we managed to improve every game so hopefully with some hard work we can come back better next year.