Silver for Scottish Girls at World Junior Championships!
Team Scotland claimed Silver in the Women’s World Junior Curling Championships Final. This was Sophie Jackson’s second appearance at the Championships, however last year it didn’t quite go to plan, with Scotland being demoted to Division B. The girls turned it around this season, Sophie and her team of Naomi Brown, Mili Smith, Sophie Sinclair and alternate Laura Barr represented Scotland at the World Junior-B Curling Championships and came out on top – not only managing to re-qualify but topping the table with an undefeated record. Less than two weeks after their return to Scotland the team were competing in the Scottish Curling Junior Championships; they made it through with another undefeated record – setting them up as strong contenders at this year’s World Junior Curling Championships.
Team Scotland made it through the round robin on seven wins and two losses – qualifying joint top with Sweden. In the play-offs Scotland lost to Sweden 9-6, however an impressively dominant semi-final against Canada resulted in a 13-2 victory and secured them a spot in the Gold medal game final, guaranteeing them a medal.
Sweden opened the game with last stone advantage and the teams swapped singles for the first two ends. In the third Jackson’s last attempted take-out wrecked, leaving Sweden’s Isabella Wranaa with a straightforward hit-and-stay for two and a 3-1 lead. In the fourth end, Sweden’s Wranaa faced three Scottish stones when she came to play her last and her take-out could only remove one stone, leaving Jackson with a hit and stay for three and a 4-3 lead. This was the only time the Scots led in the game, and, in the fifth end, the roles were reversed. Jackson’s last stone seemed to pick up and slewed to a halt well short of the hogline, and then a hit-and-stay round guards by Wranaa gave Sweden three shots and a 6-4 half-time lead.
In the sixth end, Jackson was very short with her final draw and gave up a steal of two, extending Sweden’s lead to 8-4. However, Jackson made no mistake with her final draw for two shots in the seventh end after a clearance attempt by Wranaa had failed to remove one Scottish stone from the house. After long consideration, Wranaa elected to attempt a take-out with her last stone of the eighth end and managed to come through a narrow port in front of the house to hit and lie for two shots and a 10-6 lead.
In the ninth, the Scots could not get anything going, leaving Jackson with just a draw for one shot, to reduce Sweden’s lead to 10-7. Scotland ran out of stones in the tenth, making Sweden World Champions and forcing the Scots to settle for silver. After the final, Scotland skip Sophie Jackson said: “I’m a bit gutted, but we’ve had a really good week. I’m speechless really, we’ve done way better than we expected, so we’re still happy. I’m so proud of my team, we’ve done so much this season, it’s been a really long season.”
Meanwhile the men missed out on a bronze medal after a loss to Norway. The team of Cameron Bryce (skip), Robin Brydone, Euan Kyle, Frazer Shaw and alternate Ross Whyte fought hard through the week; by the end of the round robin they were one of four teams tied in second place on six wins and three losses. The bottom two of those four teams – Norway and Canada – played a tie-breaker to determine the top four, with Norway scraping through 8-7.
It took all the way to an extra end, but Scotland emerged victorious from their Page 3-4 Play-off game, beating Norway by 8-7 to move onto the sole semi-final. Against a strong Korean side, Scotland went down 11-4 in the semi-final, leaving them out of contention for Gold but still with a chance of medalling.
The Scottish men gave themselves a mountain to climb in the bronze medal game against Norway. They gave up a steal of two shots in the opening end and then, when skip Cameron Bryce wrecked on a front guard in the second, they handed another two-shot steal to Norway. When Bryce came to play his final stone in the third, he faced a lot of Norwegian yellow in the house, and although he managed to take some stones out, he still left three Norwegian counters for a further steal of three, giving Norway an unanswered 7-0 lead.
Despite having beaten Norway just two days before, the boys weren’t able to come back from this early seven-point lead for Norway, and although they were able to get on the board in the fourth handshakes were offered after the eighth end, final score 10-3.
Full results from the Championships can be found on the World Curling Federation website
News from each Scottish game was reported live on the RCCC website; to look back at the sessions click World Junior Championships: Team Scotland Latest
Photos: © WCF / Tom Rowland