Scottish Junior Champions Ready to Take on the World
This season’s Scottish Junior Champions go into action at the VoIP Defender World Junior Curling Championships 2017 on Thursday 16th February, with Sophie Jackson from Dumfries and Cameron Bryce from the Borders leading their teams in the Gangneung Curling Centre in Gangneung, South Korea.
As well as being a World Championship event in its own right, this competition also acts as curling’s test event for the 2018 PyeonChang Olympic Winter Games, as the Gangneung Curling Centre is the Olympic and Paralympic venue next year.
Altogether ten women’s and ten men’s teams from thirteen different nations across the globe will be taking part. In each gender, six of these teams qualified through their performances in last year’s VoIP Defender World Junior Championships in Denmark, while, again in each gender, a further three teams gained qualification at the World Junior-B Championships, held in Oestersund, Sweden last month. These qualifiers included Sophie Jackson’s Scottish women, who won the women’s Junior-B event. As host nation, the two Korean teams join the others.
The ten women’s teams taking part are: defending champion nation Canada, Hungary, Japan, hosts Korea, Russia, Scotland, Switzerland, Sweden, Turkey, and the United States. Of these, Turkey and Japan qualified from the World Junior-B event, as well as the Scots.
The women – skip Sophie Jackson, third player Naomi Brown, second Mili Smith and lead Sophie Sinclair, supported by alternate Laura Barr and coach Cate Brewster – are the first of the Scots onto the ice on Thursday, taking on the hosts, who are the same team that took bronze last year, in the first of the competition’s 24 sessions of round robin play. The Scottish women then return to the ice on Thursday evening to face Hungary. Skip Jackson and third player Naomi Brown were together in last year’s team that finished ninth overall, and this year’s team will clearly be looking to improve on that.
The ten men’s teams competing are: Canada, China, Italy, hosts Korea, Norway, defending champion nation Scotland, Switzerland, Sweden, Turkey and the United States.
Bruce Moaut, who has since gone on to win at the recent Winter Universiade Games, led Scotland to gold last year, and this year’s team – skip Cameron Bryce, third Robin Brydone, second player Euan Kyle and lead Frazer Shaw, supported by alternate Ross Whyte and coached by Colin Morrison – will start the title defence against a new team from USA on Thursday afternoon. With only four sheets used in each draw (to replicate the Olympic set-up), the Scottish men then sit out the second men’s session before returning to play Norway in Friday evening’s third men’s round-robin session.
Round-robin play will conclude on Thursday 23rd February. Thereafter tie-breakers will be held, if needed, to establish the top four teams in each gender. After this, curling’s Page Play-off system will be used, in which the top two ranked teams face each other, with the winner of that game going direct to the gold medal final, and the loser being given a second chance by playing a semi-final against the winner of the Play-off between the teams ranked third and fourth. The winner of that sole semi-final goes on to the final to play for gold and silver, and the loser faces the Page 3/4 loser for bronze. The women’s medal games will take place on Saturday 25th February, while the men’s medal games will be staged on Sunday 26th February.
This website will feature reports and reaction after every game involving the Scottish teams.
Photos © 2017 Brian Battensby