World Junior B Curling Championships

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.

Gals

Kitty, Sarah, Niamh, Lucy and Becca

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.

Gals4

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English Juniors Train at Summer Curling Camp

A junior men’s team from Fenton’s rink, Olly Kendall, Jake Barker, Joe Sugden and Ben Holley, attended the 2015 Sweetlake Junior Curling Camp in Zoetermeer, Netherlands. Their coach, Jonathan Havercroft, accompanied them on the trip.

The camp was a week long and consisted of on-ice training sessions, off-ice classroom sessions, as well as several fun non-curling activities, including a trip to the beach! The Sweetlake Curling Camp is organized by the Dutch national team coach, Shari Leibrandt-Demmon and had top international coaches from Romania, the Czech Republic, Canada, and the Netherlands. Teams from Latvia, Spain, Romania, Slovenia, Hungary, Denmark, and the Netherlands also participated in the camp.

The boys won the sand castle building competition with a creative design featuring Jake Barker as a mermaid! They also received new carbon fiber curling brooms courtesy of a WCF program sponsored by BalancePlus and Goldline Curling Supplies.

The boys have entered the Junior Men’s Playdowns in October and will also be playing in league matches at Fenton’s rink and in a competition in Scotland. They look forward to putting their new skills learnt at Sweetlake to the test this season.

The team would like to thank the ECA for its generous support in helping to fund the trip and to Tracey Brown for all the work she put into organizing it.

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World Mixed Curling Championship 2015 – Schedule Announced

The World Mixed Curling Championship 2015 schedule has been announced.

The competition will take place 12-19 September 2015 in Berne Switzerland and Team England (Arthur Bates, Lana Watson, Harry Mallows and Sara Jahadova) are getting prepared! The team will play in the first ever World Mixed Curling Championships against teams including China, New Zealand and Kazakhstan.

Groups

Group-A Group-B Group-C Group-D
BEL – Belgium AUS – Australia CHN – China AUT – Austria
DEN – Denmark CAN – Canada CZE – Czech Republic BLR – Belarus
FRA – France ESP – Spain ENG – England BRA – Brazil
IRL – Ireland FIN – Finland KAZ – Kazakhstan EST – Estonia
ITA – Italy GER – Germany NZL – New Zealand HUN – Hungary
LTU – Lithuania ISR – Israel POL – Poland JPN – Japan
ROU – Romania LAT – Latvia RUS – Russia SCO – Scotland
SVK – Slovakia NOR – Norway SLO – Slovenia TUR – Turkey
SWE – Sweden WAL – Wales SUI – Switzerland USA – United States

Playing Schedule

Day D M Draw Time Sheet A Sheet B Sheet C Sheet D Sheet E Sheet F
Sat 12 Sept 1 0800 KAZ v POL FRA v ROU SVK v BEL ITA v SWE SUI v CHN IRL v DEN
2 1200 EST v JPN ESP v LAT NOR v AUS GER v WAL USA v AUT FIN v CAN
3 1600 IRL v LTU ENG v RUS SLO v CHN NZL v SUI SWE v BEL KAZ v CZE
4 2030 FIN v ISR BRA v SCO TUR v AUT HUN v USA WAL v AUS EST v BLR
Sun 13 Sept 5 0800 BEL v ITA POL v CZE LTU v ROU RUS v KAZ ENG v NZL SWE v SVK
6 1200 AUS v GER JPN v BLR ISR v LAT SCO v EST BRA v HUN USA v TUR
7 1600 CHN v NZL LTU v DEN POL v RUS ROU v IRL FRA v ITA SUI v SLO
8 2000 AUT v HUN ISR v CAN JPN v SCO LAT v FIN ESP v GER WAL v NOR
Mon 14 Sept 9 0800 LTU v SWE IRL v SVK CAN v ESP FRA v BEL ROU v DEN NOR v GER
10 1200 JPN v USA EST v TUR CZE v ENG BRA v AUT SCO v BLR SLO v NZL
11 1600 ISR v WAL FIN v NOR DEN v FRA ESP v AUS LAT v CAN SVK v ITA
12 2000 POL v SUI KAZ v SLO BLR v BRA ENG v CHN RUS v CZE TUR v HUN
Tue 15 Sept 13 0800 ESP v FIN GER v ISR LAT v NOR TUR v BRA EST v USA CAN v AUS
14 1200 FRA v IRL ITA v LTU ROU v SVK SLO v ENG KAZ v SUI DEN v BEL
15 1600 BRA v EST HUN v JPN SCO v TUR NOR v ESP FIN v WAL BLR v AUT
16 2000 ENG v KAZ NZL v POL RUS v SLO SVK v FRA IRL v SWE CZE v CHN
Wed 16 Sept 17 0800 GER v LAT AUS v FIN WAL v CAN BLR v HUN TUR v JPN ISR v ESP
18 1200 NZL v RUS CHN v KAZ SUI v CZE DEN v ITA SVK v LTU POL v ENG
19 1600 HUN v SCO AUT v EST USA v BLR CAN v GER NOR v ISR JPN v BRA
20 2000 ITA v ROU BEL v IRL SWE v DEN CZE v NZL SLO v POL LTU v FRA
Thu 17 Sept 21 0800 BLR v TUR WAL v ESP HUN v EST AUT v JPN AUS v LAT SCO v USA
22 1200 CZE v SLO SWE v FRA NZL v KAZ CHN v POL BEL v ROU RUS v SUI
23 1600 CAN v NOR USA v BRA GER v FIN AUS v ISR AUT v SCO LAT v WAL
24 2000 DEN v SVK SUI v ENG ITA v IRL BEL v LTU CHN v RUS ROU v SWE
Fri 18 Sept TB 0900 If required
Qual 1400 (A2 v B3) + (A3 v B2) + (C2 v D3) + (C3 v D2) – winners qualify for 1/4 Finals
1/4 2000 1/4 Finals (draw from a hat – teams from the same group will not play against each other)
Sat 19 Sept SF 1000 Semi-finals (draw from a hat – if possible, teams from the same group will not play against each other)
Finals 1500 Gold and Bronze Medal games

Planning for new curling facility in north of England approved!

On 16th June, Wyre Borough Council approved plans for a Mixed use development comprising retail (A1), cafe/restaurants (A3) and leisure development (D2) with associated parking, servicing, access and landscaping at Barton Grange, North of Preston. The development includes a 4 lane dedicated curling rink. Full details of all the development can be found here: www.wyre.gov.uk/planningApplication/42088

Barton Grange is run by the Topping family and Guy Topping has become a curler and plays with Preston CC. They also run a hotel just South of the proposed site which is attached to an existing garden centre.

THE ECA AGM IS BEING HELD AT THE BARTON GRANGE HOTEL ON SUNDAY 28th JUNE AND THERE WILL BE A VISIT TO THE SITE OF THE NEW DEVELOPMENT.

This is tremendous news for curling in the North of England.

World University Games 2015 – Granada, Spain

World University Games 2015 – Granada, Spain

 By Angharad Ward

Angharad was alternate in the Great Britain team at the World University Games

Angharad was alternate in the Great Britain team at the World University Games

I recently partook in the World University Games as part of the GB curling team. Curling, is a widely Scotland dominated sport in the UK and so I was honoured to be the only English member out of both the men and women’s teams. I joined the other four girls as their alternate. We received all our new GB stash, playing kit as well as matching everyday outfits, and then along with our two coaches and physiotherapist, we were ready for the Games!

 

The curling aspect of the Games (GB had representatives in other sports too such as snowboarding and figure skating, all of whom had their own competing schedule) started on February 3rd, with a team meeting involving all the other countries to have a briefing about the rules of competition and an opportunity for any questions to be answered.

 

Practice was held the next day as well as the official opening ceremony of the Games, and then we were into our first round robin game the next morning. We played 9 games over 6 days against Canada, Sweden, Switzerland, Japan, USA, Norway, Spain, Russia and Korea (I was subbed on to play these last two mentioned games). While not playing, I was on the bench with the coaches making notes on our next opponents, as well as preparing the all important half time snacks.

 

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The Great Britain ladies team

We got off to a bit of a slow start in the competition, narrowly losing to Norway, followed by defeats from USA and the competition favourites, Canada. Our first win was a satisfying 14-1 against Spain, the host nation, before losing to Russia (the same team that competed in the Winter Olympics). We clocked a second win against Korea, before very closely losing to Switzerland, 4-5. We finished the competition on a high, beating Sweden and Japan, and so ended 7th with our 4-5 record.

 

Overall, we were pleased with our performance, although had hoped for a few more wins on the table to make the top 4 and the playoffs. Our last few days were spent exploring Granada city as well as cheering and making up chants for our mens team who eventually went on to win bronze. We were joined by our many supporters; mainly our parents but we roped in some of the local school children who had come to watch as well.

 

We departed for home with heavy hearts on Valentines Day, sad to leave the great atmosphere and knowing that uni work awaited us upon arrival. However, the Games was such a great experience and I really enjoyed the event; being part of the BUCS team was a privilege and definitely a positive step in the direction of furthering my curling career.

In Profile – Hetty Garnier

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Hetty at the WJCC in Talinn, 2015

Hetty Garnier, aged just 19, has already racked up 71 caps and has played for England since the age of 13! Not only has she had an unbelievable run at juniors, skipping the girls to the Junior World Championships for the first time in English history earlier this month, but she also won a bronze medal in her first appearence at senior level in the European Curling Championships B Group in 2013.

 

We are so proud of Hetty’s achievements for English curling and of course everyone wants to know more about her many years of curling so far!

 

Position in team: Skip

 

Years Curled: 11

 

How did you first get into curling?

 

I first started curling when a friend invited me to the rink with her about 8 years ago.

 

Where do you now play most of your curling?

 

Fenton’s Rink is where I practice most often, unfortunately there are no rinks near Bristol.

 

What is your best curling memory?

 

One of my best curling memories is winning bronze in the 2013 Europeans Women’s B Group. We were a new team and it was my first experience of a senior tournament so we did really well to come away with a medal- my first ever European medal- so the whole week was great.

 

What has been your proudest moment whilst representing England?

Hatty skiped the England junior girls at the WJCC in Talinn, 2015

Hatty skiped the England junior girls at the WJCC in Talinn, 2015

 

My proudest moment was definitely winning the EJCC earlier this year, it was the first time an English Girls team had qualified for the World Championships, and it was incredible to feel like all our years of hard work had paid off.

 

Who is your inspiration?

 

I find the standard of Canadian curling very inspirational, especially teams like Jennifer Jones’ who has won Olympic gold and the Scotties in the last year.

 

Who do you think the best curler in the world is?

 

I think the best curler in the world right now is probably Brad Jacobs, he’s achieved so much in the last couple of years and can pull off any shot.

 

Describe your pre-match routine.

 

Before a game we try to get to the rink at least an hour early so we have time to get changed, find somewhere to warm up and put on some music to get up pumped up while we’re stretching. A couple of years ago we made up this dance thing where we kick our feet together which is really good for getting warmed up. After that we have a quick recap of our tactics and get into the game mentally before we head out onto the ice for pre-game practice.

 

Have you ever had a curling related disaster?

 

At the 2010 EJCC we didn’t win any games, which you might call a disaster!

 

Do you have any tips for juniors and less experienced curlers?

 

For any less experienced curlers, I would recommend playing as much as possible, especially in league games and tournaments to get tactical experience and to perfect your technique. It also helps to watch games on the world curling YouTube channel so you can see how the top teams in the world play and familiarise yourself with their strategies.

 

What do you do when you aren’t curling?

 

When I’m not curling I’ll be doing uni work, or keeping active playing tennis or hockey.

 

What do you love about your team?

 

I love the fact that because we’ve all been curling together since we were really young we have a really fun time when we go away for competitions, we always laugh non-stop.

 

What are your strengths and weaknesses on the ice?

 

My main strength is hitting which I have always preferred. My main weakness is now probably sweeping as I have been playing skip for the last couple of seasons so have managed to avoid doing it!

 

What do you love about curling?

 

I love the fact that curling is so social, you get to know everyone. Also it allows you to travel a lot with your team which is a lot of fun.

 

In Profile

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 FullSizeRenderannual 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. 

Position: Skip

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.