Preview: 2015 Scottish Curling Championships, Perth
Scotland’s top curling teams including former Scottish, European and World Champions and Winter Olympic medallists will descend on Dewars Centre, Perth for the prestigious Scottish Curling Championships which gets underway on Sunday 15th February.
Ten men’s and six women’s teams will be competing for their respective national titles and the right to represent Scotland at the World Curling Championships later this year.
Play gets underway at 6pm on Sunday evening with Eve Muirhead’s (left) 2014 Winter Olympic and European bronze medallists taking on Hazel Smith’s team, who with the exception of their second, represented Great Britain at this month’s Winter Universiade in Granada. Team Muirhead return to the Scottish Championships after a successful campaign in 2013 which saw them crowned Scottish and World Curling Champions.
Current Scottish Champions Team Kerry Barr will not be defending their title this year after disbanding at the end of last season but last year’s finalist Hannah Fleming (right), who went on to play alternate for Barr when they represented Scotland at the World Championships in Canada in 2014, will return in her opening game against Lauren Gray. Gray has herself recently featured as alternate with some success most notably at the Sochi Winter Olympics for Muirhead’s GB team.
The final game of the first session sees the pairing of two of this season’s most prolific junior teams as 2015 Scottish Junior Women’s Champions Team Gina Aitken (left) take on 2014-15 Asham Under 21 Slam winners Team Katie Murray. The women’s event will be played out in a double round robin with the top three teams qualifying for a mini page play off (1v2, winner proceeds to final and loser plays 3 in semi-final).
The first session of play in the men’s championship begins at 12 noon on Monday 16th February with a fiercely competitive field. Reigning champions Team MacDonald (right) open against Ross McCleary, the 2014 Goldline Scottish Curling Tour Champions.
Tom Brewster won three consecutive Scottish Championship titles from 2011-13 and brings his new line up to this year’s event on good form, having won several Curling Champions Tour events this season. They will face 2015 Scottish Junior Men’s Champions Bruce Mouat in their first game.
Brewster’s former team mate and three time World Champion David Murdoch (left), skips his Sochi Winter Olympic silver medallists in their first game against David Mundell’s men who won all but one of their games in qualification.
Also in contention are Team David Edwards, who represented Scotland at the European Championships in November, and most recently secured the 2015 Goldline Scottish Curling Tour title at the Aberdeen City Open earlier this month. They take on Team Bryce in their opener, the only all junior rink in this year’s men’s event.
The final pairing of the opening session will see team mates from this year’s Winter Universiade face each other. Teams Taylor and Smith (right) both featured athletes in Great Britain’s men’s squad who took bronze medals against Sweden this week. The men’s event will be played out in a round robin format with the top four teams qualifying for the page play off (1v2, winner proceeds to final, loser plays winner of 3v4 in the semi-final).
Both finals will take place at Dewars Centre on Sunday 22nd February, the women’s final at 11am and the men’s final at 3pm.
The 2015 Scottish Men’s Champions will earn the right to represent Scotland at the World Men’s Curling Championship in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada from 28 Mar – 4 Apr and the Scottish Women’s Champions will represent Scotland at the World Women’s Curling Championship in Sapporo, Hokkaido, Japan from 14 – 22 March.
Paper, packaging and printing experts Tullis Russell are Scotland’s Official Team Sponsors for the 2015 World Men’s and Women’s Championships.
BBC Sport Scotland will be providing live online coverage of the Scottish Championships finals on its website on Sunday 22nd February with highlights on BBC 2 Scotland on Tuesday 24th and Wednesday 25th February.
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Official Accommodation Provider
2015 Scottish Curling Championships
Click on the image to the left to download the Official Event Programme
Photos: Richard Gray, WCF, BUCS Media.